Train travel returns to Kintore after completion of £15m station
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The sight of trains travelling to Kintore has returned after nearly 60 years as the town's new £15 million station is now operational.
Rail services re-commenced in the town on Thursday and is the culmination of a multi-agency project funded by Transport Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council and Nestrans; built by Network Rail and will be managed by ScotRail.
It will provide the community with a transport link that has been made possible by double-tracking the line between Aberdeen and Inverurie, delivered as part of the Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project.
Councillor Peter Argyle, depute leader of Aberdeenshire Council and chairman of its infrastructure services committee, said: "It is something we have been working on for so long, so to actually be standing here today looking at it is perfect.
"It is a brand new, modern station and it is looking absolutely fabulous.
"It has been a real partnership project and has not been straightforward, but we are here now and it really is a tremendous day.
"The community have always wanted a station back and I have no doubt, particularly when we are away from the Covid pandemic and people start travelling again, passenger numbers will exceed expectations and it will be very well used. It is another part of what we are trying to achieve.
“This is a momentous day for the people of Kintore and is testament to the strength of the community’s long-running campaign for the return of the station.
“It cannot be underestimated just how transformative this facility will be both for local community and wider area.
"I am proud Aberdeenshire Council has played such a vital role in helping to fund such an important infrastructure project for the north-east.”
The station is fully accessible and has step-free access between platforms via a footbridge with lifts.
It is also the largest electric vehicle charging location in north-east Scotland, with 24 of the 168 spaces at the new transport hub fitted with charging points.
Passengers can also access bike storage, connection to the local bus network and links to the Inverurie-Kintore cycle path.
The original station opened in 1854 but closed in 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts. Its history has been incorporated into the new facility with features from the previous station, including heritage benches and salvaged signs.
Inverurie and District Men's Shed were asked by the council to restore two bench seats that once stood in Kintore railway station before it was closed on December 7, 1964.
Chairman Archie Peebles said: "Men from Inverurie and District Men's Shed – Bernie Oates and Geoff Binfield – completed the restoration task during the past 12 months in our premises at Harlaw Way.
"They have used cast iron legs and nameplates from the original benches along with fresh hardwood timber material supplied by Lethenty Mills to bring the benches back to their original glory.
"They completed the job by painting the benches in the same colours worn, before nationalisation, by the Great North of Scotland Railway.
"The men also refurbished two wall nameplates from the old station."
At the informal tour event, Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson was shown more history from the station in the form of the hat that belonged to the last station master before it closed, Robert Riddel. There was additionally a lamp that was on the last steam train that travelled out of Aberdeen.
The event was also attended by Councillor Jim Gifford, Councillor Glen Reid and representatives from the groups that have been involved in the project.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “This new station is clear evidence of the Scottish Government’s commitment to the north-east.
"It comes hot on the heels of line dualling between Aberdeen and Inverurie and the introduction of an Inverurie and Montrose crossrail service.
“By providing a rail interchange that offers significant parking provision with the largest electric vehicle charging facility in the north-east, as well as cycle storage facilities and bus links, we are making the decision to switch from private car to train even easier.
“It also offers wider regional benefits by removing the need to drive into Aberdeen city centre, with that reducing congestion and emissions.”
Nestrans chairwoman, Councillor Sandra Macdonald, said: “The reopening of Kintore station has been a long-standing aspiration of the local community and the wider region.
"It is something that Nestrans and its partners have campaigned, funded and worked towards for several years now.
“Kintore station is a welcome addition to the existing eight rail facilities across the north-east. For those local to the area, it is an opportunity for convenient rail travel, better connectivity for the community and a sustainable option for local travel to and from Aberdeen.
"As part of the Aberdeen to Inverness improvement project, it brings benefits to the wider area, enhancing our local rail service and increasing rail capacity.
“The local community has been very keen to be involved right the way through the project. The historic benches and former station sign are fitting touches for the new station and it has been through working with the community that these hidden treasures were discovered and restored.
“The realisation of this project shows true success of partnership working for a shared goal.
"It gives us a strong platform to build on as we seek further improvements and new stations to enhance our rail service for the north-east.”
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