Boost for Buchan Rail Campaign from Passenger Group

>> 15 December 2015

The campaign to bring a rail link to Buchan received a “significant boost” yesterday when the Scottish Association for Passenger Transport (SAPT) publicly backed a rail link to Ellon as a first step towards future expansion.

The SAPT report states: “An initial Ellon-Dyce-Aberdeen train service with Park+Ride provision could be co-ordinated with improved bus connections from Peterhead and Fraserburgh to Ellon. As well as giving a fast 28 minute link from Ellon to Aberdeen, this would bring the benefit of seamless travel from the study area to the rest of Scotland and the world. Connections at Dyce would be available to Aberdeen Airport, and the Inverness line via Inverurie. At Aberdeen station seamless cross-platform connections would be available to the south. And in future, the local train service from Ellon could be extended to start at Fraserburgh and/or Peterhead, and continue as a cross-city link beyond Aberdeen to Stonehaven or a re-opened line to Banchory.”

Vice-Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“The Scottish Association for Public Transport is a well-respected body which has been the voice of public transport users for over half a century. Their backing for a rail link north of Dyce is a significant boost to the campaign to bring rail back to Buchan.

“I have read SAPT’s submission and it makes a lot of very valid points based on experience elsewhere in reaching the conclusion that re-establishing the rail line to Ellon as a first step towards future extension is the best way forward both for public transport and for reducing congestion on our roads.”

Ellon & District councillor Rob Merson said:

"The prospect of re-establishing a rail link to Buchan is one that I have raised at every suitable opportunity since becoming a councillor. Buchan and Formartine are two of the most populated areas in Scotland not connected to the rail network.

“Every rail station or line which has reopened in recent years has seen far higher use than was estimated. 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.

“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.

“The fact of the matter is that the railway should never have been closed in the first place and there have been calls for many years to restore it. The cost is never going to get any cheaper as time goes on so there is no better time than now to commit to the project. The failure by some to grasp the future demand for rail travel is perhaps even more short-sighted than Dr. Beeching's decision to decimate it."

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