Rail services boost for Mearns

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes
ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes

ScotRail has announced timetable improvements which are set to give a significant boost to the Mearns.

An hourly service in each direction from Aberdeen to Montrose will be introduced on December 9.

It will call at Portlethen, Stonehaven and Laurencekirk.

The introduction of high-speed trains and new class 385 electric trains, as well as major infrastructure improvements such as the electrification of the Stirling-Dunblane-Alloa route, will allow the delivery of the enhanced timetable across the country.

ScotRail said it will mean faster journeys, more seats, and more services for its customers.

North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison said: “This investment is long overdue and is most welcome.

“Although passenger numbers at Portlethen have risen notably over the years, I hope this significant increase in the number of trains stopping in the town will see more and more residents taking the train.

“With Kintore railway station reopening next year, the aim must surely be to have more local stations such as Newtonhill, Cove and Altens. And maybe Aberdeen Airport?

“We should be making the most of the railway line and getting people into trains and off the roads.”

Some of the key local changes include: a new hourly Aberdeen to Montrose service, providing a minimum of an hourly service at Laurencekirk, Stonehaven, and Portlethen; a new hourly local service between Montrose and Aberdeen calling at Laurencekirk, Stonehaven and Portlethen; daily services at Laurencekirk increase from 24 to 40; daily services at Stonehaven rise from 50 to 71; daily services at Portlethen increase from 20 to 41.

More than 5,000 additional seats each day will be introduced into the corridor.

The announcement also covered the first phase of new Aberdeen cross rail service, which will run to Inverurie by end of 2019.

Further timetable improvements will be delivered in May and December, 2019.

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes said: “The improvements we are making to our timetable from December mean ScotRail has reached another milestone as we build the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“This is just the first phase of the work we are doing to deliver for our customers over the next year.

“The investment the ScotRail Alliance is making to electrify more lines and introduce new and upgraded trains means we will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and more services for our customers.”

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “These changes mark the first significant phase of timetable improvements on Scotland’s railways with £475 million being invested in rolling stock during this franchise, introducing faster, longer, greener trains.”