Significant levels of rail growth at stations in the north east have been announced as part of statistics from the Office of the Rail Regulator for 2013/ 2014.
Passenger numbers at the eight stations across Aberdeen City & Shire are up by an average of 7.83% on the previous year, seeing 5.8 million entries and exits through the stations.
The local figures show how the area is set apart from the rest of Scotland, where there has been increase of just 1.10%, and where areas such as Strathclyde have seen a reduction in passenger numbers.
North east passenger numbers are now over double that of those in 2004/05, an increase of 105%, and more than double the all-Scotland increase of 49%.
The news comes as Nestrans are set to meet with new ScotRail operator Abellio, ahead of their takeover of the services on April 1 2015.
The franchise will run for a minimum of seven years from April this year, with an option to extend to ten years following a review during Year 5.
Nestrans have already had early discussions with the Abellio, and have now organised for the operator to come to Aberdeen to provide a briefing to local stakeholders on their plans for the franchise.
Those invited along to the event include MPs and MSPs, Nestrans Board members, senior local authority representatives and stakeholders including Chamber of Commerce, SCDI, FSB, Aberdeen Harbour Board, Aberdeen International Airport, Disability Advisory Group, VisitScotland and Sustrans.
Julian Edwards, Abellio Group Deputy MD (Finance & Commercial), will attend a meeting in Aberdeen on Monday, 23 February to give a presentation after which there will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and learn more about the company itself.
Councillor Ramsey Milne, Chair of Nestrans said: “We welcome this opportunity to meet with Abellio ScotRail and discuss with them the issues pertinent to the region.
“As we know, rail passenger numbers are continuing to increase here in the north east, which is fantastic to hear. We have seen evidence that the small timetable changes that have been made, providing services at times passengers want, is having a very significant impact. As such we are keen to ensure that the expectations of our passengers continue to be met and so we are eager to hear what Abellio ScotRail plan to bring to the service.”
Julian Edwards, Abellio Group Deputy MD, Finance & Commercial, said “Abellio are pleased to present about our future plans for the ScotRail Franchise. In our winning bid we paid particular attention to the role which a national railway plays in a growing economy. For us vibrant economies in Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland are crucial for Scotland and its future competitiveness in what is a world stage. We wish to see the delivery of the railway playing its part in every way possible.”