RAILWAY enthusiasts and couples could soon be staying in the clock tower at Wemyss Bay Station under a plan to turn it into a romantic bolthole.

The £5,000 grant has been awarded to the Landmark Trust, a charity which specialises in restoring historic buildings to then let out as holiday accommodation.

The grant will help to fund a survey and feasibility study, with a view to further investment resulting in a quirky place to stay.

The two-storey flat inside the tower was lived in by a member of staff for many years, but has deteriorated and is now in a poor condition.

Andy Savage, executive director of the Railway Heritage Trust, said: “We have been involved in the station in both an advisory and a funding role for many years and we helped fund an attempt to restore the tower flat a decade ago, which sadly failed to stop the weather getting in.

"We have been seeking a way ahead to get it back into use ever since.

“The Landmark Trust offers a good way of getting ‘quirky’ buildings back into use, and this is well situated for them as they already have a presence on Bute.

“Assisting them in a feasibility study is a step towards a full restoration project.”

Andy hopes that their initial funding will persuade the Landmark Trust that the flat is worth taking on as a holiday home, and a more substantial grant would then be made towards its restoration.

He said: “This station is an iconic piece of architecture, and rightly has listed status.

“It is, however, very expensive to upkeep in relation to the limited use it now sees, and it is important to get commercial tenants in to look after as much of the station as possible – which also makes the station more welcoming, and part of the community.

“With a permanent tenant, and the support of an RHT grant towards restoration, we hope to see this part of the station fully restored, back in use, and being maintained properly.”

One further upgrade is due to be made to the tower, with Network Rail planning to install a new electric mechanism in the clock, which can only be accessed by a ladder built into the wall of the flat.

The clock tower flat was last lived in around five years ago, and local group the Friends of Wemyss Bay Station say they are supportive of the current efforts.

Greg Beecroft, committee member with the Friends, said: “We are very pleased about the idea.

“By far the best thing to happen to any building is for it to be used and I’m sure people will have an interesting time staying there.

“We’re keen to promote the station and promote ScotRail and others in what they do.”