Cross-party rivalry put aside to call for reopening of railway line

Two MSPs have put put cross-party rivalry aside to call for the reopening of the railway line between Ellon and Dyce.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 12:13 pm
Ellon station closed in 1965 and the line now forms part of the Formartine and Buchan Way. Pic: Ben Brooksbank and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license
Ellon station closed in 1965 and the line now forms part of the Formartine and Buchan Way. Pic: Ben Brooksbank and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

The route of the old train tracks has formed part of the Formartine and Buchan Way since the early 1990s, listed as one of Scotland's Great Trails by NatureScot.

While the Conservative’s North East Scotland list MSP Liam Kerr and the SNP’s Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin don’t want to impact it, they do want to see some way of trains being restored on the route for the first time since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

They have arranged a meeting with Transport Minister Graeme Dey in the hope of getting plans of track.

Mr Kerr said: “Gillian and I will disagree on many things, but we both feel rail travel will be a key part of Scotland realising its carbon-cutting ambitions.

“We both really care about our constituents, including the cyclists, horse-riders and walkers who use the current Way - don't worry, we're not looking to impact that.

“Hopefully by working cross-party we can achieve real progress as I think getting the line from Dyce to Ellon reopened is realistic and achievable.

“The likes of Aberdeen City Council’s excellent hydrogen bus scheme has shown the north-east can lead the way in promoting sustainable travel.

“We need a sign that the government will help develop the infrastructure to make this possible.

“To that end, we are meeting the minister responsible to make the case.”

Ms Martin added: “For the past five years I have called for improved rail infrastructure in the north-east, which is not only good for the economy but hugely important when we are considering our net-zero commitment by 2045.

“There is a huge groundswell of support for improved rail infrastructure and I am pleased Liam and I have been able to work cross-party on this issue.”

There could be cause for optimism with the Scottish Government’s ongoing Strategic Transport Projects Review looking at improvements in the north-east.

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said: “The review is considering a range of proposals including the potential to expand the rail network in the north-east, to the benefit of both passenger and freight users.”