A project to deliver a modern, reliable and resilient lifeline passenger ferry service between Gourock and Dunoon.  The Gourock Harbour Infrastructure & Vessels Project, a partnership between Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), CalMac and Argyll & Bute Council, has been established to manage and progress the project.

Strategic business case granted for masterplan

30 March 2021

Planning for the redevelopment of Gourock Ferry Terminal continues at a good pace and we have achieved a key milestone of securing approval on the strategic business case for a masterplan.

We are continuing to work with Mott MacDonald, the engineering firm we appointed to help develop infrastructure options, on a more detailed business case to outline options and solutions and their commercial and financial value.  The next project milestone involves refining the options prior to community and stakeholder consultation, which we expect will take place in May and June.

This briefing note, compiled by Mott MacDonald, provides more information, including details of the business cases required for funding at each stage, and the consultation and stakeholder engagement throughout the life of the project.


New linkspan installed

26 January 2021

The new linkspan has been installed at Gourock Ferry Terminal during a late night operation as part of the £2 million project to extend the life of the linkspan structure.

LARA 1, a large offshore crane barge, was brought in to support the operation, which was completed by our engineers and contractor George Leslie Ltd late on Monday 25 January.

Commissioning works will now take place and the linkspan is expected to be available for operational use by mid-February (subject to weather conditions).

Read the full news story here.


Contract awarded for ferry concept design

7 January 2021

We have awarded a £155,000 contract to international design and engineering firm BMT to provide consultancy services for the concept design of a new passenger ferry for the Gourock, Dunoon and Kilcreggan routes.

With a strong focus on reducing the environmental footprint, BMT and CMAL will investigate and evaluate the application of energy efficiency solutions to make the new vessel design more sustainable while still offering the high level of safety and reliability expected from a lifeline ferry service.

Read the contract award news release here.


New completion date for linkspan project

18 December 2020

The linkspan repair project at Gourock Ferry Terminal will be completed by mid-February 2021.

The new linkspan was scheduled to be installed in November and the project was due to be completed by the end of 2020.  However, after the old linkspan was removed, additional surveys revealed issues with the existing berth structure which were not evident until the old linkspan structure was lifted out.

We have commissioned the project contractor, George Leslie Ltd, to carry out the additional essential repairs to the inner dolphin structure.

LARA 1, a large, highly manoeuvrable offshore crane barge, is booked to be on site at Gourock week commencing 18 January 2021 to lift the new linkspan into place.  The installation and commissioning works following this mean the linkspan should be available to hand back to CalMac on 16 February.  Revised dates are subject to weather conditions.


New linkspan at Gourock delayed

26 November 2020

Installation of the new linkspan at Gourock Ferry Terminal has been delayed after additional surveys revealed issues with the existing berth structure.  The completion date for the project is now likely to move into early 2021 as a result.

The LARA 1 crane barge removed the old linkspan at the start of November and subsequent infrastructure and underwater surveys have uncovered unexpected anomalies in the 50-year old berth, making it difficult to put the new linkspan into place.  We have decided to demobilise the install operation and undertake the necessary rectifications to the berth structure before proceeding with the new linkspan lift-in operation.  Read the full news story here.


Gourock linkspan removed

5 November 2020

The Gourock Ferry Terminal linkspan has been removed from the harbour infrastructure in a carefully planned night-time operation.

LARA 1, a large, highly manoeuvrable offshore crane barge with a reach of 40 metres, arrived at Gourock Ferry Terminal last week to prepare for a nightshift operation to lift the linkspan and make way for a new one.  It was removed in the early hours of Wednesday 4 November and is now on its way to Liverpool on the Lara 1 to be disposed.

The new linkspan has already been delivered to Gourock and will be installed in the coming weeks.  Read the full news story here.


Contract awarded for Gourock linkspan repair project

10 September 2020

Civil engineering firm, George Leslie Limited has been awarded a contract to carry out work to extend the life of the linkspan at Gourock Ferry Terminal.  The contractor will carry out repairs to the linkspan support structures and replace the steel deck and associated mechanical and electrical equipment.

Work is scheduled to begin on 5 October and complete on 23 December, subject to weather conditions, and includes a nine-week closure period for the linkspan from 19 October to 18 December.  The linkspan closure will impact ferry services which use Gourock both as a primary berth and as an alternative mainland port.  It is expected that Dunoon and Kilcreggan services will operate to Gourock Boat Steps and this will require small amendments to timetable.

Read more.


Consultant appointed for terminal redevelopment

26 August 2020

The Gourock Ferry Terminal Redevelopment project has taken a significant step forward with the appointment of an engineering consultant to develop infrastructure options.

Engineering firm Mott MacDonald has been appointed to draw up high level options for the redevelopment of the harbour.  The options will then be refined to enable the selection of a preferred option, which will be used as the basis of a harbour masterplan for the upgrade of infrastructure.

Read the full news story here.


Passenger survey findings

10 June 2020

The findings of the Gourock-Dunoon passenger survey have been published. The survey was designed to explore the travel habits and opinions of people who use ferry services between Gourock and Dunoon.  More than 600 people took part in the online survey, which was commissioned by CMAL to inform the work of the Gourock Harbour Infrastructure & Vessels Project.

The main survey findings include:

  • Almost all respondents have used both Calmac and Western Ferries services, although two thirds of respondents use Western Ferries most often. Those passengers travel more often and three quarters of them travel with their car;
  • Reliability, needing to take a car, frequency, and proximity to public transport (Gourock train station) were identified as the most important factors influencing the choice between services;
  • The main reason for using Calmac most often is the rail link and access to other public transport connections, while passengers cited the need to take a car / drive as the main reason for using Western Ferries most often;
  • The top reasons for passenger journeys include visiting family and friends, entertainment and leisure, shopping, medical appointments and work/business;
  • After leaving the ferry, the majority of passengers (52%) continue their journey by car, while around one third (34%) continue by train or bus.
  • Around half (46%) of those who use a car say they could use public transport for onward journeys and would be encouraged to do so if the ferry service was more reliable, there were better public transport connections and cost-savings on ticket prices were available.

The passenger feedback will be used to inform the development of harbour infrastructure and new vessels.  You can read the survey report here.


Passenger survey launched

8 April 2020

A survey has been launched to capture the views and experiences of ferry passengers who use Gourock to Dunoon services to help inform  future decision making for the Gourock Harbour Infrastructure & Vessels Project.

All ferry users, no matter how often they use services and whether they travel with CalMac or Western Ferries, are encouraged to share their views.

The survey is available to complete online at https://rb.gy/ak1zv9

The independent research survey is being conducted by Wild Heather Research on behalf of CMAL. The identity of people taking part in the survey will not be revealed and the results will only be shown on an accumulated basis (not individuals), in line with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct and GDPR.


Project Q&A

7 April 2020

The following provides an overview of the key areas discussed at the project reference group:

What will be considered in vessel design?
All parties at the Reference Group agreed that vessel reliability should be the highest priority for the two new vessels.  The current vessels are cancelled too frequently and, while some of this is mechanical, it is mostly due to weather.  The ferries should be considered a daily return journey service and an extension to the train and bus service.  It is believed that the majority of journeys are daily return, i.e. for work, shopping, NHS appointments and leisure.  A user survey will be initiated in late March to collect more data.

The vessel design speed will be chosen to maximise the ability to achieve timetable during inclement weather and meet interface with bus and train timetables.  CMAL will work with CalMac skippers and staff to model berthing manoeuvres to produce the best operational and safest site layout.

Vessel items to be included:

  • Compliance with accessibility guidelines to improve journeys for persons with reduced mobility, wheelchairs and prams
  • Changing places/accessible toilets
  • Priority seating for elderly, wheelchairs, etc
  • Comfortable seating for all weather conditions
  • Provide passengers with the feeling of being safe onboard during inclement weather
  • Dedicated spaces for luggage and bike storage
  • External seating on open deck to be retained
  • Wi-fi
  • Screens onboard that passengers can monitor train and bus times for connecting journeys
  • Baby changing facilities
  • A view forward for passengers

Will green technologies be used in vessel design?
CMAL will consider various options throughout the feasibility analysis stage of the design, including hybrid options, electric, and possibly hydrogen but this is unlikely.

What key factors will be considered at Gourock?
At Gourock, proximity of the new passenger facility to the railway station to ensure it is as close as feasibly possible to allow for ease of making connections, particularly for individuals who are less mobile.  CMAL and design engineers will collect as much historical and current local data as possible to inform the design process to deliver an optimal solution.

Traffic management impact on ferry terminal approach roads and junctions is also a key consideration.  The reference group noted that there are issues with current traffic controls and the proposed improvement works at the ferry terminal are likely to compound this. CMAL will include the issue in design development discussions.

What will be done at Dunoon?
At Dunoon, consideration will be given to the fendering and mooring arrangements. The aim is to absorb vessel impact and reduce vessel movement when passengers are embarking and disembarking.


Positive first meeting of reference group

10 March 2020

The inaugural meeting of the reference group to enable engagement with community stakeholders for the Gourock Harbour Infrastructure & Vessels Project was held on Wednesday 26 February.

Kevin Hobbs, chief executive at CMAL, said: “We had a very productive first meeting with community representatives.  We welcome the desire for strong community engagement and hope this positive approach continues as we build business cases for service improvements, including the procurement of two new passenger ferries.  This project will bring much-needed investment in the service in the next few years.  We will continue to meet with the reference group regularly, every four to five months, to ensure their feedback is considered and questions and concerns are addressed.”


New reference group to support ferry and harbour upgrades

25 February 2020

A new group has been established to facilitate engagement with Gourock and Dunoon ferry users to support the enhancement of services.  The reference group, which involves representatives from Dunoon Community Council, Inverclyde Community Council, Argyll and Inverclyde Councillors, HiTrans and SPT, will meet regularly to contribute to the design and delivery of the project.  Read more.


£2.5 million investment will return vehicle service

18 February 2020

A project will progress to extend the life of the linkspan at Gourock Ferry Terminal.  The £2.5 million project will involve repairs to the linkspan support structures and replacement of the steel deck.  Once complete, the linkspan will be able to carry vehicles.  Read more.