Rail campaigners are backing a bid to reopen Cove and Newtonhill stations, which they hope will halve journey times for people travelling to Aberdeen city centre.
The Campaign for North East Rail has already won major government funds in their push to reinstate Peterhead and Fraserburgh rail links.
Now, activists are endorsing a petition focused on the two closed stations to the south of the city.
The petition, which has gained almost 1,500 signatures since opening in June, will be presented to the Scottish Parliament in the coming months.
‘Halving travel time’
Jordan Jack, from the Campaign for North East Rail, said the two new stations would “open new economic opportunities”.
He said: “Cove and Newtonhill are perfect candidates, both have a sizeable population, are already on the tracks, and have local services pass through every hour.
“Rail is by far the most efficient mode of transport available to us.
“Building new stations for Cove and Newtonhill will give residents a sustainable travel choice while halving travel time and will open new economic opportunities.
“The next stop on trains heading south of Aberdeen has to be Cove and Newtonhill.”
Both stations closed in 1956, years before the infamous Beeching Report signalled the end for multiple branch lines and stations all over Britain.
In 2020, government agency Transport Scotland gave £80,000 to regional transport body Nestrans to look at the wider “travel corridor” between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk.
But it emerged earlier this year the proposals do not feature in the SNP-Green government’s investment programme.
Improved rail connectivity
North East MSP Liam Kerr, who opened the petition, said the response sends a strong message to the Scottish Government.
“The north-east has been held back for too long on rail at a time when Levenmouth, Inverness and Reston have all received funding for new or improved railway stations,” he said.
Transport Scotland said: “Although new railway stations at Cove and Newtonhill do not feature in the Scottish Government’s current investment programme, we are committed to ongoing improvements to rail services and connectivity.”
The agency will consider projects against affordability and competing proposals.
Nestrans is looking at all modes locally, including options for buses and stations at Cove and Newtonhill.