North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes today welcomed a response from Transport Minister Keith Brown to her survey of Kintore residents about the reopening of the community's railway station.
The survey was the most comprehensive sounding of public opinion on the project to date. Mrs McInnes wrote to each of the 3,747 registered electors in Kintore. During the 10-week consultation, 1,737 people (46 per cent) took part. Some 97 per cent agreed that the station should be re-opened … with the vast majority saying they would use it.
Mrs McInnes gave the results to the transport minister and other stakeholders, and called for progress on reopening the station.
Transport Minister Keith Brown, in a letter to Mrs McInnes, said: "The survey results appear to be positive and to suggest additional justification for the government's commitment to invest in rail improvements between Aberdeen and Inverness."
The minister went on to confirm that the re-opening of Kintore Station will form part of phase one of the Aberdeen to Inverness Rail Improvements Project. This seeks, he said, to provide greater access and connectivity to local communities together with improved journey times. Phase one will be delivered between 2014 and 2019.
Mrs McInnes commented: "The people of Kintore have delivered an unequivocal statement of support for the station. The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland now need to provide the leadership and drive that is required to deliver a station for Kintore. They need to demonstrate their commitment to the project through substantive action and the allocation of funding.
"I am pleased that this is moving forward, however the station should be opened as soon as possible."
Meanwhile Aberdeenshire Council chief executive Colin Mackenzie has also welcomed the results from the survey.
He told Mrs McInnes that council officers have been very proactive in partnership with Nestrans in their efforts to make the case for the station.
He continued: "There are a number of issues to be discussed further with the Scottish Government before we can get to the point of delivering the project, but we have a proven track record in doing so.
"The information in the survey can only assist in that work.
"I will ensure that our partners are fully aware of our continued support for the project and that it should be delivered as soon as practicable."
It is expected that the station will be funded from a number of sources: the Scottish Government through the Aberdeen to Inverness Railway Improvement Project and the New Stations Fund, Nestrans, the Strategic Transport Fund, and Aberdeenshire Council.
Further work and discussions need to take place to establish the estimated costs and the precise timing of the work.