Reopening the railway between Ellon and Dyce is a “realistic and achievable” prospect according to a Tory MSP, who has teamed up with an SNP MSP on the issue.
Ellon’s train station was shut down to passengers in 1965 as part of the infamous Beeching Cuts, which resulted in thousands of miles of railway line closures across the UK.
Those cuts included the rest of the Formartine and Buchan Railway, which formerly linked Aberdeen by rail all the way north to Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
Today, the former train tracks form the Formartine and Buchan Way, a cherished route for cyclists, horse-riders and walkers.
But north-east MSP Liam Kerr, of the Scottish Conservatives, and Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin, of the SNP, say they want to see trains taking passengers once again from Aberdeen to Ellon.
Tories and SNP join forces
The pair have joined forces to arrange a discussion with transport minister Graeme Dey, to help get plans for a reopening on track, and on the table.
Both the MSPs argued that rail travel will be a key part of Scotland realising its carbon-cutting ambitions.
Mr Kerr said: “Rail travel is an important part of how we decarbonise transport and meet our climate change obligations.
“For that ambition to become a reality, the rail network needs to grow and services need to expand.
“A huge part of that is opening up access to Aberdeen, reducing the need for commuting by car.
“I think getting the Buchan line from Dyce to Ellon reopened is realistic and achievable.
“It does require political will and joined-up thinking by the Scottish Government.
“The likes of Aberdeen City Council’s excellent hydrogen bus scheme has shown the north-east can lead the way in promoting sustainable travel.
“We need a sign that the government will help develop the infrastructure to make this possible.
“To that end, we are meeting the minister responsible to make the case.”
‘Call for rail improvements’
And the SNP’s Ms Martin added: “For the past five years I have called for improved rail infrastructure in the north-east and in particular the expansion of rail from Dyce to Ellon.
“Improving our rail infrastructure is not only good for the economy but hugely important when we are considering our net-zero commitment by 2045.
“I know there is a huge groundswell of support for improved rail infrastructure and it’s why I am really pleased that my colleague Liam Kerr and I have been able to work cross-party on this issue.
“I know we both share the same determination to ensure the voices of our constituents are heard by the Scottish Government and this is an issue that we are both committed to putting forward.”
A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said the Scottish Government is currently reviewing transport projects across the country.
She said: “The ongoing Strategic Transport Projects Review comprises a nationwide transport appraisal, which is being undertaken on a regional basis to ensure the review benefits from the local knowledge of stakeholders and communities to identify the needs of the strategic transport network in their regions and how these can be addressed.
“The review is considering a range of proposals including the potential to expand the rail network in the north-east, to the benefit of both passenger and freight users, via new and/or reinstated railway lines.”