New “local” train services running between stations across the North-east are in line to be rolled out, the Evening Express can reveal today.
ScotRail plans to start new local services between Inverurie and Montrose, calling at all stations in between, from May 2019.
The initial proposals could see an hourly service in each direction between the two stations, stopping at others, including Stonehaven, Portlethen and Dyce.
Services are expected to run at the same time each hour.
The plans will mean stations such as Portlethen and Laurencekirk would have about 20 trains running each way per day, and Stonehaven would have around 48 trains per day each way – almost double what they have now.
Travellers from stations such as Portlethen and Laurencekirk going to Glasgow or Edinburgh would need to change trains.
However, transfer times should be much shorter.
ScotRail has been in discussions with regional transport body Nestrans over its radical shake-up of services.
And Nestrans director Derick Murray today said the move would be a major change in North-east transport services.
He said: “This is really good news but it’s in the very early stages of development.
“This will give us lots of new services in our patch.”
The proposed move comes after ScotRail announced it will operate refurbished high speed trains on services between Aberdeen to Edinburgh, Aberdeen to Glasgow and Aberdeen to Inverness.
The services south of the city will cease to call at minor stations.
The number of rail travellers in the North-east has more than doubled in a decade.
More than six million people used stations in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in 2014/15.
This compares to fewer than three million in 2004/5.
Portlethen recorded the biggest percentage rise in 2014/15 from the year before, with number jumping from 48,174 to 57,152 (19%).