Nestrans query particulars of reinstating rail links...

Deeside Railway pre Beeching report
Deeside Railway pre Beeching report

Transport bosses are taking steps to reexamine the cost and practical implications of reinstating disused railway lines, including in Deeside.

The idea of re-opening long closed railway lines, such as those to Banchory and Peterhead, was something that was considered when Nestrans’ Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) was prepared in 2008.

At that time it was considered that improved bus services would be a more cost-effective solution.

There was all-party support within Aberdeenshire Council for the inclusion of specific action on the Buchan line at the recent RTS meeting, which led to agreement by Nestrans to consider the feasibilty, costs and benefits of reinstating a rail link to Peterhead.

The RTS also continues to press for a new station at Kintore and has aspirations of further new stations in the future.

The re-opening of the line to Banchory remains a long-term aspiration.

However, Nestrans believe that such projects can only ever proceed on the basis of rigorous analysis and a robust business case

Currently the Scottish Government is spending almost £750m on improvements to rail services between Edinburgh and Glasgow and is also giving the greatest priority to a new high speed line between these cities, at an unknown cost and with unknown benefits, by 2023.

Cllr Peter Argyle, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee and Chair of Nestrans, said: “The council and Nestrans will continue to lobby for the rail links across the North-east and from there to the rest of Scotland, to be given the priority they deserve.

‘‘It is a real concern that the last rail project to be completed in Aberdeenshire was the reopening of Laurencekirk station, back in 2007, since when billions of pounds have been invested in other parts of Scotland, areas that continue to be given priority in Scottish Government plans.”