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Elgin’s transport system about to face its ‘greatest test’

Elgin Community Council chairman Alistair Kennedy
Elgin Community Council chairman Alistair Kennedy

A community leader in Elgin believes the town’s transport system is about to face its biggest test for years.

The railway level crossing in the town will close next month for 10 days to allow improvement works to be done.

Yesterday Network Rail insisted it has “no option” but to reroute traffic over the New Elgin Road bridge during that time.

Traffic going over the bridge, which is one of the main routes from the north to the south of the town, can already get congested at peak times.

Proposals to build another crossing over the railway in Elgin were scrapped last year when the council aborted plans to build a Western Link Road.

Last night, Alistair Kennedy, chairman of Elgin Community Council, feared the consequences of that decision will now be felt.

He said: “We could have been at the point of almost having a new bridge now. This is when we would have seen the real advantages of it.

“If anything happens to the current bridge then the effects are felt all over the town, everything gets backed up. This will be a big test for the system.”

Network Rail is spending £80million in Moray to upgrade tracks, stations and signals as part of wider improvements between Aberdeen and Inverness.

Nearly a mile of extra double-track will be added in Elgin to allow services to cross each other in a bid to reduce journey times.

However, work now needs to be done to excavate the current level crossing to lay the foundations for the improvements.

Network Rail’s communications manager, Stacey Macdonald, said: “There’s only one track at the level crossing at the moment, we want to change that to two.

“We need to dig down pretty deep for the work with some large machinery. It’s just not possible for us to do it without a full closure.”

Once the works are completed, trains will start arriving at the new train station in Forres.

The Wards level crossing will be closed from 11.50pm on Friday, October 6 until 5am on Tuesday, October 17. The footbridge at the train station will be closed for the same time.

Traffic will be diverted along Wards Road, Edgar Road and New Elgin Road during the disruption.

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