Page last updated at 00:30 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Steam rail line plans discussed

Strathspey Railway line
The trust hopes to restore a line closed in the 1960s

Plans are being stepped up to connect Aviemore to Grantown-on-Spey in the Highlands by steam railway.

At a public meeting, locals and politicians gathered to launch a fundraising campaign which aims to raise £5m so the new line can be built.

The Strathspey steam railway currently runs 10 miles from Aviemore to Broomhill.

However, the volunteers who run the railway have long wanted to extend it a further three miles to Grantown.

To do that a tunnel allowing it to cross the main road needs to be built, along with the restoration of the former Grantown West station.

The cost would be £5m and now a charitable trust has been set up to help raise the money.

The project has cross-party political support.

The project aims to restore a stretch of line closed in 1965 following a report on railways by Dr Richard Beeching.

The trust claims bringing the railway into Grantown would generate significant economic benefits to the area.

The railway has the backing of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Highland Council and the Cairngorm National Park Authority.

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