New rail campaign launched to connect the north east

A new campaign has been launched to reconnect the north east by rail.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 6:00 am
The campaign's proposals inlcude reopening the Formartine and Buchan Railway to Peterhead and Fraserburgh with significant realignment north of Ellon to improve journey times.

Campaign for North East Rail is behind the new push to see railways return to the North East, and is campaigning to secure a feasibility study into the rail proposal between Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Banchory.

As part of the proposals, the Formartine and Buchan Railway would be reopened, but rather than branching at Maud, this line would branch at Ellon and follow the abandoned Boddam branch to Peterhead.

Stations would be reopened at Ellon, Pitmedden and Newmachar.

A railway completed in this way would allow for competitive travel times with the car, while stopping at all of the largest settlements in the area.

The proposal includes:

Reopening the Formartine and Buchan Railway to Peterhead and Fraserburgh with significant realignment north of Ellon to improve journey times. Reopening the Deeside line as far as Banchory. Integrating this new railway with current Scotrail services to the Central Belt and London bound services such as the LNER and Caledonian Sleeper services. Introducing an integrated bus service that will meet every train at Banchory, and run to Braemar following the A93.

The North east suffered severely as a result of the Beeching Cuts.

Campaign for North East Rail seeks to build an integrated rail network fit for the 21st century.

This will utilise existing dormant rail infrastructure and also build new infrastructure to enhance the speed and efficiently of services, fully integrated with the existing network.

Co-chair of the campaign, Jordan Jack, said: "For too long Aberdeenshire has felt isolated and disconnected, the areas of Buchan, Garioch, Kincardineshire and Deeside all have their own identities, completely separate from one another.

"When constructed, our proposals will link up the entire region, and stitch the social fabric of Aberdeenshire together.

"There has been significant talk of watering down or curtailing potential rail reopening’s in the North East for decades. The time for prevarication or concessions has surely passed.

"We must be bold, ambitious and determined to improve travel links, provide jobs and decarbonise our transport here for today and future generations.

"There have been campaigns in the past that got nowhere.

"This time its different, data from the borders railways has blown previous assumptions out of the water, and our proposals have been crafted in tandem with rail experts to ensure technical competence."

He added: "This will happen, we just need to demonstrate how much demand there truly is in the North East.”

Aberdeenshire East candidate Gillian Martin has backed the campaign.

She said: “It’s great to see the campaign for North-East Rail take shape. I’ve been campaigning for a rail link between Dyce and Ellon for five years, and I know many residents are keen to see it realised.

“With our national ambition to reach net zero and connectivity being the big issue on the North East I feel its time has come. I hope every gets behind the campaign and will do everything I can to support it if re-elected.”

Visit www.campaignfornortheastrail.org to sign the petition and for further information on the campaign.

Campaign for North East Rail is also on Facebook and Twitter: @CNERail