STAFF at East Ayrshire Carers’ Wee Train Cafe at New Cumnock Station have served more than 500 cups of tea and coffee since opening in May.

They are also earning a growing reputation for quality snacks such as traybakes, which are selling like hot cakes, and sandwiches.

An added bonus is that many of the products are from local suppliers such as Pathhead Bakery, a near neighbour of the cafe.

Most of the volunteers are between 16 and 25, whose experience at the cafe enables them to learn customer service, hospitality and business skills.

Although a relatively new operation in the area, it has become a popular meeting place for locals and train customers alike.

Opened in collaboration with ScotRail Alliance’s community programme, Wee Train was chosen as an apt name for the cafe.

As well as looking after their customers, the volunteers also look after the flowers on the station platform.

New Cumnock Station has been adopted by East Ayrshire Carers Group, whose chief executive Fiona Pirrie reflected on a busy three months.

She said: “We support our young carers in many ways and it’s important for them to have some time away from their caring duties meeting other people and learning new skills.

“And, of course, everyone likes a cuppa and some home baking. Whether you’re waiting for a train or you’re local and fancy meeting some friends for coffee, this is now a popular venue on the doorstep for locals.”

One New Cumnock resident is also pleased to put the village on the map, having volunteered in the Wee Train Café since it opened.

Dale McTaggart, 19, enjoys integrating with customers and said: “I’m proud to see the village doing so well and along the way I’m gaining food handling skills and meeting new people.”

The ScotRail Alliance community programme includes community rail partnership activities and station adoption schemes such as New Cumnock.

James Ledgerwood, head of economic development at the alliance, said: “Making our stations community hubs rather than just somewhere to board a train is an important part of our work.

“As well as providing opportunities to learn workplace skills for the young volunteers, the Wee Train Café is also a source of great locally-produced refreshments. What could be better than that?”