Fresh hope for train users

Residents of Portlethen could see a rise in the number of trains stopping in the area if ScotRail take on comments by train users and local councillors.

The train company held a forum on Wednesday evening which was well attended by local residents. The forum gave those who use trains the opportunity to discuss with ScotRail officials any concerns they have over the current service operating in the area and what improvements could be made.

Questions from those attending were raised about the complicated fare structure which penalises users of local stations meaning they pay over the odds to travel only a short distance, compared to what would be paid to travel further afield.

The issue was also brought up of the poor customer service often received at Aberdeen Train Station and commented that they would also make far more use of the local rail network if trains were more suitably timetabled.

In Portlethen for example, there are three early morning trains to Aberdeen. One is at 6.50am, the next at 7.59am and then 8.31am. Many of which would be fine for someone starting at 9am. However after that there is not one until after 11am, and the next at almost 8pm. This has proved frustrating for those wanting to travel from Portlethen to Aberdeen outwith rush hour.

However, Portlethen commuters were given some grounds for optimisn when Jerry Farquharson, Head of Planning and Development for ScotRail, admitted “the service at Portlethen is poor” and revealed that discussions are currently ongoing to improve the service and he’s “actively looking at” more trains stopping at Portlethen.

In addition, Sean Duffy, Commercial Director of ScotRail, said “Portlethen is under consideration for the next roll out of ticket machines” which have been long in demand.

Councillor Alison Evison commented “The current poor service at Portlethen Station is a regular complaint throughout North Kincardine. I was pleased to hear at the Customer Forum that steps are being considered to improve the service and to meet customer need more effectively. We need to continue to push to make these a reality.”