Councillors welcome rail feasibility study

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ELLON councillors Rob Merson and Richard Thomson have welcomed a public commitment by the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee to look into the feasibility of re-opening a rail link between Ellon and Aberdeen.

The council’s Infrastructure Services Committee backed a call from Peterhead Cllr Stephen Smith on Friday to push for progress on a feasibility study into the project, which would presumably involve the re-opening of the Formartine-Buchan line.

Cllr Merson, who is a long-standing advocate of restoring the link, said that at least looking into the possibility of restoring the link would allow the council to gauge whether it would be financially feasible.

He said: “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.

“While the Aberdeen bypass will solve a lot of the area’s traffic problems in the medium term, we need to look further into the future and I don’t see it as being a choice between either better roads or improved rail links – the two go hand-in-hand.”

“Experts predict that the world will reach ‘peak oil’ - when the world-wide demand for oil outstrips the ability to produce it - in about four years time. That will send fuel prices through the roof; we will be faced with crucial need for an efficient mass-transit infrastructure – and railways are one of the most effective.

“The failure to grasp the future demand for rail travel is perhaps even more short-sighted than Dr Beeching’s decision to decimate it.”

Fellow Ellon councillor, Richard Thomson added that the current lack of a rail link made no sense from a commercial perspective.

He said: “Buchan and Formartine are two of the most populated areas in Scotland not connected to the rail network. With demand for rail travel predicted to soar, having direct connections to the national rail network is going to be increasingly important for business and leisure travellers alike.”