Anger as Peterhead and Fraserburgh rail link is left out of Government Transport Review

Campaigners calling for the return of rail links to Peterhead and Fraserburgh are furious the project fails to feature in the Scottish Government’s latest Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

By Kevin McRoberts
Friday, 21st January 2022, 2:27 pm
Updated Friday, 21st January 2022, 6:34 pm
The Campaign for North East Rail is angry that the prospect of trains running to Peterhead and Fraserburgh has been ignored in the Strategic Transport Projects Review.
The Campaign for North East Rail is angry that the prospect of trains running to Peterhead and Fraserburgh has been ignored in the Strategic Transport Projects Review.

The review – covering the Government’s plans for the next 20 years – has been described as “totally unacceptable” by the Campaign for North East Rail (CNER).

It points out that it was only a few short months ago that the Buchan rail link was being trumpeted by the SNP and Scottish Greens in their cooperation agreement.

SPTR2 is currently out for consultation – and CNER is urging all supporters to make their views known and demand that the North-east rail link is put back on the table.

You can read CNER's full response at the Campaign for North East Rail Facebook page.

Jordan Jack, CNER co-chair, said: "The Scottish Government's plan for Transport over the next 20 years does not at the present time deliver on the commitments made to the North East in the Cooperation Deal.

“In 2021 that historic agreement between the SNP and Greens promised to study new rail links for Ellon, Fraserburgh and Peterhead, which needs to be included in STPR2 as it was at the draft stage.”

As well as responding to the consultation, CNER will continue to engage with the Transport Minister through all available channels and says it is “hopeful that this oversight may be subsequently corrected”.

There are two specific projects for the North-east contained in STPR2 – but neither has any direct impact on the Buchan area.

Indeed, while the review indicates some wider initiatives could benefit the area, the proposed bus-based Aberdeen Rapid Transit System and rail corridor improvements on the Perth-Dundee-Aberdeen line give little indication of any interest in the North-east outside the Granite City.

Mr Jack said: “If STPR2 passes without revision, in 20 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.

“The time for significant capital investment to expand the 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 has demonstrated, there is every reason to expect the new rail in Buchan to be an equally successful project.

“CNER considers Transport Scotland’s lack of ambition for North-east rail as deeply misplaced.”

The Strategic Transport Projects Review is available to view online at the Transport Scotland website where you can also take part in the consultation which runs until April 15.

You can read more from the Campaign for North East Rail at its website and Facebook page.