A Kincardineshire councillor has welcomed major changes to rail services across the North East, with its promise of a commuter service in the Aberdeen area.
This follows confirmation from transport minister Derek Mackay that there will be significant investment in the network.
North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison commented: “There is good news about our local stations at Laurencekirk, Stonehaven and Portlethen, but also some not-so-good news.
“The upside is that from 2018 an hourly local commuter service is promised, stopping at all stations between Montrose and Inverurie. These plans mean that passengers will be able to travel between Laurencekirk, Stonehaven and Portlethen which is not possible at present.
“It also opens up the possibility of more stations being opened. I will continue to press for Newtonhill to be on that list.
“The downside of the announcement is that the limited stop trains to the central belt will no longer stop at Portlethen. Passengers will need to take a local service and then change.
“The inter-city services will be provided by refurbished high speed rolling stock retired from the Great Western Railway. These 40-years-old trains are promised to be fully upgraded before coming north although reliability issues have plagued travellers in South West England on these trains for a decade.
“There should be greater capacity and comfort than on the existing services.
“I welcome this change of heart from the Scottish Government to provide more local services.
“If all the proposals are put into effect, then the North East will have a best service it has had since Dr Beeching took his axe to local lines.”