North-east transport partnership Nestrans has tabled a bid for funding to assess the potential for new rail station sites south of Aberdeen.
The move would also help to highlight the possibility of optimising a local cross-Aberdeen service.
The request has been submitted to the Scottish Government’s Local Rail Development Fund.
Councillor Peter Argyle, Nestrans chair, said: “If we are successful in our bid it would allow us to investigate suitable locations for potential new stations in Cove, Altens and Newtonhill as well as other options.
“The proposed project seeks to improve access to the rail network, thus enabling modal shift from road to rail, which would result in economic and environmental benefits.”
“With the growing population in the area this will be welcome news to the local residents.
“Nestrans and the local authorities have had long-standing plans to develop better rail services.”
Currently between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk, a stretch of around 32 miles, there are three stations in addition to Aberdeen itself.
The population of the area is around 69,000 (42,000 in Kincardine and Mearns and a further 27,000 in south Aberdeen).
Sites in the south of the city would be investigated due to the increasing population.
Between 2012 and 2017, the population of Kincardine and Mearns grew by 4.7%, making it one of the fastest growing areas in Aberdeenshire.
Nestrans has previously been successful in bid requests to the rail development fund.
North Kincardine Councillor Ian Mollison described it as “great news”.
He said: “I am confident that such a study would show the benefits of more commuter stations, especially now that we have regular trains calling at Montrose, Laurencekirk, Stonehaven, Portlethen and Aberdeen.
“New stations at Newtonhill, Cove, Altens and maybe other sites would be the icing on the cake.”