Could Formartine & Buchan railway line be reopening?

The old railway line at Maud
The old railway line at Maud

Plans are currently being considered which could potentially see the reopening of the Formartine & Buchan railway line.

It comes following a public input study conducted by NESTRANS, the Transport Partnership for Aberdeen City and Shire, which explored options for improving transport connections between Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Aberdeen.

The railway, which was opened in July 1858 and then closed in 1966 was originally built to link Fraserburgh and Peterhead with Aberdeen.

Now NESTRANS are considering the benefits of reopening the railway.

Nestrans Chair Councillor Ramsay Milne said: “The Nestrans Regional Transport Strategy Refresh, published last year, contained a commitment to carry out an all modes study of the corridor from Fraserburgh and Peterhead to Aberdeen. This includes consideration of the costs and benefits of re-opening the Formartine & Buchan railway line.

“The results of this study will help develop a number of options for improvement to infrastructure and connectivity that will benefit the users of this route. The data gathered will be used to develop potential options for further investigation which will go back out to consultation later in 2015.”

The 29 mile long railway from Dyce to Mintlaw opened on 18 July 1861, with the 13 mile section from Maud to Peterhead opening the following year.

A 15 mile long section north to Fraserburgh opened on 24 April 1865.

Passenger services were withdrawn by the Scottish Region of British Railways in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts. Freight trains continued to operate to Peterhead until 1970 and Fraserburgh until 1979.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “Councillors asked our colleagues at Nestrans to look into the interest in rail links and wider transport options between Peterhead and Fraserburgh, and we’re pleased this study is now underway.

“We are aware there is growing discussion locally on this theme and we look forward to seeing the outcome of the consultation and study.”

Much of the old railway route now forms the Formartine and Buchan Way foot and cycle path and no comment was given as to where any potential new track may be laid.

The study also looked into improving all aspects of transport between Fraserburgh and Aberdeen and Independent Councillor Ian Tait has said he hopes his constituents took the oppertunity to make their voices heard about the possible A90 dualling project.

Speaking to the Herald he said: “I hope very much that many people in our area made an input to this consultation so that the powers that be have been made very aware in no uncertain terms that we in the Fraserburgh area want the A90 dualled right up to Fraserburgh.

“It should not stop at Peterhead, Fraserburgh needs the dualling badly in order to make it more efficient for transporting raw materials in and finished goods out.

“It will make the A90 safer for drivers as well, This will help to regenerate our local economy and safeguard existing jobs and create new ones.

“I can confirm that a member of the Transport Scotland team is coming along on the 2nd June in the afternoon to meet myself and other councillors from the Ellon and Peterhead areas to discuss the A90 from Ellon to Fraserburgh.

“It may also be possible to have a public meeting in addition but that will depend on the Transport Scotland officer’s time available and I will release any information to that effect when I have it and if there is a public meeting, then again I would urge people to come along and express their views to The Transport Scotland official.”