More and more people are using trains in Kincardineshire, according to figures from the North East transport partnership Nestrans.
In just one year - between 2009/10 and 2010/11 - patronage at Portlethen has grown by 21%, at Laurencekirk by 15%, and at Stonehaven by 9%. In comparison the number of passengers using Aberdeen and Dyce has risen by by 12%, at Inverurie by 18%, and at Huntly and Insch by 7% and 5% respectively.
The average growth in rail station usage across Scotland between 2009/10 and 2010/11 was just 4%.
North Kincardine Councillor Ian Mollison - who is a substitute member of the Nestrans board - commented: “There is an increasing demand for a dependable and frequent rail service in the North East. The recent timetable changes which see more trains stop at the three Kincardineshire stations are most welcome.
“Hopefully more people can let the train take the strain, with fewer cars on the roads. It is important that Portlethen residents in particular take advantage of the extra services that are stopping in the town.
“These figures strongly support the case for new stations at Kintore, Newtonhill, and elsewhere in the area. It looks as if the Scottish Government will go ahead with re-opening Kintore station. The next in line should be Newtonhill, particularly with major development planned for nearby Chapelton of Elsick.”