Road not rail is the better way forward

Councillor Gillian Owen at the Toll of Birness
Councillor Gillian Owen at the Toll of Birness

A local councillor has called for improvements to be made to the Toll of Birness over the reopening of the Formartine and Buchan railway line.

Ellon and District councillor Gillian Owen, who also runs the ‘Why Stop at Ellon’ A90 dualling campaign, made the call following last month’s meeting of transport body Nestrans.

Speaking to the Times, cllr Owen said: “I’m not against opening up the railway but I’m not sure how that would open up the North East.

“Rail also doesn’t help the dreadful junction at the Toll of Birness and as a minimum Nestrans really should look at improving that area as the number of accidents is way too high.

“The harbours are increasingly busy travelling down that section of the A90 with loads, a train may help with reducing the number of cars but the cost of rail tickets and the timetable will need to be inexpensive and with regular journeys.

“Will residents in Peterhead and Fraserburgh really drive to Ellon to catch a train to Dyce and then to Aberdeen and then possibly a further journey to work, when in reality at the Ellon roundabout you have a new dual carriageway straight to Aberdeen for work or shops?

“It may just end up as a novelty trip.”

The suggestion of re-opening the Buchan line as far as a park-and-ride station just north of Ellon was put forward by East Garioch councillor Martin Ford at the meeting, however the Nestrans board agreed to continue feasibility studies into future transport options for the Aberdeen/Ellon/Peterhead/Fraserburgh corridor.