One step closer for Newtonhill railway station?

The railway line at Newtonhill.
The railway line at Newtonhill.

The re-opening of Newtonhill railway station has moved a step closer, according to a report being considered today (Thursday).

The report, which will go before the North East of Scotland Transport Partnership Nestrans, updates board members on the inaugural meeting of a North East Rail Forum in Aberdeen. It was attended by ScotRail, Network Rail, Transport Scotland, Nestrans, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council the chamber of commerce, and the Scottish Association for Public Transport.

It also refers to the Scottish Government allocating £30m over five years to a fund for new and improved stations. The initial focus remains a new station at Kintore – due to open in 2019 – and transport interchange at Inverurie Station.

The report to Nestrans adds: “It was also suggested that preliminary work should be undertaken to ascertain the potential for further stations, including high level business cases, initially at Bucksburn/Persley and at Newtonhill to enable progress to a point where future bids could be made if a similar fund is available covering 2019-2026.”

Newtonhill resident, Councillor Ian Mollison, commented: “Although this seems a long way off, this is very encouraging. This will be first steps in re-opening the station. It takes many years from making the case to seeing trains stop in the village once again.

“There is a strong argument for giving residents an alternative to getting in cars to join long queues on the A90 at Bridge of Dee. Petition after petition has shown there is a demand for a station in Newtonhill. The success of Laurencekirk re-opening and the increasing numbers of people using Portlethen shows people like trains. Newtonhill station closed in 1956, and the building of the new town of Chapelton nearby only strengthens the case.”

The report to Nestrans also says that other station upgrades and proposals are being progressed.

He added; “It was announced at the Rail Forum meeting that a ticket vending machine will be implemented at Portlethen and that platform extensions are programmed for Insch, Portlethen and Stonehaven.

“Nestrans are also in discussion with local authorities and rail industry regarding enhancements to accessibility and potential for car park improvements at various stations.”