North-east campaign to reinvigorate rail services and connections is up and running

A new push to see railways return to the North East forms part of a concerted effort by the Campaign for North East Rail.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 11:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 6:28 am
The campaign ghroup are hoping the petition will show how much feeling there is locally to reopening lines.

Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland, yet has the least rail connections of all seven.

Vast swathes of the region lost vital rail links to the Beeching cuts. Only two lines survived, one to Dundee, and another to Inverness.

Only stations that happen to be on the routes between these cities are lucky enough to have access to rail.

Bieldside Station before the Beeching cuts closed the line

Only 5 of the region’s 15 largest settlements have a railway station.

The Campaign for North East Rail is a campaign for a modern rail network in the North East to directly address lack of rail infrastructure in the area and provide a vastly improved public transport offering to residents of the North East.

This is congruent with the Scottish Government's decarbonisation plans and will accelerate modal shift from road to rail in both passenger and freight journeys say the campaigners.

The new group are seeking 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.

A spokesman for the campaign group said: “NESTRANS investigated the possibility of reintroducing rail to Buchan in 2017 and concluded that the project would be poor value for money.

There are a number of outstanding issues with this feasibility study and the case for reinstating the Formartine and Buchan line in conjunction with the Deeside line is compelling when considered in a broader context of a fully integrated rail network for the North East.

"Our group has produced documentation detailing exactly how a new investigation would succeed, what's changed, and where the 2017 studies require refinement. We are campaigning to secure a feasibility study into a fully integrated rail proposal between Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Banchory. This railway would be transformational for public transport in our region.”

Their plans include the following: 1. Reopening the Formartine and Buchan Railway to Peterhead and Fraserburgh with significant realignment north of Ellon to improve journey times.2. Reopening the Deeside line as far as Banchory.3. Integrating this new railway with current Scotrail services to the central belt and London bound services such as the LNER and Caledonian Sleeper services.4. Introducing an integrated bus service that will meet every train, every time at Banchory, and run to Braemar following the A93, stopping at each town only once as if it were a train.

Candidates for the North East list and the six constituencies that the proposals effect have been asked to give their support.

A petition is also underway by the campaign group and can be accessed at: https://tinyurl.com/pc94u2pr