Hopes raised of Keith to Dufftown line rejoining rail network

Mr Lochhead with Transport Scotland officials and Railway Association members
Mr Lochhead with Transport Scotland officials and Railway Association members

TRANSPORT SCOTLAND OFFICIALS have been on a visit to Moray where they had a first-hand look at the potential offered by the local Keith and Dufftown Railway.

That could include the private line being reconnected with the main rail network – helping to ease the path for rail travellers visiting both the historic line and Speyside communities along its route.

The call has come from Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead, who took time out join Transport Scotland on a journey along the ‘whisky railway’ operated by the Keith and Dufftown Railway Association.

Originally opened in 1862 the line was closed by British Rail in 1991, the line has been restored and providing a service between the Moray towns thanks to the Association which was formed in 1993 and depends entirely on volunteers.

Now Transport Scotland has agreed to share the Associations’ aspirations and will consider potential future opportunities – with Mr Lochhead following up Monday’s meeting with a request that he be kept informed of any progress made.

The MSP said: “It was great to join Keith and Dufftown Railway Association members and Transport Scotland officials on what was a fascinating 11 mile train journey from Keith to Dufftown.

“It was a wonderful way to see the picturesque scenery and a novelty to experience the train draw to a halt to allow deer to cross the line.  The Railway operates regularly from April to September and the Association, run by volunteers, lay on some fantastic special events such as a Ghost Train around Halloween and the Santa train in December.

“Having been on the railway I am unsurprised that the Association report an increasing turnover and their aspirations to expand are exciting both for the railway and tourism in Moray.  The volunteers are doing a great job of maintaining and promoting the Railway and they are now seeking reconnection to the main line.

“That would put their tourism potential through the roof because, if successful, it would allow tourists and locals to dismount the mainline rail service at Keith and board the Keith to Dufftown Railway.

“With wildlife, beautiful scenery, distilleries and castles, there really is a lot to be seen and I’m sure the Railway will go from strength to strength.

“I’ll certainly be visiting again soon to take my family along for a fun afternoon out and I look forward to hearing about what happens next for the Railway.”