Why Scotland’s North-east railway line, from Aberdeen through Fraserburgh to Peterhead, should be re-opened


According to the Evening Express, the SNP Economy Secretary, said:

‘Transport Scotland is also currently reviewing work that Nestrans has undertaken to consider the other options for transport improvements north of Aberdeen as part of their Fraserburgh and Peterhead transport study.’

While I’m sure that doing a local feasibility study is the thing to do, the evidence from re-opening the Borders Railway in September 2015 has been shown already to have had major benefits for both Midlothian and Borders regions:

• The number of visitor days in hotels and bed and breakfasts has risen by 27 per cent
• A 20 per cent rise in visitor spend on food and drink
• Visitor spend on accommodation is up 17 per cent
• A 16 per cent rise in overall visitor spend
• The number of days visitors stayed in the Borders has increased by almost 11 per cent
• Eight per cent increase in employment related to tourism

• A 12.3 per cent rise in the number of visitor days in hotels and bed and breakfasts compared with first six months of 2015
• Visitor spend on food and drink in same period rose by 6.5 per cent
• Overall visitor spend was up 6.8 per cent
• The number of days visitors stayed in Midlothian increased by 7.2 per cent
• A 4.1 per cent improvement in employment related to tourism.



Perhaps we should also be thinking of the ‘Deeside’ from Aberdeen to Ballater? Surely that’d be a winner?  Any other suggestions readers?


14 thoughts on “Why Scotland’s North-east railway line, from Aberdeen through Fraserburgh to Peterhead, should be re-opened

  1. David Howdle November 5, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    The line from Dumfries to Stranraer!


  2. Scott November 5, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    Well remember when that line was open goods and fish wagons leaving I well remember a great sight at 5 am one Sunday of over 5 hundred pigeons from south of the border being released,memories,memories.


  3. bedelsten November 5, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    The title is slightly incorrect in that it should be ‘from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh and Peterhead’. The line from Aberdeen (actually Dyce) splits at Maud with one line going to Peterhead and another to Fraserburgh. The Sustrans report also noted that dual-carriaging from Ellon to Peterhead / Fraserburgh would be less expensive (the environmental impact was ignored). At the height of the off-shore oil boom, late 1970s perhaps, renewing the line was being seriously considered as big oil pipes had to be offloaded from rail at Aberdeen and shipped by road to Peterhead.

    The Aberdeen to Ballater line should never have been closed. If open it would now be a major tourist line, probably with heritage steam trains, as well as extending the commuting limits up royal Deeside – maybe that is why it was closed.


  4. johnrobertson834 November 5, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    Ooops. Lack of local knowledge. Re Deeside – keep the peasants away but allow plenty pheasants?


  5. Alasdair Macdonald November 6, 2017 / 8:52 am

    Ah, the line to Fraserburgh! I remember going all that way on a school camp in 1957! It would be good to reopen it, In addition to those mentioned, the St Andrew’s link would be a good one. And, of course Glasgow’s Crossrail has been talked about for many years, so it could be considered, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Scott November 6, 2017 / 9:14 am

    Another memory of the Broch was the time of the Glasgow Fair the links was full of caravans and tents and the toon was full of happy holiday makers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Moonlight November 8, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    I never unserstood why this line was closed at the very start of the oil boom. Practically, reopen the line from Ellon to Aberdeen, with a large car park for park and ride. Run these trains through to Stonehaven, taking in a large number of the industrial estates. Reopen Banchory to Aberdeen and run the trains through to Inverurie or Insch.. Interchange, scheduled at Aberdeen between the two routes.

    My pet gripe, sitting in the train watching Edinburgh airport sail by, continue to Haymarket and take a bus to the airport. A simple halt, enough for one or twp coaches and a shuttle bus is all that is required here, no need for fancy schemes. Passengers can easily preposition on the instructions of the guard for disembarcation.

    Run through trains from Aberdeen/Inverness to Prestwick, the lines through Glasgow exist already. Boost the scotgov owned airport with APD free long haul flights.

    Me thinks we need a state railway charging affordable fares to achieve these ends.


  8. ebreah November 11, 2017 / 4:32 am


    If you want to go through a head-bangs-desk session, I’d suggest you have a look at this website:


    The utter folly/stupidity that was the Beeching Axe can be fully appreciated there. My god the lost opportunities (head-bangs-desk).



    • ebreah November 11, 2017 / 5:02 am

      Notwithstanding the devolution settlement, expansion of railway network/travel can be feasible in Scotland:

      1. It must be public owned in order to remove rapacious profit-making element; most state owned companies in Europe charge about 10-20 euro/100km railway travel.
      2. Double-tracking and electrification of lines.
      3. Reestablishing old railway lines (as per the discussion above and many other disused lines)
      4. Cheap (renewable) electric energy source to power the the trains (state railway company can diversify into energy venture in order to guarantee supply)
      5. Guaranteed ridership by establishing social housing near/around the railway stations (especially the outlying ones).
      6. Establishing plans for SMEs together with the social housing schemes (ie small scale high-tech indoor farming).
      7. Creating new lines to areas previously with no railway link (one line that got parliamentary approval but failed to materialised was the Garve-Ullapool branch line, another proposed one was the Hebridean Light Railway Company)


      • ebreah November 11, 2017 / 5:04 am

        Apologies for the rant, this is my pet peeve because of the sheer stupidity of shortsightedness inflicted upon Scotland and rail travel in general in the UK.


  9. Iain November 13, 2017 / 11:25 am

    A few lines need to be reopened such as Glasgow Crossrail is essential not only for travel within the city but to link north and south services nationally; Dumfries – Stranraer; Aberdeen – Fraserburgh/Peterhead; and Leuchars – St Andrews. An extension of the Alloa line to link up with Fife passenger services would help to extend the rail network. It would be good to imagine that Stirling – Crianlarich – Oban could reopen but probably not realistic.

    Apart from reopening lines, closed stations on existing lines should be reopened as has been happening north of Inverness and planned for the Inverness – Aberdeen improved line.

    More could be made of the scenic lines to run more tourist trains based on the Swiss examples of the Glacier Express, Bernina Express and so on, with audio guides, lunch and snack service, souvenirs, etc. Tourists are attracted to Switzerland because of these journeys and there is no reason to imagine Scotland would be any different, given the right marketing and political will.

    At one time there was a railway line from Aviemore down through Speyside to Elgin. Not only has that line and all its stations gone, but there is no longer a bus service along the route. The stupidity of the Beecham era has led to a decline in the quality of life for ordinary people in rural/semi-rural areas and an over-reliance on private cars. I suppose that’s another benefit of the Great British way of life.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s