Stranraer: The 12.53hrs arrival at Stranraer Harbour on 26th October 2017. The signal box is switched out and all track, except to Platform 1, is very rusty indeed.

Colin Miller 26/10/2017


Location type


Names and dates

Stranraer Harbour (1862-1993)
Stranraer (1993-)

Station code: STR National Rail ScotRail
Where: Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Opened on the Portpatrick Railway.
Open on the Glasgow to Ayr and Stranraer.


This station is located on the former ferry pier in Stranraer. It is a little remote from the town, being separated from it by the former car parks associated with the ferries to Ireland.

A bus service connects the terminus to the new ferry terminals at Cairnryan.

Generally the west side platform is used and the signal box is switched out.

Original terminus and pier

The original station on the pier was minimal; two tracks were laid on the pier - with a very short platform on west side at end of tideline, the line continued down the pier with a steamer office, goods shed near end of pier. There were cattle docks at base of pier. The pier had a slip at its end.

The pier is sometimes referred to as the east pier.

By 1895 there were further cattle docks at the base of the pier, two tracks up pier with little accommodation. The station building was where goods shed was, close to end of pier.


In 1897 the current station was built, in its original form. The station has two platforms, separated by four tracks - the two centre roads being loco release lines. There was, formerly, a bay platform on the west side.

The station was rebuilt in the late 1970s/early 1980s with a not entirely attractive new trainshed. Within this can be found the woodwork frontage of the older internal platform buildings. The station has since seen further alterations to the trainshed cladding. In recent years the footbridge connecting the platforms has been removed.

The signal box (1897) still stands and is now clad in a similar style to the trainshed, covering the 1980s brick.

Stena Line' service to Belfast transferred to Old House Point, Cairnryan, in 2011.

P&O operate to Larne Harbour from Cairnryan, just to the south.

Although traffic declined after re-routing of the ferry services it had recovered by 2016, traffic climbing every year since 2014.


With the loss of the ferry routes, discussion continues on whether the station will be closed and be replaced by a newer one closer to the town, perhaps at the former Stranraer Town.


Ferries operate from Cairnryan to Ireland.

Stena Line - Cairnryan-Belfast

P&O Ferries - Cairnryan-Larne


Station Stockton Haulage goods Shed MPD

External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Chronology Dates

17/08/1857Portpatrick Railway
Act receives Royal assent for line from Castle Douglas to Stranraer Town with branches to Stranraer Harbour and Portpatrick.
11/03/1861Portpatrick Railway
Stranraer to Castle Douglas (on the Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway) formally opened. (Alternative date 12/02/1861.)
12/03/1861Portpatrick Railway
Stranraer to Castle Douglas opened to the public. Most of the line was single track. Stations at; Stranraer, Glenluce, Kirkcowan, Newton Stewart, Creetown, New Galloway, Parton and Crossmichael.
28/08/1862Portpatrick Railway
Portpatrick to Stranraer opened. New stations at; Colfin and Portpatrick.
01/10/1862Portpatrick Railway
Stranraer Harbour opened. The Stranraer and Larne Steamboat Company starts a service between the ports in its title.
01/10/1862Carrickfergus and Larne Railway
Opened through a new Carrickfergus to Larne Harbour [1st]. Carrickfergus [1st] was closed (its site was later on the Carrickfergus Harbour Junction Railway). A company owned connecting steamer operated to Stranraer Harbour.
  /  /1864Portpatrick Railway
Deviation to Stranraer Harbour branch authorised. Original route partly abandoned.
01/01/1864Carrickfergus and Larne Railway
Larne Harbour [1st] to Stranraer Harbour steamer withdrawn. Last portion of the Larne Harbour line falls out of use except for coal traffic and remains maintained.
  /  /1865Portpatrick Railway
Caledonian Railway experiments with a Stranraer Harbour to Belfast service.
  /  /1872Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway Portpatrick Railway
The Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway is authorised to use the Portpatrick Railway from Challoch Junction to Stranraer Harbour and Portpatrick.
01/07/1872Carrickfergus and Larne Railway
Steamer service from Larne Harbour [1st] to Stranraer restarts. Line fully re-opened.
  /  /1874Portpatrick Railway
Portpatrick to Donaghadee boat stops running. This is in part due to the unsuitability of Portpatrick Harbour. The Stranraer Harbour to Larne Harbour [1st] service replaces the abandoned service. Portpatrick to Stranraer remains open.
  /  /1877Portpatrick Railway
Purchases the Stranraer Harbour Pier (the East Pier).
  /  /1877Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway
Authorised to use Stranraer Harbour Pier and Challoch Junction to Stranraer and Portpatrick
07/02/1882Girvan and Portpatrick Junction RailwayPortpatrick Railway
Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway trains banned from Stranraer and Portpatrick by the Portpatrick Railway. Line closed temporarily from Girvan to Challoch Junction.
  /  /1893Portpatrick Railway
Authorisation to enlarge Stranraer Harbour Pier (the East Pier).
  /  /1902Portpatrick Railway
Stranraer Harbour east pier widening and extension authorised. Powers to dredge for the pier granted.
  /  /1935Portpatrick Railway
Stranraer to Portpatrick starts to be operated as one engine in steam. Portpatrick signal box is moved to Barrhill on the former Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway.
06/02/1950Portpatrick Railway
Portpatrick to Stranraer closed to passengers. Portpatrick and Colfin stations closed. Portpatrick to Colfin (excluded) closed to all traffic.
02/03/1953Portpatrick Railway
Stranraer re-named Stranraer Town.
  /  /1959Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway
DMUs introduced on Glasgow to Stranraer workings.
  /  /1959Maybole and Girvan Railway
DMUs introduced on Glasgow to Stranraer workings.
  /  /1959Portpatrick Railway
DMUs introduced on Stranraer to Glasgow workings.
  /  /1961Caledonian Steam Packet Company (Irish Services) Ltd
Formed to manage ships on the Stranraer - Larne service owned by the British Railway Board.
23/06/1962RCTS Railtour
Excursion train hauled by Caledonian Railway 123 and Great North of Scotland Railway 49 from Ayr to Stranraer.
  /  /1965Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway
Troop trains for Northern Ireland make use of the line. These ran from Woodburn to Stranraer Harbour.
  /  /1965Portpatrick Railway
Troop trains run over line (Stranraer Harbour - Woodburn (Wansbeck Railway)) for Northern Ireland.
31/12/1969Caledonian Steam Packet Company (Irish Services) Ltd
Ceases managing ships on the Stranraer - Larne service owned by the British Railway Board.
01/01/1970British Transport Ship Management (Scotland) Ltd
Formed to manage ships on the Stranraer - Larne service owned by the British Railway Board.
  /03/1980SEALINK (Scotland) Ltd
Formed from British Transport Ship Management (Scotland) Ltd to manage ships on the Stranraer - Larne service owned by the British Railway Board.
  /  /1984Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway
Glasgow Central to Stranraer DMUs withdrawn and replaced with locomotive hauled SEALINK liveried slam-door stock.
  /  /1990Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway Portpatrick Railway Maybole and Girvan Railway
Stranraer to Euston sleeper withdrawn.
  /  /2003Stena Line
Announces closure of the Stranraer ferry terminal with relocation to Cairnryan. An upgrade of the A77 is announced by the Scottish Executive.

News items

05/10/2023Ayrshire: Improvements for A75 between Gretna, Stranraer [Ayr Advertiser]
23/05/2023South Scotland MSP repeats calls for rail electrification [Ayr Advertiser]
03/05/2023The projects aiming to revive the former ferry town of Stranraer [BBC News]
07/04/2023Campaign to reinstate Dumfries to Stranraer railway line relaunched for 60th anniversary of Beeching Report [Daily Record]
24/02/2023Dalbeattie charity fundraiser believes old Dumfries and Galloway railway line could become popular walking route [Daily Record]
31/01/2023MV Princess Victoria disaster's 70th anniversary marked [BBC News]
01/01/2023The defunct Edinburgh train that let holidaymakers travel with their car [edinburghlive]
10/12/2022Railway line disappointment [DNG Online Limited]
14/11/2022Case to upgrade major Dumfries and Galloway roads taken to Scottish Parliament [Daily Record]
26/02/2022Ayr Transport: ScotRail confirms Stranraer bus service [Ayr Advertiser]


Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Railways (Library of Railway History)
Rails to Portpatrick (Local History Series)
The Port Road: Dumfries to Stranraer, Portpatrick, Kirkcudbright and Whithorn