Moves to establish a new railway station at Kintore are gathering pace.
Aberdeenshire Council officials have confirmed that a planning application could be put forward early in the New Year.
The council, along with Network Rail and Nestrans, the North-east’s transport partnership, are behind the project.
The council has said that design work is progressing well and an application could be lodged as early as next month.
The station is expected to be completed and opened by March, 2019.
East Garioch Councillor Martin Ford told the Herald: “I welcome the steady progress that is being made towards a railway station for Kintore, with some key stages in the process expected in the first months of 2016.
“The planned opening date remains unchanged and the wish for a station at Kintore remains as strong as ever.”
Mr Ford, a leading campaigner for the new station, added that that funding bids are expected around March next year with the compulsory purchase process for site acquisition following once funding for the project is confirmed.
The news was also welcomed by Kintore and District Community Council.
Chairman Brian Johnstone said: “The community council are happy to see the new station progress, it can only be good for the Kintore community.
“It is just a pity it has taken so long to get here.”
An updated council report stated: “It is still anticipated that the new station will be completed by 2019 along with Network Rail project to double the existing track between Inverurie and Aberdeen which is now underway.
“Provision has been included within this work to accommodate the new station at Kintore,” he added.