MSP asks for update on Usan-Montrose rail improvements

Mairi Evans
Mairi Evans

Mairi Evans MSP has questioned the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP, asking for an update on the Usan-Montrose rail line improvements and also the processes required in the delivery of the junction upgrade to the A90 at Laurencekirk.

Upgrading the rail line between Usan and Montrose was announced as one of the projects that would be taken forward by the Scottish Government as part of plans to improve journey times between Aberdeen and the Central Belt. The move will increase capacity on the line which will benefit the whole of the North East region with an increase in capacity allowing more trains more frequently. Continued investment is essential, with this improvement a welcome one for the people of Angus North & Mearns, to meet the ever increasing demand from passengers and businesses to travel or move their goods by rail.

Mairi Evans MSP for Angus North and Mearns commented: “The one-and-a-half mile section of single track between Usan and the South Esk viaduct at Montrose Basin acts as a bottleneck, restricting improvements to train frequency and running times. I welcomed the announcement earlier this year that these improvements would be funded as a package alongside the Aberdeen City Region Deal because it is vital for the North East Region that this is looked at and addressed. That is why I have asked the Scottish Government for detail on these proposals to allow this vital project to progress.

“Also announced as part of the package of additional investment alongside the Aberdeen City Region Deal is the £24 million funding for the design and construction of a new grade separated junction at Laurencekirk. The Transport Minister Humza Yousaf recently announced that the earliest possible construction date for this work would be 2021.

“I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned at the timescales proposed for construction of the junction. I have contacted the Transport Minister and have raised the issue in chamber with the Cabinet Secretary as well as at committee, asking for a detailed outline of the work which needs to be undertaken between now and construction. I will be doing everything I can to ensure that the Laurencekirk Junction is delivered as speedily as possible and that no time is wasted in providing this vital upgrade.”