Move to open new stations gathers pace

Calls have been increasing for the reopening of Newtonhill station
Calls have been increasing for the reopening of Newtonhill station

North-east transport body Nestrans is seeking funding to assess plans for new train stations south of Aberdeen.

In a report going before members of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services on Thursday, Nestrans has said it is submitting a bid to the Transport Scotland Local Rail Development Fund to examine potential sites between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk.

The funding would allow the group to work with local councils on station options to be included in the developing Regional Transport Strategy.

Laurencekirk began successfully operating again in 2009.

The former Newtonhill station shut in 1956 after 100 years of operation.

Calls to re-open the station have been growing as the number of houses locally – in particular at the Chapelton of Elsick development – have increased.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, along with Conservative party colleague Liam Kerr, a North East Region MSP, has been supportive of the idea of the re-opening of Newtonhill.

Mr Bowie wrote to constituents to gauge backing for the initiative, and received more than 100 responses.

The MP said: “It is clear to me that there is growing support for the re-opening of Newtonhill railway station.

“There will be more than 10,000 new houses as part of the Chapelton of Elsick development alone.

“Even with the opening of the AWPR, that still makes a strong case for an extra station.”

He added: “The re-opening of Laurencekirk in 2009 has been an unqualified success, and I believe we would see a similar positive response from travellers to Newtonhill.

“I will continue to make the case for more infrastructure improvements in the North-east – and I am pleased to see Nestrans pushing ahead with these plans.”