Positive response

North East MSP Alison McInnes has welcomed a positive response from Transport Scotland over better facilities and more calling trains at Portlethen railway station.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP had written to David Middleton, chief executive of Transport Scotland, regarding improvements at the Portlethen station. “His response is encouraging,” said Mrs McInnes, “though there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Mr Middleton said that the £30m station investment fund announced in April is intended to be used to facilitate improvements to existing stations, as well as contribute to the cost of new stations.

He continued: “The North East of Scotland Transport Partnership (Nestrans) could develop proposals to improve passenger facilities at Portlethen railway station, which would be considered by ScotRail and Transport Scotland for potential implementation from 2014 onwards.

“The £30m is only the start of the funding and the number of stations being built or improved will depend on how much funding can be levered in from other parties.”

Mrs McInnes has now written to Nestrans director Derick Murray asking him to take this work forward. This could include CCTV for safety, information screens, and ticket machines.

Mr Middleton also said a review of calling patterns between Dundee and Aberdeen has been undertaken, and this includes Portlethen. The outcome will be announced this autumn, with the timetable changes being made on December 9.

Mrs McInnes said: “I am hopeful that this will see more trains calling at Portlethen in particular. The rail service in the North East is an under-used asset and investment would be well worthwhile, taking cars off the roads.”

Local councillor Ian Mollison was also heartened by the response from Transport Scotland. He said: “We are moving in the right direction and I can sense a willingness to improve local rail services. The potential is there, particularly in Portlethen, Newtonhill and Stonehaven. You only have to look at the success of Laurencekirk.”