Early action on rail link urged

Councillors have backed calls for NESTRANS to commit to carrying out a feasibility study on whether a rail link can be 
restored to Buchan.

In January, the committee unanimously backed a proposal from Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith to push for progress into a feasibility study.

However, councilors heard this week that the re-fresh of the Regional Transport Strategy being carried out by NESTRANS proposed to look only at “accessibility issues” and “options to address them, including rail links”.

Members of all parties on the committee agreed that the council should write to and make its view known that such a study should be brought forward.

Commenting, Cllr Stephen Smith said: “NESTRANS have tried to shunt this off into the distance as a ‘long-term aspiration’.

“The whole point about a scheme such as this is, if the cost-benefits stack up, it will be a long term project because it will inevitably take years to come to fruition even if the feasibility study was completed tomorrow.

“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 doing a study to tell us one way or the other if this can be done, whether it would have public and business support and how much it would cost.”

Cllr Martin Ford and Cllr Tom Malone also voiced support for an early feasibility study at today’s meeting. Cllr Peter Argyle (Lib Dem-Aboyne, Upper Deeside & Donside), chairing, agreed with the Committee and fresh representations will now be made to NESTRANS.