Let’s back the campaign to #connectPeterhead to the rail network

The Campaign for North East Rail (CNER) has officially launched #connectPeterhead calling for the town to be reconnected to the national rail network.

By Kevin McRoberts
Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 8:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 9:13 am
The Campaign for North East Rail has launched #connectPeterhead, and has outlined a series of compelling reasons why the town deserves to be reconnected to the rail network.
The Campaign for North East Rail has launched #connectPeterhead, and has outlined a series of compelling reasons why the town deserves to be reconnected to the rail network.

CNER is focusing its campaign on demonstrating the impact of reconnecting the Blue Toon to Aberdeen and beyond – and it’s encouraging everyone who wants to see the return of train services to the North-east to get behind its campaign.

Jordan Jack, CNER co-chair, believes there is a very strong case for a rail line to Peterhead.

He said: “In 2016 a study was published regarding reconnecting Ellon to the Rail network, once again neglecting the largest town in Aberdeenshire. This study demonstrated that a line to Ellon would require significant subsidy and would have limited patronage and freight uptake and thus formed a weak business case.

"CNER has shown, and will continue to demonstrate, that the business case to Peterhead is far stronger than Ellon alone.

"Peterhead has a population over double that of Ellon. Including the potential patronage and freight from Fraserburgh, the business case for Peterhead is beyond reproach, and far outstrips the potential for an Ellon only line.

“The option of using the former Boddam branch to reach Peterhead has never been studied. This is a more direct and feasible route than what has been looked at before. Now that a new study examining rail options in the North East has been secured as part of the deal between the Scottish Green and the Scottish Green Party, this solution for reaching Peterhead must finally be examined.”

CNERs believe the line to Peterhead would cost around £400m. The 2016 Ellon study showed a price tag of over £300m, so that’s a £100m difference for twice the railway distance serving an additional population of more than 20,000.

As CNER points out, there are compelling reasons for connecting Peterhead.

The Scottish Government has identified Peterhead as an area in need of regeneration as a priority. It is no secret that this area of the North-east needs investment and deserves to be invested in. High quality public transport is an equalities issue. Not everyone drives, nor do they want to. Some are older, some are younger, and some don’t have the means to support a car.

A high quality fast rail service opens up numerous opportunities for education, training, and access to labour markets. It would attract a significant degree of inward investment in to Peterhead and surrounding area generating new employment and development opportunities.

Business would benefit, and this would benefit the surrounding communities.

This has already been demonstrated in the Borders, and other places in Scotland that have been reconnected to the rail network.

Jordan said: “The time is now to provide real, sustainable public transport for our isolated communities. This railway will be transformative for the region, and we must not delay reaching the coast.”

• If you want to see the North-east get the railway it deserves then go to www.connectpeterhead.co.uk to fill out CNER’s survey and find resources to contact your MSPs and tell them the rail line has to go to Peterhead.