MAJOR changes are on the way to train timetables across Ayrshire – and the news is very much a mixed bag for local travellers.

ScotRail is making significant changes to services on the lines linking Ayr, Ardrossan and Largs with Glasgow.

And there are also changes to the timetable between Ayr and Kilmarnock.

The changes will take effect on Sunday, May 21.

Among the winners are passengers on the line between Ayr and Glasgow Central via Troon and Irvine, where journey times will be speeded up with fewer station stops.

However, those improvements will be at the expense of people living in Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston and those who use the branch line serving West Kilbride, Fairlie and Largs – where trains will stop at all stations in the Garnock Valley.

That will result in slower journey times – though ScotRail says the move is part of an effort “to improve connectivity”.

There is also anger in Largs at one particular change to the timetable – the removal of the busy 7.42am service from Largs to Glasgow Central.

ScotRail says it is planning to operate more daytime and evening services in Ayrshire next year, “to cater for leisure trips to the seaside and Glasgow’s hospitality sector”.

However, that improvement in services won’t be seen in the next timetable, which will be in effect until December.

Additional trains will operate between Ayr and Kilmarnock under this month’s changes, with services are retimed to provide better connections at Kilmarnock on trains to and from Dumfries and Carlisle.  

David Simpson, ScotRail's service delivery director, said:  “This is another step forward for Scotland’s Railway, as we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic.  

“The way people travel has dramatically changed in the past two years, and we are doing everything we can to provide the best possible service. 

“The increased frequency between Edinburgh and Glasgow is a major milestone on the road to recovery, and we have essentially introduced entirely new timetables between Ayrshire and Glasgow, and Inverclyde and Glasgow.  

“There is a lot of investment in Scotland’s Railway, with decarbonisation continuing and improvements across the network, and this new timetable is an important part of that.”  

The rail operator says the speeding up of services between Ayr and Glasgow is aimed at freeing up space for the extra passengers who are expected to travel to and from Troon while Arran’s ferry service is temporarily diverted there.

However, no date has been announced for when the diversion of the CalMac Arran ferry will take effect.

The ferry’s usual mainland port, Ardrossan, is to be closed for upgrade work to accommodate CalMac’s new ferry, MV Glen Sannox – still being completed at the Ferguson Marine yard in Port Glasgow, five and a half years after it was launched.

The new ship is currently not expected to be delivered until this autumn – but even if that timescale is met, it won’t be in service until next summer.

Customers can check train times at and on the ScotRail app. Timetables can also be downloaded from the ScotRail website.