Rail improvements ‘remove main platform’ for new link road

Elgin Station

Campaigners seeking to halt plans for the multi-million pound west approach road in Elgin say that the argument for the project has been undermined by national rail plans to reduce congestion.

Scotrail has announced plans to automate the crossing at Elgin Station, greatly reducing the waiting time for road traffic held up there – and according to members of the Designing Streets Action Group that removes the need for a planned road bridge over the railway.

The bridge is a key component in the plans to link the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road with Elgin’s Edgar Road retail park.

“For safety reasons the railway between Elgin and Nairn operates using a system where the train driver has to stop and physically hand over a token to the station master,” leading campaign member Jim Wiseman said.

He added: “The fact that the system is going to be automated will obviously speed things up hugely – therefore cars will no longer have to wait anywhere near as long for the gates to open up again.

“That is going to ease congestion in the town. We have long argued that the link road is a costly waste of money and this is just another reason why it is not needed.”

While the convener of Moray Council, Stewart Cree, has argued that the link road is required to provide better links to the retail park and so attract big-name stores to Elgin, campaigners point to the continuing demise of Elgin City Centre and efforts to increase footfall there.

Scotrail’s upgrades at Elgin Station were announced as part of their £170million work on the Aberdeen to Inverness line. The existing line between Elgin and Nairn is one of the few single-line stretches in Scotland that still operates a token system.

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