ARDROSSAN'S long-delayed new ferry to Brodick has had its engine switched on for the first time in what has been welcomed as "a very reassuring milestone".

The MV Glen Sannox was originally intended to set sail in late 2021 but is now scheduled to begin running between March and May 2023.

Bosses at Ferguson Marine (Port Glasgow), the shipyard where the ferry is being built along with the as-yet-unnamed Hull 802, said systems performed as expected and all tests on the first emergency diesel generator to run on the vessel went smoothly.

David Tydeman, chief executive at FMPG, said: “We’ve started the first bit of rotating machinery. This is a very reassuring milestone.

READ MORE: Furious ferry customer slams 'appalling' service and bills CalMac for missed sailings

“Our commissioning team has been doing a lot of maintenance work on all major equipment, supported by manufacturers, to prevent detrimental conditions during commissioning.”

Continuous tests and extensive maintenance will be held on the ship as it remains under construction to ensure that its condition remains up to standard.

The MV Glen Sannox is intended to replace the MV Isle of Arran, with the current MV Caledonian Isles due to become the second vessel on the Ardrossan-Brodick crossing.

Originally, the new vessels were intended to begin sailing in mid-2018 but saw major delays due to failings with the project’s management that harmed the ships’ progress and conditions.

In December 2019 the yard came under the control of the Scottish Government as Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd resigned from their responsibilities.