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Could the Formartine and Buchan line be reopened?

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Wynd

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Edited per request.

This line has long been discussed for reopening having only closed in the late 70s. Given this nearly all of the locum, at least out to Ellon, remains intact and well maintained. The two major obstacles to reopening is a remodelling of Dyce which was the junction between this and the Aberdeen-Inveness mainline and the redoubling of the track out of Aberdeen to the new Hutcheon St Junction through the Denburn and Hutcheon St tunnels.

IIRC Hawick used to be the furthest town from a railway connection. Now that the borders has reopened it is Peterhead. This amplifies the need to get on and reinstate this, and other, lines in the North East.




Ms Martin is keen to see a further commitment to the north-east ... to extend rail tracks 55 miles north to Peterhead, via Ellon and Fraserburgh, and 46 miles to Banff, via Turriff.

“Further rail links between Aberdeen and the north-east are essential in allowing commuters to travel with a wider range of options that do not simply include cars or buses,” she said.

“As the Scottish Government continues its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint it is vital areas like the north-east are considered in extending rail links further making the city more accessible for those who do not have a car.

“At the moment residents in my constituency and further north in Stewart Stevenson’s simply do not have enough public transport options for travelling into the city ...
 
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snakeeyes

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Edited per request.

This line has long been discussed for reopening having only closed in the late 70s. Given this nearly all of the locum, at least out to Ellon, remains intact and well maintained. The two major obstacles to reopening is a remodelling of Dyce which was the junction between this and the Aberdeen-Inveness mainline and the redoubling of the track out of Aberdeen to the new Hutcheon St Junction through the Denburn and Hutcheon St tunnels.

IIRC Hawick used to be the furthest town from a railway connection. Now that the borders has reopened it is Peterhead. This amplifies the need to get on and reinstate this, and other, lines in the North East.




I would like to see Crossrail, stations at Bucksburn, Tullos, Altens and Newtonhill as well as reopening the Buchan line.
 

Wynd

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I would like to see Crossrail, stations at Bucksburn, Tullos, Altens and Newtonhill as well as reopening the Buchan line.

Myself and others think this is precisely what needs to happen. An Aberdeen Crossrail service running from perhaps Stonehaven or Arbroath with half of the trains running through to Insch or Huntly and the other half going to Ellon/Peterhead/Fraserburgh serving all intermediate stations, Portlethen Laurencekirk, Newtonhill, Altens.

Bucksburn could be captured by a new station at Kittybrewster.
 

30907

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This Sassenach had never heard of the Formantine and Buchan line, but did know about the Peterhead branch. I gather these are one and the same?

The press report is garbled - is Maud to Fraserburgh included? And where does the line to Macduff/Banff, closed in 1951, fit in?

I can see the case for Peterhead, but Macduff?
 

hexagon789

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Indeed it is. Mods please correct spelling.
You can edit the thread title yourself

This Sassenach had never heard of the Formantine and Buchan line, but did know about the Peterhead branch. I gather these are one and the same?

The press report is garbled - is Maud to Fraserburgh included? And where does the line to Macduff/Banff, closed in 1951, fit in?

I can see the case for Peterhead, but Macduff?
The latest I'd heard was re-opening to Peterhead but nothing about Fraserburgh. And nothing, not even a whisper about Banff.

That wasn't all that long ago either.
 

PG

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IIRC Hawick used to be the furthest town from a railway connection. Now that the borders has reopened it is Peterhead.
I'd have thought that it is actually Fraserburgh as it is further away from Aberdeen than Peterhead.
The latest I'd heard was re-opening to Peterhead but nothing about Fraserburgh.
The excellent Signalling Record Society website lists the Maid - Peterhead branch as closing in 1970 whereas the line to Fraserburgh only closed in 1979 so I'd question if it'd be slightly easier to reopen the Fraserburgh line given that it closed 9 years later?
 

Wynd

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Yes, sorry. Thanks for the correction.

Past Ellon it gets a little more interesting as to what route might be best to take. Do you follow the A90, or do you follow the more westerly original alignment and get some of the rural traffic.

From what I have read the Macduff line was marginal from the day it was built to when it was closed and is possibly the last one on the list of candidate reopenings in Aberdeenshire.

If the reopening follows the original alignment then reopening the Macduff branch is less justifiable. If the new F&B goes along the A90 and up the coast then more of a case for Macduff can be made.

Map from Rail Map Online.

1608210098257.pngM
 
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hexagon789

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The excellent Signalling Record Society website lists the Maid - Peterhead branch as closing in 1970 whereas the line to Fraserburgh only closed in 1979 so I'd question if it'd be slightly easier to reopen the Fraserburgh line given that it closed 9 years later?
Not sure how much better a state the route is in, but I'd understood Peterhead was the aim as it's population is higher?

Though given the populations of places such as Reston that doesn't appear to matter
 

Cheshire Scot

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Fraserburgh stayed open longer than Peterhead because of the fish traffic despite Peterhead also being a major fishing port at that time.
Today Peterhead apparently has by far the biggest fish landings in the UK, with more than 4 times the volume of Fraserburgh which is in second place. Whatever happened to the traditional big hitters such as Hull, Grimsby and Fleetwood .

The route from Aberdeen via Maud to Peterhead is not very direct - 44miles compared with 32 miles by road, and you have to wonder whether Peterhead might be better served by the more direct former branch from Ellon to Boddam just four miles from Peterhead but which obviously closed much earlier.
Fraserburgh 47 miles by rail, 41 by road.
 

snakeeyes

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I have ran from Peterhead to Aberdeen a few times, not sure where you would build a station in Peterhead as the original has long been built over, but the alignment is clear apart from a minor road bridge at Mintlaw and at Maud.
From Maud south, a road realignment at Auchnagatt would have to be modified, but it's a pretty clear all the way to Dyce.
Certainly not the amount of work needed on the Borders Railway.
 

PG

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Past Ellon it gets a little more interesting as to what route might be best to take. Do you follow the A90, or do you follow the more westerly original alignment and get some of the rural traffic.

you have to wonder whether Peterhead might be better served by the more direct former branch from Ellon to Boddam just four miles from Peterhead but which obviously closed much earlier.
Another idea would be to follow the route of the Boddam branch from Ellon to around about the Toll of Birness, then build a new link roughly parallel with the general alignment of the A952 road to join up at RNAS Lenabo, thence along the old railway alignment to Longside and onto Peterhead.

I have ran from Peterhead to Aberdeen a few times, not sure where you would build a station in Peterhead as the original has long been built over
I'm assuming the original station in Peterhead was somewhere around the Queen Street area? If so the current site of Peterhead Academy is soon to be vacant as the Academy is to be relocated elsewhere in the town.
Indeed <D
 

Wynd

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After staring at the map for a while here are some options. There are lots of others, but here are some initial proposals.

Option A: Use most of the original layout with the section through Strichen realigned. Re use Maud Junction for Peterhead.££

Option B: Build a new line to the Longside Branch with a Triangle for Peterhead then another new line to Lonmay. The megabucks option ££££

Option C: Use the original layout entirely. The budget option. £

Option D: Use the Boddam Branch to TOB with Longside Triangle & new line to Lonmay per option B. Probably the second most expensive. £££

The issue with the Boddam branch is the development. Past TOB its difficult to see how the line could get though Peterhead and on to Fraserburgh.
 

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Bald Rick

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It would be new railway regardless. The cheapest options are likely to be the shortest.
 

lachlan

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I'd have thought that it is actually Fraserburgh as it is further away from Aberdeen than Peterhead.

The excellent Signalling Record Society website lists the Maid - Peterhead branch as closing in 1970 whereas the line to Fraserburgh only closed in 1979 so I'd question if it'd be slightly easier to reopen the Fraserburgh line given that it closed 9 years later?
Do you have a link to the website/calculations for this? I remember seeing one but can't find it now
 

Bald Rick

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Are you including land purchase costs, drainage, bridges etc etc in all of that....?

I don’t know the specifics. But I do know that, on average, new railways cost broadly the same whether they are on the line of old railways or not. Indeed there are examples where rebuilding on line costs more - demolishing and then rebuilding bridges, stations, embankments etc costs more than just building from new. .
 

oldchap

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I'm assuming the original station in Peterhead was somewhere around the Queen Street area? If so the current site of Peterhead Academy is soon to be vacant as the Academy is to be relocated elsewhere in the town.

The land fron the station was used for the academy and swimming pool.
 

PG

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Do you have a link to the website/calculations for this? I remember seeing one but can't find it now
Is this what you're looking for?
https://www.s-r-s.org.uk/railref/ref-go.html

The land fron the station was used for the academy and swimming pool.
Thanks for the confirmation of my suspicions, online there is a distinct lack of info on the whereabouts of the old Peterhead station.

I'm sure many Blue Touners would welcome the current Academy site be reopened as their railway station once the Academy moves out.
 
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47271

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It's the next most obvious Scottish reopening after Levenmouth regardless of the route, whether it's the old alignment or a new one is found.

But if Buchan gets major investment in infrastructure, which do we think is more likely: this, or dualling of the A90? Which will be more popular locally and attract the most political support?

I think I know the answer to that question, and on that basis we'll wait a while before there's any chance of a rail project.
 

PG

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It's the next most obvious Scottish reopening after Levenmouth regardless of the route, whether it's the old alignment or a new one is found.

But if Buchan gets major investment in infrastructure, which do we think is more likely: this, or dualling of the A90? Which will be more popular locally and attract the most political support?

I think I know the answer to that question, and on that basis we'll wait a while before there's any chance of a rail project.
Unless the local constabulary can get a handle on the motorists who don't accept that they need to adjust their driving once they reach the end of the dual-carriageway at Ellon then locals will favour dualling the rest of the A90 (and possibly A952).

On that basis I too think a restoration of the rail link is unlikely within my lifetime :(
 

lachlan

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It's the next most obvious Scottish reopening after Levenmouth regardless of the route, whether it's the old alignment or a new one is found.

But if Buchan gets major investment in infrastructure, which do we think is more likely: this, or dualling of the A90? Which will be more popular locally and attract the most political support?

I think I know the answer to that question, and on that basis we'll wait a while before there's any chance of a rail project.
The consultation for dualling the remainder of the A96 is out, and I've already filled out an opposal and suggested reinstating the railway instead. Fingers crossed
 

Tobbes

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I don’t know the specifics. But I do know that, on average, new railways cost broadly the same whether they are on the line of old railways or not. Indeed there are examples where rebuilding on line costs more - demolishing and then rebuilding bridges, stations, embankments etc costs more than just building from new. .
Which makes perfect sense. In the Ellon context, this would also tie into Ellon/Ellon Parkway and then on the Cruden Bay / Boddam direction and into Peterhead from the south. Does make a Fraserburgh reconnection harder though.
 

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After Levenmouth has reopened St Andrews from Leuchars is a no brainer then consider the rest around Aberdeen once the problems are sorted south of there.
 

Wynd

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After Levenmouth has reopened St Andrews from Leuchars is a no brainer then consider the rest around Aberdeen once the problems are sorted south of there.
Not quite following you here. Why do Fife lines prohibit progress in the North East?

Which makes perfect sense. In the Ellon context, this would also tie into Ellon/Ellon Parkway and then on the Cruden Bay / Boddam direction and into Peterhead from the south. Does make a Fraserburgh reconnection harder though.
Its very difficult to justify Peterhead from the south given the development. Especially when the existing alignment could be used. Hence why I made these proposals.




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