LOCAL politicians and councillors have given a cautious welcome to the inclusion of a new station at Kintore in the “Strategic Business Plan for Scotland” released by NetworkRail this week.
In the plan published on Tuesday, (January 8), NetworkRail say that they are “committed to the biggest investment in infrastructure since the Victorian era”, and include as key aim the increased capacity “across the North East”.
NetworkRail say that plans for Scotland include “Improving the route between Aberdeen and Inverness resulting in better commuter services and new stations at Kintore and Dalcross”.
Phase One of improvements on the Aberdeen to Inverness line are laid out in the “Strategic Business Plan for Scotland”, which states that NetworkRail will deliver “the network capability to enable the operation of enhanced commuting services from Aberdeen to Inverurie and from Elgin to Inverness. In addition, working with station promoters to deliver stations at Kintore (Nestrans) and Dalcross (Hitrans).”
North East MSP Alison McInnes welcomed the announcement on plans to improve the commuter services between Aberdeen and Inverness saying, “I am heartened that a new station at Kintore is again mentioned prominently in the plans. I have been campaigning for its re-opening, which included surveying everyone in the expanding town last autumn.
The results will be available shortly, and early indications show an overwhelming support for the station. The survey is comprehensive and should give confidence the demand is there.”
She added, “However, I am still waiting for confirmation from Transport Minister Keith Brown that the Scottish Government has a timetable for undertaking the work. So far the government has only publicly stated it will be ‘working with station promoters to enable them to deliver Kintore and Dalcross stations.’
“The people of the North East deserve clarity and early action to make the planned new station a reality.”
East Garioch councillor Martin Ford, who has long been campaigning for a new station in Kintore, commented, ”The Business Plan lists ‘Committed Projects’ and ‘Other Projects’, with the Aberdeen to Inverness line improvements being included in the list of ‘Other Projects’. No firm indication is given on timing, with a need for further development work being cited as the reason.
“In respect of Kintore station, the Network Rail business plan confirms and repeats the understood position. There is a requirement, as part of a wider programme of route improvements, to make it possible to build a station at Kintore. But there is no funding commitment and no firm timetable.
“I wrote to the Scottish transport minister, Keith Brown MSP, before Christmas seeking clarification of the Scottish Government’s current position on Kintore station. I have had an acknowledgement but not yet a full reply.
“There is undoubtedly a very strong case for a station at Kintore. While it is positive to have the possibility of a station at Kintore in the Network Rail plan, it is deeply frustrating that we do not yet have a definite Scottish Government commitment to getting a station built.”