The north east of Scotland has rail services to Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh and to major destinations in England. Over 5 million people use local stations every year – a figure which has risen dramatically in recent years, from just over 3 million in 2005/06.
Nestrans' Draft Rail Action Plan 2010-2021 considers how to achieve frequency and service improvements in the short term, leading to the opening of new stations - such as at Kintore - and more significant service enhancements over time.
Laurencekirk Station was re-opened in May 2009. Passenger numbers have exceeded initial expectations, with over 90,000 passenger movements in 2012/13 – more than double projected usage.
Nestrans has sought to safeguard through trains between Aberdeen and London on the East Coast Main Line. This has now been assured by the 2012 announcement for a £4.5billion Intercity Express Programme to replace ageing Intercity 125 diesel fleet with new higher capacity, more environmentally friendly trains, scheduled for service from 2018.
The Scottish Government has committed £170million to plans to upgrade the Aberdeen - Inverness line, the first phase of which will include doubling most of the track between Aberdeen and Inverurie and a new station at Kintore. The GRIP3 report was published on the Transport Scotland website (include hyperlink) This confirmed that an hourly service frequency and 2 hour journey time are feasible And will be delivered as a second phase of the project.
Nestrans works with the railway industry and Transport Scotland to secure service enhancements, address overcrowding issues and reduced journey times, where appropriate. A Rail Forum has been established to provide a platform for stakeholders and the rail industry to better understand the opportunities and possibilities for further developing rail services to the north east.
A north east Railway Station Guide and local timetables were launched in 2010 to encourage people to leave their car behind and see the train as a local service and not just for long distance journeys. Up to date local timetables can be found on the Getabout website.