TWO stone structures that used to form part of a railway line through Kilwinning have been earmarked for demolition.

The two stone abutments are located along the B778 road which runs from Kilwinning to Dalry.

These structures, which were constructed in the 1840s, used to carry part of the Dalry to Kilmarnock Railway Line over the road.

The line closed to passengers in 1966 albeit a sleeper service continued until its full closure in 1973.

The abutments were previously joined by a bridging superstructure, however this was removed at a date which is unknown

Now, their demolition has been recommended as part of the Historical Railways Estate (HRE) major schemes for the 2023/24 financial year.

The Historical Railways Estate is a collection of over 3,100 structures and assets which were once part of Britain's rail network which National Higways are responsible for on behalf of the Department for Transport.

The demolition of the structures in Kilwinning has been highlighted as one of 25 major schemes to take place this year - due to the increased risk to safety caused by the deterioration of the abutments.

Constructed from regularly coursed stone blocks, National Highways says these are in "poor condition" with "multiple vertical fractures".

Documents reviewing their recommendation for the major work go on to explain why demolition is considered the best option for the structures.

They say the work, which will cost an estimated £130,000 will: remove substructure stability risk; remove ongoing structure maintenance liability; remove potential flooding risk and improve visibility to emergency access to electricity sub-station – though access is little used.

Alternative options being considered included doing nothing, at no cost, however this would lead to the abutments conditions continuing to deteriorate and risk safety as loose masonry may fall on to the carriageway or block the burn - with the ‘Threadmill Burn’ conveyed below the north abutment.

Repairs and stabilistion, at a cost of £150 were also considered, though National Highways say this "retains ongoing structure maintenance liability for a structure that has no future use or notable merit".

The decision to press forward with demolition has hence been taken - despite "historical and evidential interest" which National Highways decribe as "limited".

Their report states: "The abutments are not recorded by the West of Scotland Archaeology Service HER as a non-designated heritage asset.

"While (the abutments) retains some limited historical and evidential interest as part of the former Dalry to Kilmarnock branch, it lacks any significant architectural or engineering merit to warrant any formal heritage designation.

"The historic removal of the bridging superstructure also significantly reduces the abutments’ value as a heritage asset."

National Highways now plans to press ahead with demolition - pending ministerial approval.

It added that North Ayrshire Council, as local planning authority, has confirmed that planning permission would not be required for the works to demolish the structure.

Further to this North Ayrshire Council “has no objection in principle or any immediate concerns” regarding the proposed modifications to the existing structure.

It has, however, requested that the works are carried out under traffic control rather than closure of the road which would have significant impact on the Roads Operations depot, which lies just to the north of the structure.

Sustrans, which was also consulted on the planned demolition, added that the structure "does not appear to have any value for active travel purposes" - so it is happy for the work to go ahead.

If ministerial approval is granted, demolition work is set to begin this summer.