The number of rail travellers in the North-east has more than doubled in a decade, transport chiefs revealed today.
More than six million people used stations in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in 2014/15 compared to fewer than three million in 2004/5.
A report for regional transport partnership Nestrans said: “The figures for 2014/15 again show considerable growth in all of the North-east stations, with total passenger figures from stations across the region achieving a record high for recent years.
“Passenger numbers at the eight stations across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are up by an average of 3.94% on the previous year.”
Portlethen recorded the biggest percentage rise in 2014/15 over the year before, with passengers number jumping from 48,174 to 57,152 (19%).
Patronage across the region is expected to grow in the years ahead on the back of a number of further improvements to infrastructure and services.
Phase one of an upgrade to the Aberdeen to Inverness line will include the re-doubling of most of the line between Aberdeen and Inverurie.
The report said: “Network Rail is undertaking this work on behalf of Transport Scotland and have appointed a consortium of contractors led by BAM to carry out the works.”
Phase 1 also would also include trackwork and signalling to allow a new station to be built at Kintore. Designs and a business case for the station are being worked on.
Meanwhile, Abellio ScotRail is undertaking a major train improvement programme.
Over the next three years, 180 carriages will be added to the ScotRail fleet, bringing the total to almost 1,000.
During the second half of 2018, 27 fully refurbished high-speed trains will be introduced onto inter-city routes including Edinburgh/Glasgow to Aberdeen and Aberdeen to Inverness.
The report said: “By the end of 2018, 75% of ScotRail’s train fleet will be either new or fully refurbished.”