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Gillian Martin seeks meeting with Cabinet Secretary to discuss creating new rail line between Dyce and Ellon

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin.

Picture by Kenny Elrick     08/05/2021
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin. Picture by Kenny Elrick 08/05/2021

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has written to the new Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson to discuss extending the rail network in her constituency.

The SNP politician has been campaigning for a rail link between Dyce and Ellon for the last five years.

She is seeking a meeting with Mr Matheson to consider whether rail improvements to consider re-establishing a line.

In December, the Transport Secretary confirmed that a “number of interventions” have been identified in the north-east, including the possibility of a new rail line.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport arrives for the announcement of the new Cabinet by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House in Edinburgh.

Mr Matheson’s widened brief in Nicola Sturgeon’s new Cabinet means he now has  responsibility for the energy transition, prompting the Aberdeenshire East MSP to make renewed calls to create more sustainable travel options.

Improved transport links

Ms Martin said: “As we look towards a green recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic it is important we consider further rail options which would allow more people to commute and leave their cars at home.

“With our national ambition to reach net zero and connectivity being an important issue in the north-east, I feel the time has come to ensure we can make the area more accessible with improved transport links.

“The Scottish Government has shown previous commitment to considering this issue and I look forward to meeting with the Cabinet Secretary to discuss future consideration of how we improve transport options here in the north-east.”

The Formartine to Buchan rail link, which linked Dyce with Maud in Aberdeenshire and branched off to Fraserburgh and Peterhead, was closed as part of the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

Works to improve the historic Ellon Viaduct and sections of the popular Formartine and Buchan Way are scheduled to start on April 26.

The cuts were a reduction of route network and restructuring of the railways in Great Britain, following a plan outlined in two reports by engineer Dr Richard Beeching.

Ms Martin has long campaigned for the former rail link to be re-established to connect commuters between Dyce and Ellon.

‘Happy to discuss improvements’

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said new junior Transport Minister Grame Dey, who now has direct responsibility for rail services following the recent Cabinet reshuffle, would be “happy to discuss rail improvements in the north-east”.

The Scottish Government has committed £200 million towards enhancing the rail network between Aberdeen and the Central Belt and transport chiefs gave funding to redouble the line between Aberdeen and Inverurie.

However, the spokeswoman added there is “scope for more improvements” and the government is “always listening and open to considering affordable and economically beneficial ideas”.

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