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Customer Update - New Islay Vessel Port Enabling Works

Customer Update - New Islay Vessel Port Enabling Works

Update 14 June 2024

We want to let our customers know that the timetable for travel to/from Kennacraig-Port Ellen, Islay and Oban-Colonsay has been further amended for the period 19 June - 30 July. 

Full details of the timetable amendments for are available on our timetable pages:  

Timetable for travel to/from Islay, 19 June - 30 July 2024

Timetable for travel to/from Colonsay, 19 June - 30 July 2024 

We do apologise that this will include the cancellation of the Wednesday service to/from Oban-Colonsay during the period 19 June - 24 July, however a passenger charter will operate between Oban and Colonsay on Wednesdays 19 and 26 June and 3, 10, 17, 24 July. It can carry 12 passengers; however, it is not able to carry dogs or bikes. It will operate to the times below, and can be booked via our Oban port office. Full details are available on our service status and information page.  

Depart Oban - 1400 
Arrive Colonsay - 1530 
Depart Colonsay - 1545 
Arrive Oban - 1715 

Reason for additional timetable amendments  

These services are scheduled to operate under an amended timetable while port enabling works take place at Port Askaig, and the terminal temporarily closes for that period. However, the timetable needed to be reviewed again, and further amendments made due to an issue on board MV Hebridean Isles.  

A water leak from the heating system has caused damage and has affected crew cabins. Crew members need to be accommodated ashore, which has impacted crew hours of rest. In turn, our timetable has been reviewed to allow for this.  

Customer bookings 

If you have a booking for travel to Islay / Colonsay between 19 June - 30 July that's likely to be affected, our team will be in contact with you to provide details.  

If you would like to make a booking for travel to Islay / Colonsay between 19 June - 30 July, please be aware that our system is currently being updated while we move current customer bookings to amended sailing times. While this work is underway, it may seem that some sailings are unavailable. Please do check back, as this may be temporary while updates take place.  

Retail on MV Hebridean Isles  

Hot drinks and light snacks will be available on board MV Hebridean Isles; however, no hot food will be available due to reduced crew availability. We are sorry that we can't provide our normal retail service in the usual way during this period and while we manage the challenge detailed above. 

We apologise for this further amendment - and thank you for your patience. If you are travelling to Islay or Colonsay during this period, please visit our dedicated web page which holds all necessary information to support customers during the temporary closure of Port Askaig.  

Update 10 May 2024

Following on from our customer update from 3 May 2024, regarding port enabling works at Port Askaig and the temporary closure of the port while this is underway, we have published further details to support customers travelling to Islay and Colonsay during the period 19 June - 30 July in a dedicated web page, covering timetables, bookings, check in details and  transport connection information. 

If you are planning to travel to Islay and Colonsay during this period, please do check the information we've shared.

Update 3 May 2024

From 19 June, an amended timetable will be in operation on routes to/from Kennacraig-Port Askaig and Port Ellen, and Oban-Colonsay-Port Askaig to allow for the next phase of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) infrastructure works at Port Askaig Ferry Terminal. This work is taking place to prepare the port for the arrival of two new vessels in the future - during this time, Port Askaig will be closed for sailings for 6 weeks.  

During week commencing 5 May, we'll publish more details on how customers will be supported during this time, including information on alternative transport options and Passenger Rights. In the meantime, we've made the amended timetables available to view and provided more detail below on what to expect if you have made a booking that's affected.  

Timetable  

The amended timetable for the period 19 June - 30 July is available on our timetable pages for Kennacraig-Port Ellen / Port Askaig and Oban-Colonsay-Port Askaig.  

What to expect if you have a booking to/from Islay or Colonsay for the period 19 June 30 July  

Those customers who have bookings between 19 June - 30 July whose sailing time has been amended will be contacted by us via email and text with confirmation. Our team is working through this in date order. Thank you for your patience while we do this. 

Booking system  

If you are planning to book travel to Islay or Colonsay during 19 June - 30 July, our booking system is being updated in phases and at times may seem unavailable. This is temporary while work is underway - please do check back.  

Next steps 

We will share further details with customers during week commencing 5 May on the arrangements in place to support customers travelling to/from Islay and Colonsay while this phase of work to prepare for future vessels takes place.  

In the meantime, thank you for your patience. As always, our team will be working hard to support customers throughout.  

 

Update 6 March 2024

Port Askaig Closure 19 June 2024 until 30 July 2024: From 19 June 2024 a six-week closure will be required to support CMAL's port enabling works and Argyll and Bute Councils port layout upgrades. CalMac are working with Transport Scotland on timetable options and service continuity plan for during this period and we will update customers as soon as we can. 

Update - 31 January 2024 

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) is leading work to upgrade infrastructure at Kennacraig. 

Timetable  

From 08 January 2024 - 27 January 2025, an amended timetable for routes to and from Kennacraig will be in operation. This will reflect the normal winter timetable service up to 28 March 2024 - however, sailing times will be amended.   

The amended timetables for this period have been published on our website. Our ticketing system has been updated with the amended timetable for the period 8 January to 6 March and our team is currently updating the ticketing system for the period 7 March - 28 March. If you are intending to book travel for this period (7 March - 28 March) please be aware that some sailing dates may be temporarily unavailable while this work is being carried out.   

Those customers who have bookings between 08 January and 28 March 2024 with changed sailing times are being contacted by email and text with confirmation. Our team is working through this in date order. Thank you for your patience while we do this. 

We'll share the summer 2024 timetable, which will reflect the continuing amendments on this route, as soon as they have been published.   

What customers can expect  

We will be delivering our service from a port which is undergoing significant construction works. We are working closely with all parties to minimise the effect on customers; however, we must acknowledge that there may at times be a higher risk of disruption to services. As always, we will keep customers and the communities we serve updated across our channels.  

In addition to the amended timetables, we've shared a summary of what customers can expect in terms of day-to-day operations at the ports. We've also shared some more detail in our dedicated Frequently Asked Questions below, where we've answered the most common questions you're likely to have.  

Transport connections 

We've worked with the local bus operator to ensure that local bus timetables will be amended and aligned to support foot passengers' travel plans up to 28 March 2024, and we will update customers on plans around transport connections for the summer 2024 timetable as soon as possible.  

Changes to boarding and disembarking - foot passengers  

While work is underway at Kennacraig, foot passengers will need to board and disembark the vessel through the car deck. If you think you may need passenger assistance, please do get in touch with us prior to your journey. You'll find a useful guide on how to do that in the Help for Passengers section of our website.   

Changes to boarding and disembarking - vehicles  

To help with traffic flow, vehicles will be reverse loaded on the final departure each day from Port Askaig and Kennacraig. During MV Finlaggan's overhaul (6 - 30 March 2024) vehicles will be reverse loaded on every sailing on both MV Isle of Arran and MV Hebridean Isles. Our crew will be there to guide you.  

Overhaul period  

During the amended timetable period, MV Finlaggan is scheduled to be in overhaul (6 - 30 March 2024)*. Plans have been confirmed for this period and MV Isle of Arran and MV Hebridean Isles will cover this route during MV Finlaggan's overhaul.  

* update - the dates for MV Finlaggan's overhaul are now 17 April - 11 May, and MV Hebridean Isles and MV Lord of the Isles are providing cover during MV FInlaggan's overhaul. For the latest details on a delay to MV Finlaggan's re-scheduled overhaul period, please read our latest Customer Update.

Next phases of work  

This project is part of a series of major infrastructure works by CMAL to prepare Kennacraig, Port Askaig and Colonsay ports for new vessels. We will share details on works at Port Askaig (March - July) and Colonsay (March - October) and what customers can expect regarding the service during this period in due course.  

Thank you to the communities and customers for your patience while we deliver our services during these construction works. 

FAQs 

I have a booking for travel between Port Ellen / Port Askaig and Kennacraig between 08 January and 28 March 2024, what do I need to do?  

Your departure time and arrival times are likely to change because of the amended timetable. Our team will be in touch with you by email and text with the latest details. You can also view the amended timetable online.  

Will bus timetables be aligned to support foot passengers?  

Yes. Local bus timetables will be amended and aligned to support foot passengers' travel plans up to 28 March 2024, and we will update customers on plans around the summer 2024 timetable as soon as possible. 

What are the changes to boarding and disembarkation during the works at Kennacraig?  

Foot passengers will need to board and disembark the vessel through the car deck. If you think you may need passenger assistance, please do get in touch with us prior to your journey. You'll find a useful guide on how to do that in the Help for Passengers section of our website.   

Vehicles will be reverse loaded on the final departure each day from Port Askaig and Kennacraig. During MV Finlaggan's overhaul (6 - 30 March 2024) vehicles will be reverse loaded on every sailing on both MV Isle of Arran and MV Hebridean Isles. Our crew will be there to guide you. 

I would like to make a booking for a date up to 28 March 2024, but cannot access it on the ticketing system. Why is this?  

Our ticketing system is currently being updated for the period 25 January - 28 March. If you are intending to book travel for this period, please be aware that some sailing dates may be temporarily unavailable while this work is being carried out.  Thank you for your patience while we do this. 


Update - 18 October 2023

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) is hosting a series of events to update communities on the planned construction work at Colonsay, Kennacraig and Port Askaig ferry terminals. 

In preparation for the arrival of MV Isle of Islay and MV Loch Indaal, work to upgrade the ferry terminals will include dredging, fendering, provision for mooring aids and shore power facilities. 

At the events, CMAL engineers and representatives from Caledonian MacBrayne and Transport Scotland will share details of the proposed construction plans for each ferry terminal. They will also discuss high-level timescales and potential changes to services. 

The events will take place at: 

  • Tarbert Village Hall - Tuesday 24 October 2023, 4.00-7.00pm 

  • Islay Gaelic Centre / Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle - Wednesday 10 January 2024, 4.00-7.00pm 

  • Jura Village Hall - Thursday 11 January 2024, 2.00-5.00pm 

  • Colonsay Village Hall - Tuesday 27 February, 4.00-7.00pm 

For full details, visit CMAL's project page on their  website

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