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All aboard! 36,000 passengers use Kintore’s new station in first year

Kintore's new station on its first day of operation last October.

More than 36,000 passengers have used Kintore’s £15 million train station since it opened a year ago today.

The Aberdeenshire community’s original station first opened in 1854, but shut down in 1964 as part of the notorious Beeching cuts.

However after decades of efforts to get Kintore back on track, on October 15 2020 the first passengers in 56 years boarded trains in the Garioch town.

Although lockdown and travel restrictions have made a significant impact on passenger numbers, Scot Rail currently operates 36 services from Kintore to Aberdeen, and 33 services from Aberdeen to Kintore on a typical weekday.

Provost, Councillor Bill Howatson, left and Robert McGregor strategic transport officer for Aberdeenshire Council at the grand opening of the Kintore Railway Station last year.

And with Covid restrictions easing, Scot Rail and Network Rail anticipate the station will “see a rise in weekday passenger numbers and will become an established commuter route as more people return to workplaces”.

A ‘strange’ first year for Kintore’s new station, but busier times could be ahead

Billy McKay, Network Rail programme manager, said Kintore station has already “proved its worth”.

The facility comes complete with 24 of its 168 spaces fitted with electric charging points, making it the largest electric vehicle charging place in the north-east of Scotland.

The railway station features the largest electric vehicle charging site in the north-east.

Mr McKay said: “It has been the strangest first year of operation for a new station that I have known in my time with Network Rail but despite the challenges, Kintore station has already proved its worth and is playing a role in expanding the local transport options as envisaged.

“It’s a great station with great facilities and we look forward to it playing an increasingly prominent role opening up access to education, leisure and employment opportunities and fulfilling its potential as a sustainable transport hub.”

Scot Rail operations director David Simpson added: “We are beginning to see a gradual increase in the number of customers using Kintore now the worst of the pandemic is hopefully behind us.”

Station’s unique historic links

Although the new station has been designed with the future in mind, with its charging points, bike storage, and full accessibility, it also bears a number of original features from the old 1854 station. 

Raymond Sharp and his son Doug Sharp with two original Kintore Railway Station signs, which Raymond has had in his shed for fifty odd years. Picture by Kath Flannery, 2019.

As passengers arrive, they’ll notice two accurately-restored French sky blue station signs, which were lovingly brought back to life after being rescued from a bonfire more than 55 years ago.

Councillor Martin Ford and Robert McGregor Aberdeenshire council’s Strategic Transport Officer with the refurbished signs.

Two of the original benches, which were also refurbished, also have pride of place.

Kintore to Aberdeen in 15 minutes

Peter Argyle, the chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure committee and the vice-chairman of Nestrans, said the community had fought for decades to return trains to Kintore.

Peter Argyle
Peter Argyle.

He said: “From the moment the station closed, the local community has been calling for its return, so the re-opening a year ago was a great moment, the culmination of many years’ work by many dedicated people.

“It means folk can travel easily into Aberdeen in only 15 minutes or to Inverurie in 7 minutes – and all from a modern and easily accessed station, convenient to them, with the largest bank of electric car charging points in the area.

“As more people are travelling to work again, passenger numbers are rising which means fewer cars on the road – less congestion and reduced emissions.

“The new Kintore station is one of those projects that is good for everyone – for the local community, for the wider region and for the planet.

“I am delighted to mark this anniversary of the opening.”

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