A LARGS student has launched a petition calling for the town's train service to be doubled in frequency.

Michael McKinlay, 24, believes the Largs area is missing out while other communities in Ayrshire and Inverclyde have seen an improvement to their services.

Mr McKinlay's petition comes after Largs Community Council invited ScotRail to a public meeting to discuss ongoing concerns at the standard of the town's train service.

Mr McKinlay, who is studying for a PhD in electronics and electric engineering in Glasgow University. said; "I, like many others in Largs, often find myself waiting an hour for a train.

"This extends people's commute by many hours - a significant portion of people's day that could be spent more productively.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

"Increasing the frequency of trains to Largs from once an hour to twice an hour would not only ease our daily commutes but also stimulate economic growth in our town.

"Largs is home to over 11,000 residents and serves as a vibrant hub for tourists visiting the West Coast of Scotland.

"Despite this, our public transport services are inadequate for both residents and visitors alike.

"With only one train per hour serving the town, it's clear that we are underserved compared with other towns of similar size across the UK.

"Increasing the frequency of trains would not only benefit commuters but also boost local businesses by making it easier for tourists and locals alike to visit our beautiful seaside town.

"Furthermore, improved public transport links can help reduce car usage and contribute towards environmental sustainability goals.

"We urge ScotRail and Transport Scotland to consider this proposal seriously – improving train services will significantly enhance quality of life in Largs while supporting local economic development and environmental sustainability efforts.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

"Wemyss Bay is getting a doubling to their services, while Largs is getting the opposite, and lost services.

"All the big towns around Largs seem to be getting an increase to their services, and by proxy Fairlie and West Kilbride, have been getting a cut to it.

"Especially with ScotRail under public ownership, there should be more focus on what can help local communities, and the public."

The petition was started on January 8, and has already attracted 50 signatures; you can view and sign the petition by clicking here.

ScotRail's commercial director Scott Prentice has accepted an invitation to attend Largs Community Council's February meeting to discuss the community's concerns.

That meeting will be held on February 15.

Changes to ScotRail's timetable, introduced last year, removed an extra service from Largs to Glasgow in the morning peak and extended the journey time to and from Glasgow.

All trains on the Largs route now stop at every station between Largs and Paisley after ScotRail opted to run faster trains between Glasgow and Ayr instead.

We reported last summer that ScotRail was planning to examine the feasibility of a half-hourly service on the Largs route for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Largs, Fairlie and West Kilbride have all had to make do with an hourly service since 1987, when the line north of Ardrossan was reduced from two tracks to one at the same time as electric trains were introduced for the first time.

The current single track, and the length of the journey between Largs and Ardrossan South Beach, means there is not enough time to provide a half-hourly service between Largs and Glasgow.

But ScotRail says it wants to explore "how a credible investment case can be made to upgrade the track and signalling north of Ardrossan so that West Kilbride, Fairlie and Largs could benefit from a half-hourly rail service".

The rail operator announced proposals in October to introduce a half-hourly service on the Wemyss Bay line from June of this year.

More trains to and from Largs are essential and I’m delighted that ScotRail will speak to Largs Community Council directly next month.

Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson said: “If we are to attract more passengers onto our railways, service frequency must improve.

“Frustratingly, it’s somewhat ‘chicken and egg.’ If passenger numbers increase, so does the incentive to improve the service. The better the service, the greater confidence people will have and the more passengers it will attract.

“It’s tricky of course, given the line’s capacity issues but ScotRail is looking at that and the petition will focus minds.

“Not only commuters would benefit from more frequent services of course. A larger number of visitors travelling by train would reduce congestion on roads in and around Largs, reduce pressure on parking and hopefully grow overall visitor numbers, boosting the local economy.”

ScotRail have been contacted for comment.