Feasibility study into re-opening rail link

The former Buchan line at Ellon which is now a popular walkway
The former Buchan line at Ellon which is now a popular walkway

Local councillors have welcomed a commitment to a feasibility study into rail expansion in the North-east.

Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee backed a proposal from Peterhead South and Cruden councillor Stephen Smith earlier this year to push for progress into a study to settle the issue of whether a rail link can be restored to Buchan.

NESTRANS (North-east Scotland Transport Partnership) had previously categorised it only as a “longer-term aspiration”, but following all-party support at Aberdeenshire Council and a public consultation on their regional transport strategy, NESTRANS have now changed their policy.

Councillor Smith said: “This is good news and I’m pleased that NESTRANS have listened to and acted upon the responses they received from the council and the public in the consultation.

“These are difficult financial times and a major infrastructure project such as restoring the rail link to Ellon and Peterhead would cost many millions of pounds.

“The railway should never have been closed in the first place and there have been calls for many years to restore it.

Ellon and District councilor Rob Merson added: “The prospect of re-opening the Buchan line is one that I have raised at every suitable opportunity since becoming a councillor.

“A rail link from Ellon direct to the city centre would make a huge contribution toward alleviating the traffic chaos at the Bridge of Don, and would be far better for the planet - but we need to gather in the information first to see if this will stack up.

“This is a welcome move from NESTRANS and I am glad they have listened to local opinion.”

Passenger services were withdrawn from the Buchan line in the 1960s. Freight continued until the late 70s when the link finally closed.