Campaign to re-open Newtonhill Railway Station steps up a gear

CAMPAIGNERS calling for the re-opening of Newtonhill railway station have stepped up their fight, following the Scottish elections and the government reshuffle.

A petition signed by nearly half of the households in the Kincardineshire community has been sent to newly-reappointed Transport Minister Keith Brown.

And letters have been sent to every North-east regional MSP and to the new constituency MSP asking them to back the campaign.

Nestrans, the Transport Partnership for Aberdeen City and Shire, is also being approached. The body has long had an ambition for a Crossrail commuter rail service in the Aberdeen area, which would include new and re-opened stations such as Kintore and Newtonhill.

However, the government’s transport arm has previously turned its back on the Crossrail scheme. Transport Scotland’s priority is shorter journey times from Aberdeen to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

A spokesman for the Newtonhill campaigners said: “We are not disheartened by the stand previously taken by Transport Scotland.

“Hopefully our new MSPs will respond positively and put pressure on the Scottish Government to invest in a rail service fit for the 21st century.”

Local councillor Ian Mollison announced the proceedings at last week’s meeting of the Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore community council. He added: “The campaign has been run by young people in the village, and I pay tribute to them. They have collected more than 600 signatures.

“A station at Newtonhill - with more trains stopping at Portlethen too - makes sense. Aberdeen must be one of the few city conurbations in the country that does not have a commuter rail service.”

Community councillors at the meeting also agreed to name a street in the new Cairnhill development after local man Dr Michael Tunstall, who died recently.

Dr Tunstall, who was in his 80s, was an anaesthetist and was renowned in his field for introducing entonox (more commonly known as gas and air) as a method of pain relief for women in labour.

Cllr Mollison said: “Dr Tunstall was a remarkable man, and in my view he should have been given a knighthood. He could have been a very wealthy man but he refused to patent the idea as he worked for the NHS -- which he strongly believed in.

“He was a very unassuming man who was just happy to have the respect of his peers in the medical field.”

Community councillors agreed unanimously to name the street Michael Tunstall Street or Michael Tunstall Place, with the final decision resting with the developers.

The tennis courts at the Bettridge centre could be in line for a revamp, after community councillor Michael Morgan told the meeting that he had been gathering views on what was wanted by the local community.

He said: “After speaking to people around the village, it has been agreed that we want a new, painted hard surface, two nets for tennis courts and two netball courts, with basket ball hoops and also a single netball hoop where the girls can practice while others play on the court.

“I’m now going to go away and get four estimates for the cost of the work. I don’t think anyone wants it to be disturbed in the summer so it is likely to be autumn before it starts.”