Construction work on a new north-east train station has now halted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Last week The Evening Express reported that staff were still working on the Kintore Railway Station, despite advice from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that construction work should only be going ahead if it was for essential projects such as hospitals.
The £14.5 million project, which is being funded by Transport Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council and Nestrans, is part of the Aberdeen to Inverness improvement project. It was planned to open in May.
Now it has been confirmed staff have been asked not to come in.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We have been closely following the government’s advice on managing work during the current Covid-19 pandemic and have been regularly reviewing the construction activities taking place across the railway.
“We are temporarily ceasing activity at the Kintore site at this time.”
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Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West Alexander Burnett praised the decision taken which will lead to delays.
He said: “The health and wellbeing of construction workers during the coronavirus outbreak is the most important factor here and the decision to take them off site to protect them against the virus is the correct one. The new station at Kintore is a vital project for the area and will ensure communities in and around the town will be better connected to Scotland’s rail network.
“But lives cannot be put at risk by continuing work during this extremely difficult period.
“The Scottish Government said work to create a new station at Kintore would be completed in spring 2019 and answers need to be given explaining why this wasn’t met before the coronavirus outbreak.”
It was originally thought the station would open this spring, however once plans began to get underway, this date was revised to spring 2020.
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We have consistently stated that Kintore Station would open early in the current rail five-year funding period and that is still the case.
“Indeed, it is through an increase in Scottish Government funding that this long awaited project is being delivered, improving connections for communities in the Kintore area.
“However, we are quite rightly following Scottish Government guidance that construction work must be limited to only essential activity necessary for the safety and resilience of the rail network.
“Therefore final completion of Kintore Station must be suspended for the time being.
“We will keep safety guidance for construction activity under review, and Kintore Station will be opened when it is possible for the remaining works to be completed safely.”