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SNP Welcomes Minister's Support for Re-Opening Rilway Station

>> 12 October 2009

The SNP has welcomed the support shown by Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson for the re-opening of Kintore railway station. The Minister was speaking in Parliament last week on the subject of rail services in the North-east.

Commenting, an SNP spokesperson said:

"Figures for the newly-reopened Laurencekirk Station show that passenger usage has exceeded the official estimates by around 70 per cent. That is a huge amount and shows that with the proper preparation and groundwork, Kintore has the potential to be a real asset to the rail network.

"In spite of the regrettable efforts of some MSPs from outwith the area to try to make political capital out of this important local issue, elected representatives have been working with NESTRANS, the Government and Network Rail to progress to a point where we have a workable plan to press forward with, including costs and track layout. At the moment, we are not in that position but enhancements are nevertheless being made to rail services in the North-east with more direct trains to the south starting and terminating at Inverurie.

"All in all, we are very pleased at the support being shown for a new station at Kintore by the Transport Minister."

Speaking in Parliament last week, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

"The community certainly wants improved transport links for Kintore, but the council was clear that the work should be done only if there is a case that justifies it, based on objective analysis of passenger numbers. The community council's view—this is the view that we should all have—was that investment in transport infrastructure is important, but we need to do the analysis and make the right investment. Kintore looks to be a pretty good option, I have to say, and we are of course doing the work, with Network Rail, to ensure that we have a solid case and a clear understanding of the cost.

"We must consider two options. The railway at Kintore is single track, and we could put a platform there at relatively modest cost to support a single-track operation. However, if we do that, we need to ensure that we do not design out the option of providing for a two-track operation at a later date. That forms part of what we need to consider.

"We have increased the number of services that run up to Inverurie and patronage is beginning to grow, which enhances the case for Kintore by showing that there is increased and genuine demand in the area. I hope that there will be further growth in the area, because that will give us the step change that I want."

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