A local councillor who has played a leading role in the campaign for a Kintore station has said it must be completed as soon as possible and opened with the minimum delay.
A delay in the expected opening date for the new station was announced in mid-March when Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee received a briefing from Network Rail on the current railway works between Aberdeen and Inverurie.
Commenting East Garioch cllr Martin Ford said: "I am surprised and disappointed that Transport Scotland is now indicating May 2020 as their date for opening the new Kintore station. A planned opening date of December 2019 has been in the public domain for many years without the rail industry expressing any alternative view."
The dates of December 2019 and May 2020 are significant because these are the points in the year when new rail timetables are introduced.
Representatives of Network Rail attended a meeting of Kintore Community Council last week where the delay to the expected station opening date was not well received. Cllr Martin Ford was present at the meeting along with other Aberdeenshire councillors and community councillors.
Cllr Ford added: "What I still want to see is Kintore station included in the December 2019 rail timetable. If it isn't, the station can't open until the start of the next timetable in May 2020 – even if all the building work is finished well before that.
"So put Kintore station in the December 2019 timetable but with a note against it: 'Station under construction and expected to open during the currency of this timetable – see local announcements'. That has been done elsewhere to allow new stations to be opened as soon as they are ready on completion of construction work.
"It's then up to Transport Scotland, Network Rail and the contractors to get the station finished as quickly as they can, so it can open as soon as possible, albeit after December 2019 but before May 2020."
It is believed that since Cllr Ford asked that Kintore station still be included in the December 2019 timetable, Aberdeenshire Council transportation officers have made a similar request.
"We need Kintore station open and available for residents to use at the earliest possible date," said Cllr Ford.