MSP calls for Buchan to get back on track

MSP Stewart Stevenson visits Tweedbank and the Borders railway line.
MSP Stewart Stevenson visits Tweedbank and the Borders railway line.

An MSP has called for the next Scottish rail project to be in Buchan following the opening of a new railway line in the Borders last week.

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, stated his opinion in a Scottish Parliament debate on the progress of the Scottish economy.

Mr Stevenson said: ““I would now like to build a case for Buchan rail.

“Fraserburgh, with a population of 15,000, is 37 miles from the nearest railway station, and Peterhead, with a population of 19,000, is 32 miles from the nearest railway station.”

The MSP continued: “That is the next big rail project and I hope that the Government looks at it in early course.”

Mr Stevenson’s announcement comes following the news that Peterhead and Fraserburgh are now the furthest away towns of their size from a railway network in Britain.

Mr Stevenson made his comments after he visited Tweedbank and the new Borders railway.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are investing record levels in Scotland’s railways with our ambitious £5 billion package of improvements and new infrastructure.

“The Scottish Government is committed to a improving rail connectivity in the north east including the £170million programme of upgrades to the Aberdeen to Inverness rail line, poised to deliver improved connectivity and more regular services to the area by 2019.

The Government spokesman also made reference to the ongoing Nestrans study.

“Nestrans are currently undertaking a study looking at the strategic transport connections along the corridor from Fraserburgh and Peterhead to Aberdeen.

“The study will consider all modes of transport and will report its findings in due course.”

Nestrans Chair, Councillor Ramsay Milne, has said: “Support for re-opening the former Formartine & Buchan line was identified during the consultation phase of Nestrans’ Regional Transport Strategy Refresh last year, which is why we have committed to investigating this as an option as part of the all modes study.”