Rail improvements

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New rail services will take cars off the roads and help the economy of Angus and the Mearns.

North Angus and Mearns MSP Nigel Don says, “If people can’t travel easily, it’s harder for them to find work, get to college, and also link up with their families and friends.

“The new services will also make it more practical for people to visit places like Stonehaven using the train. And if it means fewer people driving over the notorious Laurencekirk junction, the risk of a major accident is at least slightly reduced.”

Mr Don was welcoming the announcement that, on Sundays, five more trains will call at Laurencekirk and three more at Stonehaven. There will also be improved weekday services from these towns to Dundee and Glasgow.

The services have been introduced by Scotrail in conjunction with the Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland.

Aberdeen South and North Kincardine MSP Maureen Watt also hailed as successful the long-fought campaign she has led for better rail services in the North East, in light of the joint ScotRail and Transport Scotland announcement of winter timetable revision.

In a big boost for Portlethen and other commuter towns, the overhauled timetable - in place from 9 December – will improve services for passengers and include more calls at several stations and expanded Sunday services.

Stations throughout the North East stand to see their services overhauled, and improvements to the Monday-Saturday timetable include Portlethen gaining a total of five more calls a day, including services to Inverurie and Glasgow.

On top of this, an expansion of weekend services will see Portlethen gaining four more calls on Sunday. There will also be two additional Sunday services from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and one extra Aberdeen to Edinburgh service.

Praising the announcement, Maureen Watt said: “I very much welcome this news that we have fought long and hard for. Having surveyed residents of Portlethen in July 2010, we have since campaigned tirelessly on the issue, so I am delighted to see that our lobbying of First and Transport Scotland has paid off. I am glad to see that a vast improvement of services is planned and, in particular, welcome the expanded services on Sundays.

“While this is indeed welcome progress, I am determined to continue to campaign for improved rail services and facilities for the people of the North East, and still hope to see the installation of automated tickets sales and information boards at Portlethen station. I certainly hope that the new services will meet the needs of travellers, in particular, commuters, and will encourage people to use public transport more often.”