Hopes that a north-east railway line could be reopened have been renewed.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown has said his department will look at the viability of connecting Peterhead to Aberdeen and Dyce to Ellon through a train service in the next investment period.
He made the remarks following a question by Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin about the future of the long-awaited project.
Mr Brown said: “We remain fully committed to funding high-quality reliable rail services and securing the necessary funding for sustainable development in the railway to support communities and support future projections for demand and we’ve seen hugely increased demand for rail travel.
“Transport Scotland are also currently reviewing work that Nestrans has undertaken to consider the other options for transport improvements north of Aberdeen as part of their Fraserburgh and Peterhead to Aberdeen transport study.”
Yesterday, Mrs Martin said she was pleased Mr Brown’s team were “properly considering” the proposals.
“The north-east has been undergoing huge improvement in transport links with the continued development of the AWPR but the existing rail infrastructure in the north-east needs expanded to include more of Aberdeenshire East and Banff and Buchan,” she said.
“I look forward to the meeting with Nestrans to hear about the work already undertaken and I will be making sure all possible links are investigated to improve public transport for people within my constituency.
“We’ve seen the economic benefits a new rail line has brought to the Borders, the same is possible here.”
Efforts to bring trains back to the north-east have intensified in recent years.
And one group keen to see their return, North-east of Scotland Railway, is in the process of raising more than £160,000 to purchase the disused tracks at Tillynaught.