A new rail link in Scotland could deliver an ‘economic boom’ in the north-east, with MSPs also claiming it could reduce fatal accidents on roads.

MSPS claim a new rail link connecting Aberdeen with Fraserburgh via Peterhead would deliver an economic boost, while saving lives due to less people travelling on one of Scotland’s deadliest roads.

It comes as a new feasibility study is published by Campaign for Nroth East Rail (CNER, and the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC), and finds a new link would also support new jobs in the area.

The Buchan Sustainable Transport Study sets out options for a new rail line which would help address economic inequality in the region’s most deprived communities in Peterhead and Fraserburgh with business leaders backing the proposal to extend the East Coast line to both towns. 

The study suggests a new line would also reduce serious and fatal accidents on the A90 North and A952 roads by 75 per cent while also supporting the Scottish Government’s goals to prevent fatal crashes outright by 2050

The findings come hot on the heels of the opening of the Levenmouth rail link, following a multi-million-pound Scottish Government investment – leaving Peterhead and Fraserburgh as the two largest towns in the UK furthest from the rail network.

MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Karen Adam said: "Rerailing the North East will save lives and pave the way for more prosperous livelihoods. From CCUS projects to wind farms, the Northeast is leading Scotland's efforts towards net zero.

"However, the A90 northbound is statistically one of the deadliest roads in Scotland with HGV levels on roads consistently high every hour of every day of the working week.

"Reconnecting Fraserburgh and Peterhead to the railway would allow many of these HGV movements to be transferred to the rails, resulting in cleaner air, fewer emissions, safer roads and further economic growth opportunities.


"The Buchan Sustainable Transport Study has found that rerailing Fraserburgh and Peterhead could reduce 75% of serious or fatal accidents on the road and support Scottish Government goals to prevent these outright by 2050. 

"As a supporter of the Campaign for North East Rail since the beginning, I have long raved about the economic, educational, health and social benefits of this campaign in the Scottish Parliament and will continue my calls to bring back rail to the North East and reconnect our coast."

The new line would serve passengers with stops at Dyce, Newmachar, Ellon, Cruden Bay, alongside options for two freight spurs at St Fergus and Peterhead, and potential for new alignment to be created for a stop at Pitmedden.

First Minister John Swinney during a visit to meet project leads and apprentices working on the Levenmouth Rail Link First Minister John Swinney during a visit to meet project leads and apprentices working on the Levenmouth Rail Link (Image: PA)

The study also reports that job opportunities in Peterhead and Fraserburgh would increase by 40 per cent, increasing the labour market in the wider region by 65 %.

The cost of the project would be determined through a follow-up detailed options appraisal, which campaigners are now calling on government to bring forward.  

Jordan Jack, General Secretary of CNER, said: "This study has shown us that extending the East Coast Line northwards and maintaining the Formartine and Buchan Way as a cycle path is feasible and would be transformative for North-east Scotland.

“Evidence from this report underlines what locals live and experience every day: poor transport links are stifling our potential, damaging access to healthcare, and limiting job opportunities in the region.

“As this report attests, Fraserburgh and Peterhead are among the most deprived settlements in Aberdeenshire, and reconnection to the rail network will drastically improve people's economic fortunes, health outcomes, education and social inclusion."

Russell Borthwick, Chief Executive of the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, added: “This report shows the scale of what’s possible – and as we’ve seen recently with Levenmouth and right here in the North-east with the AWPR, this vision can become a reality with the political will to make it happen.

“This link could reverse economic inequality and deliver a boost to Buchan, turbocharging its net zero, food and drink and tourism offerings. In addition, it could drastically reduce emissions from passenger and freight transport.

“I urge all key decisionmakers and political representatives to get behind this vast opportunity for our region.”