League champions Cove Rangers say a new railway station on the outskirts of Aberdeen will be a major boost for the club and surrounding area.
Chairman Keith Moorhouse backed the campaign as calls grow for the Scottish Government to fast-track the proposals.
The club wants to erect two new temporary stands to cope with an anticipated increase in fans heading to the Balmoral Stadium this season, following their promotion to the Championship.
‘Huge step forward’
Mr Moorhouse said: “The club is right behind this proposal – it makes total sense on so many levels.
“We have more than matched our ambitions over the past three years, and we fully intend to build on that success.
“We will clearly be attracting bigger crowds in the coming season, and we want to be able to offer them the best service we can.”
He added: “Having a train station within walking distance of the stadium would be a huge step forward, and lead to more fans being able to attend matches, which in itself will be a real boost for the local community and economy.
“If this project gets the go-ahead, it wouldn’t just be a massive bonus for the club, but for all who live and work in Cove.”
Earlier this year, transport group Nestrans published the results of their consultation on transport links between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk.
The survey of more than 1,100 people showed almost half (47%) of respondents thought a new station at Cove would encourage them to use the train more, while 42% said the same for Newtonhill.
North-east regional MSP Liam Kerr has written to Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth urging her to press ahead with a new station, pointing to the growing success of the football club.
In the letter to Ms Gilruth, Mr Kerr wrote: “It’s anticipated there will be a significant increase in the number of visiting supporters attending the ground, however these sets of fans would have to get off at Aberdeen Railway Station before travelling up to Cove by taxi or face a 30-minute bus journey.
“With the club playing teams such as Dundee, Arbroath and Inverness, it makes complete sense to open a station on the line at Cove, which would offer a faster and more environmentally friendly route for fans, as well as creating new opportunities for both residents and the business community.
“Couple this with the other away fans also arriving on the same day and time for Aberdeen FC Games, it makes perfect sense to create a new station at Cove.”
‘Too early to say’
A spokesperson for government agency Transport Scotland said Ms Gilruth will reply “in due course”.
The agency added: “It is too early to say if these stations will be re-opened at this stage of the process.
“If Nestran’s appraisals provide robust strategic business cases we will consider them for potential further funding or support through our rail pipeline process, and this is under consideration at this stage.”