Local councillors have welcomed the news that a new Scottish Government fund could lead to the reopening of Newtonhill railway station, along with others across the country.
The £30million programme of improvements for railway stations across Scotland was announced by Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Housing and Transport.
North Kincardine councillors Ian Mollison and Paul Melling are urging North East transport partnership Nestrans to press for Newtonhill and Kintore stations being included in the government’s list.
Cllr Mollison said: “This is great news. These local stations would be well used – as long as enough trains stop! Portlethen station has suffered from a poor service from ScotRail.
“Hopefully a fresh look at rail services around Aberdeen will see that more stations and services will take the pressure off our roads, and be better for the environment. The North East should be a priority.”
Cllr Melling said: “Unfortunately the funding will not become available for two years, but nonetheless this is a step in the right direction.
“Laurencekirk station, the new Alloa line and the Airdrie-Bathgate line have exceeded expectations since re-opening. They were all planned by the previous Liberal Democrat – Labour coalition Scottish Government.”
Nearly 70 stations have been added to the Scottish network within the past 30 years, which now totals 350 stations. New stations cost around £2.5m-£3.5m to open.
North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes has also called on the Transport Minister to consider Newtonhill as a priority for the £30million fund to open new stations on Scotland’s railway network.
Mrs McInnes said: “More investment in our railway network is to be welcomed, and I believe the North East should be a priority. The overwhelming success of Laurencekirk station shows that there is a great appetite to use train services when they are readily accessible.
“The fund represents a golden opportunity for the government to finally make some progress. Newtonhill residents have also been fighting for years to have their station re-opened.
“Both are already included in the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan.
“Discussions with the government in the past have always focused on the number of passengers who might use a new station – but recent examples show that they continually under-estimate the potential. I am calling on Ministers to get on board now with a better local train service for Aberdeenshire.”