THE idea of reopening Mauchline’s railway station would be a huge benefit to the area, according to one man who remembers the days when the town’s station was in full flow.

A petition has been launched to gain support in reopening Cumnock and Mauchline railway stations.

Both stations were closed in 1965, after opening in the 1800s.

Both stations were included on a list of 51 potential stations in Scotland for reopening. Cumnock and Mauchline stations previously served the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr railway line.

READ MORE: Proposals to reopen two former East Ayrshire railway lines

Mauchline resident Andy Barnes was only a kid when the station originally closed, but he worked on the signals at Mauchline for years afterward - and told the Chronicle he believes that building a new station on the site is exactly what the area needs.

“I was only about 10 or 11 when the station closed originally, but I remember it being used a lot,” he said.

“Even when it closed there was talk of it being reopened fairly quickly. But a derailment on the line in the early 70s that set it back a bit.

“I remember when they took away the platform and got rid of it completely, but the idea of reopening it never seemed to go away.

“One of my uncles was the last postman to put mail on the train before it shut. Obviously he’s sadly no longer with us, but it shows there are different wee bits of history that go along with it.

“I can’t say for certain what it’s like now, but it seemed to be an even busier line in the last 10 years that I worked there than what it was before.

“There’s new houses popping up everywhere in Mauchline, so as long as it gets the proper scheduling and there are plenty of trains, then I think it can only be a good thing.”

READ MORE: Tories back idea of new rail stations for Cumnock and Mauchline

The latest ‘Back on Track’ petition also calls on ScotRail to provide more train services on the key commuter route south of Kilmarnock.

The petition was jointly launched by local Conservative councillors Neill Watts (Cumnock and New Cumnock) and Alyson Simmons (Ballochmyle) - and is also being backed by the party’s South Scotland regional MSPs Sharon Dowey and Brian Whittle.

A similar move has also been supported by the Scottish Greens in the past, calling for better connections between the Central Belt and the south of Scotland.

The new petition reads: “We, the undersigned, request that the Scottish Government and Scotrail re-open the stations in Cumnock and Mauchline in East Ayrshire.

“We also request that ScotRail timetable extra trains on the line to help properly serve commuters from Cumnock and Mauchline to Kilmarnock and Glasgow Central.”

Councillor Watts, who has been pushing for this move, said it could be an important factor in improving safety on the road.

He said: “I think this move would improve the safety for drivers driving along the A76. “You hear about a lot of serious incidents along that road, so obviously having less cars on the road would hopefully reduce this.

“You’ve got growing towns like Cumnock and Mauchline, and they both need to travel to Auchinleck or New Cumnock for a train”.

Bute House care home currently stands in the area that the former Cumnock railway station was located.

Mr Watts admitted this could make the reopening of the Cumnock station slightly trickier, but feel that it’s important for him to show that he’s trying his best to get the station reopened.

He added: “I think there might be more chance of getting Mauchline reopened than Cumnock, but that’s not to say it’s impossible.

“I said when I was campaigning [ahead of the May local elections] that this would be one of the topics that I would focus on.

“It’s important to build on these issue while the iron is still hot, because people do care a lot about this.”

The petition currently has more than 700 signatures, and will stay open for a few months.

At that point, the councillors plan to take the petitions directly to the First Minister.

You can add your signature online at mauchlinestationpetition