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Campaigner's fury over Ellon and Buchan rail link exclusion

By David Porter

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A NORTH-EAST group which has been lobbying for investment towards the reinstatement of rail links in the Buchan area have expressed their anger following the publication on the Scottish Government's Strategic Transport Projects Review.

Despite repeated rhetoric on the potential of reinstating links to the north-east of Aberdeen, no mention is made in the document of doing so, nor even investigations of the potential of the route.

Fraserburgh station prior to its closure.
Fraserburgh station prior to its closure.

In a statement, Campaign for North East Rail (CNER) said: "The government's plans for the next twenty years are totally unacceptable to CNER.

"Despite a clear commitment in the SNP/Green Cooperation deal to study the reconnection of Ellon, and Buchan rail being an option in earlier drafts of this document, the Scottish government and transport Scotland have decided the north-east doesn’t need any new rail infrastructure in the next twenty years.

"This is in direct opposition to the public response evidencing that the precise opposite is in fact the case, that public sentiment for north-east rail is overwhelmingly positive.

"Further, it is difficult to place credibility in Scottish Government commitments to reduce car journeys by 20 per cent without investing in new rail infrastructure and improving connectivity across the north-east.

"This is an area that Transport Scotland highlight has above average levels of car ownership compared to the rest of Scotland.

"Aberdeen Rapid Transport (ART) goes some way to remediating issues with public transport uptake in the north-east, however STPR2 outlines that these plans will come at the expense of other road users.

"Further, ART will not serve the primary communities CNER is seeking to connect to high quality public transport and deliver modal shift, namely Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

"If STPR2 passes without revision, in twenty years’ time, Peterhead and Fraserburgh will still be the largest towns the furthest from a railway station anywhere in Scotland.

"The representatives of the north-east would do well to consider if this is a legacy they would be proud of."

They continued: "The time for significant capital investment to expand Scotland’s rail network in the north-east is long overdue.

"Every new rail project delivered in Scotland so far has been successful.

"With the huge potential for freight and passenger traffic that CNER have demonstrated, there is every reason to expect new rail in Buchan to be an equally successful project.

"CNER consider Transport Scotland’s lack of ambition for north-east rail as deeply misplaced and feel this does not stand up to the evidence we have presented.

"We at CNER are working to deliver significant and long lasting change in public transport in the north-east and deliver what north-east residents deserve, high quality rail infrastructure fit for the 21st century.

"We continue to engage with the public and broaden our campaign to advance what we and many others agree is the best way forwards to meet the north-east's social, environmental and economic objectives.

"We will be writing to the Transport Minister and our local representatives in the coming days, and will be responding to the consultation in full.

"We urge our supporters to respond to the consultation."

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