CalMac publishes Q&A on Wemyss Bay closure

The decaying fendering at Wemyss Bay pier - just part of the reason the terminal will be closed for 16 weeks from March 2 for major repairs. (Pic courtesy of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd)
The decaying fendering at Wemyss Bay pier - just part of the reason the terminal will be closed for 16 weeks from March 2 for major repairs. (Pic courtesy of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd)

Caledonian MacBrayne has published a list of the most significant questions and answers for Bute’s ferry users ahead of the 16-week closure of Wemyss Bay pier from the beginning of March.

Rothesay’s ferries will be diverted to and from Gourock from Monday, March 2 until the end of June, while major repairs are carried out to the roundhead, fendering and linkspan at Wemyss Bay.

Dredging work will also be carried out near the pier, while work has already begun on refurbishing the historic covered walkway between the pier and the railway station - itself also undergoing significant renovation.

The Q&A - which is also available on CalMac’s website - reads as follows.

*******************************

Details on what is being done at Wemyss Bay

Improvement works to Wemyss Bay harbour will significantly improve the reliability and resilience of the harbour.

Currently the harbour consists of 19th century grade A listed walkway, 1970s concrete pier end, 1980s timber fendering and 1970s designed vehicle linkspan structure.

All have now reached the stage where major refurbishment works are required to secure the long term future of the port.

What is being done?

Walkway

Steelwork to be cleaned down, treated and redecorated;

All damaged/rotten timber cladding to be removed and replaced, like for like;

Localised repairs to timber sleepers that form part of the pier walkway;

Repair/replacement of windows and doors.

Fendering

Timber fenders designed for 1980s vessels - half the size of MV Argyle and Bute - to be replaced with modern fenders.

Linkspan

Linkspan first installed in 1977 will be lifted out and taken off site for refurbishment;

New ropes and cylinders and controls fitted.

Dredging

Plans to dredge an average of 1m giving vessels greater flexibility in adverse weather.

When is it happening?

Initial planning and pre preparation work to commence January 2015 - work in stages to minimise disruption.

Contract start date March 2015: Work off site (Port Glasgow) to assemble.

Closure of terminal from March 2, 2015 for 16 weeks to late June 2015
– Some non-disruptive works may extend to late July 2015.

Normal working hours likely to be 0700 to 1900 hours Monday to Saturday. Work outwith these times will need to be agreed with local authorities and notice given.

Why does the port have to close?

All options were looked at including short term closures and night working. An extended closure was seen to be the best option for minimising disruption.

Main impact on service

Rothesay service will operate to/from Gourock.

10 weekday services daily (11 on Fridays) and 9 services Saturday/Sunday - longer sailing time from Gourock (60 mins v 35 min from Wemyss Bay).

15% discount on fares during closure period.

Rothesay-Gourock diversion Q&A

We have created the following Q&A to help inform our customers of the forthcoming temporary closure of Wemyss Bay Port due to commence in March 2015.

Q. Will the ticket prices be the same?

A. There will be a 15% discount on all tickets on the route during the period of disruption. A table showing the new ticket prices will be published shortly.

Q. When will the reduced ticket prices commence?

A. When the diversion commences.

Q. What tickets will be subject to the discount?

A. All tickets (except Five Ferries).

Q. What guarantee is there for completion on time?

A. Work will be completed to the contractors’ set schedule dependent on factors such as bad weather.

Q. Is there parking at Gourock for commuters?

A. There is limited parking available around the port at Gourock on a first-come, first-served basis.

Q. What are the connections for bus/rail passengers?

A. Good bus and rail connections exist at Gourock to all major destinations.

Q. Will there be a bus that goes to Inverclyde hospital?

A. There is a McGills service that serves Inverclyde Hospital from Gourock train station next to the port.

Q. Will there be an extra boat to cover holiday weekends i.e Jazz and Easter?

A. We have optimised the timetables for all circumstances and are confident we have enough capacity to cope with demand. We will however monitor and review the situation on an ongoing basis.

Q. Would there be any additional sailings in the event of the vessel reaching maximum capacity at busy periods, resulting in passengers/traffic being unable to sail?

A. We have optimised the timetables for all circumstances and are confident we have enough capacity to cope with demand. We will however monitor and review the situation on an ongoing basis.

Q. Would there be any more reduction/compensation if the work overruns?

A. The planned reduction will remain in place until the work is complete and normal service is resumed.

Q. What facilities are there at Gourock for passengers?

A. There is a waiting room with toilets and baby change facilities. Vending machines are also being put in place.

Q. How will we be ticketed at Gourock (car)?

A. There will be two ticket offices available for passengers to purchase tickets.

Q. Will I be able to use my ticket on Western Ferries if I choose?

A. We are currently talking with Western Ferries to explore the possibility of interchangeable tickets.

Q. Where else will I be able to view information about the disruption?

A. Publicity about the temporary diversion will be displayed in railway stations on the Glasgow-Gourock/Wemyss Bay line and in our ports.

Q. When will Bute be getting RET?

A. October 2015.

Q. How will CalMac re-route Bute foot passengers home from Hunters Quay in the event of bad weather cancellations during the Wemyss Bay pier work?

A. It is not a service currently provided from Wemyss Bay and there are no plans to introduce it from Gourock.



Q. What about drop off and pick up?

A. Passengers will continue to be able to drop off and pick up passengers as normal.

Q. Will it be a bookable service?

A. It will be a turn up and pay service as it is currently.

Q. What about catering?

A. The same vessels will operate the route so all on board facilities remain the same. Vending machines will be provided in Gourock waiting rooms.

Q. Will check in times be the same?

A. Check in times for the diverted service will be a minimum of 10 minutes before departure for foot passengers and 30 minutes. This will be clearly marked with new signage.

Q. Will there be a back up bus service?

A. We do not provide a back up bus service on this route and have no plans to introduce one

Q. Will there be a backup vessel?

A. As a matter of course we do not provide a backup vessel and do not have any plans to introduce one.

Q. Has there been any consideration given to providing later bus services from Gourock to Largs during the closure period?

A. This is something we are currently in discussion over with bus operators and will provide further details when they become available.

Q. Is there additional support to carry luggage and assist elderly/disabled passengers?

A. Passenger assistance will be available. Call 0800 066 5000 (option 4) or email assistanceteam@calmac.co.uk

Q.Where else will I be able to view information about the disruption?

A. Regular updates will also be provided on social media, along with adverts in the local press and printed timetables in ports and other outlets.