A programme to deliver modern, reliable and resilient lifeline passenger ferry services between Gourock, Dunoon and Kilcreggan.  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 programme.

The programme comprises three distinct but connected projects (click an image below to view project information):

Programme Q&A updated with new responses

21 February 2022

The programme Q&A has been updated with responses to the survey which closed in February

Preferred options for Dunoon and Kilcreggan ferry terminals

8 February 2022

Proposed preferred options for the redevelopment of the infrastructure at Dunoon and Kilcreggan ferry terminals have been published online by Argyll and Bute Council.  More information is on the Council’s website at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/dunoon-and-kilcreggan-ferry-terminals

Argyll and Bute Council is preparing public and community consultation in February 2022 to provide interested parties the chance to share their views on the proposed options.

The ferry terminals at Dunoon and Kilcreggan are owned by Argyll and Bute Council and work at these sites is led and managed by the Council.  The Council is a key partner on the Gourock Harbour Infrastructure & Vessels Project, alongside CMAL, Transport Scotland and CalMac.


Programme Q&A updated with new responses

20 January 2022

The programme Q&A has been updated with responses to questions that were asked at the end of 2021:


Survey for new Dunoon vessel concept design

3 December 2021

We have launched a survey to gather community feedback on our work to develop a concept design for the new passenger ferry to serve Gourock and Dunoon.

The survey closed on 10 January 2022.

Before completing the survey, please view the following video presentations and design drawings, which provide detail on the process followed to develop the concept design and a range of options, which have been analysed to reach a preferred option. The videos are hosted on our YouTube channel and will open in a new browser window.


Community engagement survey launched

3 September 2021

We have launched a community engagement survey to seek feedback on proposals for the redevelopment of Gourock Ferry Terminal. Six infrastructure options have been developed, and a preferred option has emerged based on an appraisal against project requirements, as well as transport planning objectives and Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) criteria.

The online survey closed on  1 October 2021.

The following video presentations provide more information on the project to help inform community feedback. Presentation 1 provides a full overview. Presentations 2,3,4 and 5 are supplementary and provide additional information on planning and process. The videos are hosted on our YouTube channel and will open in a new browser window.

Transport Scotland has published an update on its current ferry policy work.  Watch the update in the following video:


Gourock masterplan and Dunoon concept vessel Q&A

15 July 2021

Following the inaugural reference group meeting in February 2020, and the virtual reference group meeting in May 2021, a Q&A has been published covering questions and feedback we have received:


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.


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.