Plans for Kintore train station are on track, after councillors backed using a compulsory purchase order to secure the land.
The railway station is being reopened, 40 years after it closed, as part of the £170million project to improve the north rail link.
But to progress with the plans, Aberdeenshire Council needs to buy land adjacent to the railway at Northern Road to create an access road, car park, pedestrian area and bus stance.
Although officers have had successful negotiations with one of the landowners, they have been able to track down the other.
At yesterday’s full council meeting, director of infrastructure services Stephen Archer told members that a compulsory purchase order (CPO) would allow the project to progress, to ensure the authority has “full and proper title” to the land.
Mr Archer said: “Councillors will be well aware of the decision and the desire to bring forward the new station at Kintore and there are positive signs of that moving forward.”
“It is appropriate for Aberdeenshire Council to follow due process so the land is available and can be used for Kintore Station.”
Councillor Peter Argyle was the first to support the plans, and added: “We all know that Kintore railway station is hugely important to the north-east and something that we’ve been working on for many years.
“We’re moving forward, albeit it much more slowly than I would wish. The recommendation here is a sensible way of dealing with the issue when there is a landowner we cannot identify.”
Councillor Martin Ford, who represents the Kintore area as part of his East Garioch ward, warned the use of CPOs had to be carefully considered, but supported it on this occasion.
He said: “I’m 100%, a 1000%, in favour of Kintore station going ahead, and this is a necessary stage.”
The rail improvements between Aberdeen and Inverness are in the national transport strategy, which aims to improve journey times, tackle congestion and increase the choice of public transport available in Scotland.
In particular, the route between Aberdeen and Inverurie was identified as a priority. The improvement works will include dualling the track and improving the signals, as well as reopening Kintore Station.