Work could soon be underway to upgrade railway bridges as part of a multi-million-pound scheme to cut journey times between the north-east and Highlands.
Network Rail has applied for permission to strengthen and widen the Don Viaduct and Canal Road bridges in Port Elphinstone and another similar structure at Bridge Ale House, Kintore.
The bridges – which vary in age and the materials they were built with – need to be upgraded to accommodate increased loads and additional rail track.
But before this work can begin the firm needs permission from planners to proceed, with a view to starting the work next month.
The iron Don Viaduct historically had two tracks but one has since been removed and now needs to be replaced, along with strengthening and repairs to the steelwork on the structure.
The steel tructure on Canal Road will be completely replaced on top of the existing girders, and the Kintore bridge will be widened.
A total of £300million has been invested in dualling the track between Aberdeen and Inverness, increasing the number of services.
The line between Aberdeen and Dyce was twin-tracked over 14 weeks this summer.
Improvements have already been completed between Elgin and the north.
The final phase of the work, which will dual the rest of the route, is scheduled to last from May to August.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “The work we are planning to carry out at these structures is a vital part of the overall Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project.
“Doubling the track between the city and Inverurie will improve reliability and increase services for passengers.
Last month Network Rail unveiled a £9million programme of “vital” track and level crossing enhancements between Aberdeen and Dundee over six weekends this month and next.
Engineers will renew 8,202ft of track between the two cities and upgrade the Carnoustie level crossing.
During the work, more than 8,000 tonnes of old material will be removed and 3,500 new concrete sleepers.
The new timetable, with increased services, will go live in December.