Potential new rail stations at Cove and Newtonhill are to be examined in more detail as work continues to identify improvements to sustainable travel between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk. The stations are part of a list of five measures selected by regional transport partnership, Nestrans, to undergo a detailed options appraisal.

A report on the Aberdeen to Laurencekirk Multi Modal Corridor study was presented to Nestrans board members at their February meeting (Wednesday, 14 February) with discussions on the findings from the Preliminary Options Appraisal.

The preliminary appraisal, commissioned in 2023, explored a wide range of opportunities that would encourage people to travel sustainably on the Aberdeen to Laurencekirk corridor. The study was funded by Transport Scotland’s Bus Partnership Fund, allowing the work to be progressed alongside ongoing studies for Aberdeen Rapid Transit.

The options were originally identified during the development of the earlier Case for Change study, supported by Transport Scotland through their Local Rail Development Fund. The Case for Change was supported by public travel behaviour and opinions research in Autumn 2021, including an online survey which attracted over 1,000 responses. Both studies have been undertaken by consultants AECOM.

The new report recommends that a number of measures should now progress to a Detailed Options Appraisal, a study stage which then looks to identify either a preferred option, or more likely, package of options.

The Nestrans board agreed that five packages of measures should be looked at in further detail including:

  • active travel infrastructure to connect communities along the corridor from Stonehaven to Aberdeen
  • a mobility hub facility to the south of Aberdeen
  • bus priority measures on approach to Aberdeen, providing a foundation for Aberdeen Rapid Transit.
  • creation of new rail station in Cove
  • creation of new rail station in Newtonhill.

Councillor Alan Turner, chair of Nestrans, said, “Understandably there has been a lot of interest in this study to date, particularly around the potential new stations, and I’m pleased to see it progressing.

“This next stage means we can look at refining each of these five measures and fully assess their impact. The measures are not in competition with each other; rather we are identifying which combination of the above would work well together and achieve an increase in sustainable journeys along the Aberdeen to Laurencekirk corridor.”

The Detailed Options Appraisal will include transport modelling to understand the potential passenger demand forecasts linked to each of the option packages, the preparation of detailed cost estimates, further public and stakeholder engagement and further risk assessment to inform the detailed assessment.

It is expected that the completed Detailed Options Appraisal will be reported to the Nestrans board later in 2024.

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