The Stoney Express injected more than £200,000 into the local economy over a single toursim season, according to a recent assessment.
The economic impact assessment commissioned by the Stonehaven Town Partnership indicates that the ‘land train’ resulted in a net direct spend in Stonehaven of £234,135, and helped safeguard 4.3 tourism jobs over the 2014/ 2015 season.
Chair of the Stonehaven Town Partnership, David Fleming, explained the rationale behind comissioning the assessment. He said: “We had the assessment done because people wanted to know why we got the land train in the first place, and we heard some people saying that it didn’t bring any benefit to the town.
“We wanted our response to be based on facts and evidence, and this report proves that - both in terms of the fun and enjoyment it gives as well as to traders in the town.”
As well as the financial details, the report included a survey of passengers.
The general passenger feedback was nearly all positive, never getting more negative than, “Can’t hear the guide if you’re seated near the front,” or, “Only negative - wish the commentator would stop mentioning the Bervie Braes problem.”
The passenger feedback also revealed some demand for an extra carriage, and that the website could show more information about stops and times.
Fleming added: “The other reason is that we are applying for further funding, and the European Union will want to know that it is of economic benefit.”
The assessment was carried out by MKA Economics who used reviewed financial monitoring data, patronage records, and assumptions from secondary sources.