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Strathspey steam railway plans on track for green light

By SPP Reporter

Plans to extend the track to Grantown will be heard by the CNPA's planning committee
Plans to extend the track to Grantown will be heard by the CNPA's planning committee

The Strathspey Steam Railway is set to remain on track in its bid to re-connect Aviemore and Grantown by loco.

Members of the Cairngorms National Park Authority’s planning committee are being recommended to approve the latest work to extend the railway towards Grantown.

The proposal is to relay track from the River Dulnain crossing for around 1.7 kilometres leading east past Ballintomb Farm to Lower Gaich Farm, in the Dulnain Bridge area.

Strathspey Steam Railway boss David Fraser has submitted the application which will be considered by the committee tomorrow (Friday) in Boat of Garten Community Hall.

CNPA planner Katherine Donnachie states: "This application seeks full planning permission to relay tracking on the former railway line to enable the continued extension of the Strathspey railway from Aviemore leading eastwards towards Grantown . . .

"The River Dulnain bridge is nearing completion and this current application represents the next stage of the on-going works to extend the railway line.

"Part of this former railway line is currently used as a farm access (around Ballintomb Farm) so the planned works also include proposals for a revised farm access route to allow access to the fields there together with provision of crossing areas. The new access tracks are proposed at a width of around seven metres which will facilitate use by farm machinery.

"The remaining track leading eastwards to Lower Gaich Farm is not used at present and is in a redundant condition having returned to natural use."

The SRC has submitted a short supporting statement outlining their work to date on refurbishing the railway line and stations at Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill.

Ms Donnachie states: "They explain that the current application is for the next logical extension from the Dulnain River to the Gaich crossing (of the A95 road), and is a simple straight section.

"Once completed it will enable the Strathspey railway to service the future construction of the Gaich crossing without having to use private roads or land."

The railway company is also currently working on a TAWS order application which will ultimately allow them to run the railway to the Strathspey capital.

Recommending full planning approval for the application, Ms Donnachie concludes: "Overall, the application is welcome as part of the ongoing steps towards the continued improvement of public access as well as enhancing the already popular visitor experience associated with the Strathspey railway line, and thus securing economic benefits for the wider area."

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