Rail link reopening proposal ‘on track’

Councillor Johnston, left, and Councillor Ford travelled the length of the former rail line to assess its condition
Councillor Johnston, left, and Councillor Ford travelled the length of the former rail line to assess its condition
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Two politicians seeking to re-establish a rail link beween Dyce and Ellon have inspected the 14-mile route for themselves.

Aberdeenshire councillors Martin Ford and Paul Johnston announced their campaign to reopen the disused line when the City Region investment and development deal was announced earlier this year.

On Monday, the pair cycled the section of the Formartine and Buchan Way to review the condition of the track bed for possible re-instatement and to highlight the benefits of their proposal.

The railway line is owned by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council, apart from a small section.

Councillor Johnston, who represents Mid-Formartine, conceded they were not experts but said nothing in their journey along the cycle-walk way would be a major obstacle to reopening the line.

He added: “I am more optimistic than ever that reopening is now a real possibility.

“We believe the City Region Deal offers the best prospect for taking rail re-opening to Ellon onwards from being an aspiration to making it a reality.”

It was announced in March that Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils are working with the private sector to develop a deal which could release billions of pounds for investment in a range of projects.

Councillor Ford, who represents East Garioch, said it was time to move forward with re-establishing the link.

He said: “Better public transport is essential to cut road congestion and reduce carbon emissions, in line with commitments to tackle climate change.

“Reinstating the railway would also offer significant economic development opportunities.”

Councillor Ford added: “Re-opening the line from Dyce to Ellon presents fewer difficulties than other recent rail re-openings. The land has not been sold off piecemeal.”

The councillors also said there appeared to be enough land along nearly the entire route to allow both a reinstated railway and a cycle-walkway to coexist without the need to buy additional ground.