BUSINESSES and locals have pledged their support to plans to bring back rail links to Scotland's north east after the second virtual meeting of SNP MSP Karen Adam's “Making the Most of the Coast: Tourism Forum”.

The Forum aims to bring together a variety of local businesses and organisations from the Banffshire and Buchan Coast to boost and sustain tourism across the area. 

Adam has been vocal in her support of bringing rail back to Peterhead and Fraserburgh and has described the prospect as “realistic” so long as it gets enough backing. 

She has previously vowed to do “everything I can” to bring rail links back to the area following a cross-party meeting on June 24 with the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth. 

READ MORE: Karen Adam says she will do 'everything I can' to bring rail to Peterhead and Fraserburgh

Stakeholders of Adam’s Forum welcomed leaders of the Campaign for North East Rail (CNER). 

Adam said: “The Campaign for North East Rail has set out clear proposals for how we can achieve bringing rail back to Peterhead and Fraserburgh, and I am fully supportive of this initiative. 

“It’s made the idea of rail an achievable and realistic prospect for the towns and surrounding areas but it’s important as many of us are vocal in our support of this to showcase there is public demand.”

The MSP confirmed she will be hosting a public meeting on Wednesday August 10 in Peterhead at the Rescue Hall.

She continued: “The benefits of rerailing the North East are multifaceted, bringing freight off roads, reducing road damage, congestion and traffic which in turn will reduce road accidents. 

“The tourism potential alone is transformational. By connecting a large part of the North East this will open up our beautiful coastline to so many more travellers looking to spend money and see the best of what Scotland has to offer – but not only that – of course rail works both ways.

“Therefore, the people living and working here will also benefit from the easy access to the rest of the country’s rail network and the benefits of accessibility that will bring.”

Attendees at the meeting were able to pose questions to CNER on the viability of the campaign and the benefits it would bring to the area. 

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Chair of Peterhead community council Sharon Bradford said: “As the largest town in Aberdeenshire, and in Scotland without rail links, it is hugely disappointing that in 2022, we remain disconnected from the rest of Scotland in terms of rail infrastructure. 

“The benefits of re-establishing rail links would be widespread, not only for tourism, but for industry and also in terms of accessibility.

“We continually hear that Peterhead and Fraserburgh are key priorities for regeneration – let’s see that translate to become a reality.”

Chair of the Broch Business Together Association and newsagents owner Ainsley Dyga admitted she was initially “sceptical about the rail link” but that she is now feeling “more positive”. 

Dyga said: “At first I was very sceptical about the rail link thinking it was a very pie in the sky idea which would never happen but after being on the meeting last week I’m more positive this will go forward. 

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“I couldn’t see how they could rerail an area and where they would find the money. The speakers were very good at listening to thoughts and ideas and will take on board things that were put to them. 

“It will provide a greater reach for the public and along with improved transportation links will open up a whole new avenue of tourists for the area.

“There will need to be things put in place for this to happen and there will be disruption but I think the bigger goal is definitely worth it.”