Rail passenger numbers increase

Rail passenger numbers continue to increase across the North east, including Inverurie
Rail passenger numbers continue to increase across the North east, including Inverurie

Significant levels of rail growth at stations in the North-east have been announced as part of statistics from the Office of the Rail Regulator for 2013/ 2014.

Passenger numbers at the eight stations across Aberdeen City & Shire, including Inverurie and Insch, are up by an average of 7.83 per cent on the previous year, seeing 5.8 million entries and exits through the stations.

The local figures show how the area is set apart from the rest of Scotland, where there has been increase of just 1.10 per cent, and where areas such as Strathclyde have seen a reduction in passenger numbers.

North east passenger numbers are now over double that of those in 2004/05, an increase of 105 per cent, and more than double the all-Scotland increase of 49 per cent.

The news comes as Nestrans are set to meet with new ScotRail operator Abellio, ahead of their takeover of the services on April 1, 2015.

The franchise will run for a minimum of seven years from April this year, with an option to extend to ten years following a review during Year Five.

Nestrans have already had early discussions with the Abellio, and have now organised for the operator to come to Aberdeen to provide a briefing to local stakeholders on their plans for the franchise.

Those invited along to the event include MPs and MSPs, Nestrans Board members, senior local authority representatives and stakeholders including Chamber of Commerce, SCDI, FSB, Aberdeen Harbour Board, Aberdeen International Airport, Disability Advisory Group, VisitScotland and Sustrans.

Julian Edwards, Abellio Group Deputy MD Finance and Commercial, attended a meeting in Aberdeen on Monday, (February 23) to give a presentation.

Councillor Ramsey Milne, Chair of Nestrans said: “We welcome this opportunity to meet with Abellio ScotRail and discuss with them the issues pertinent to the region.

“As we know, rail passenger numbers are continuing to increase here in the North east, which is fantastic to hear. We have seen evidence that the small timetable changes that have been made, providing services at times passengers want, is having a very significant impact. As such we are keen to ensure that the expectations of our passengers continue to be met and so we are eager to hear what Abellio ScotRail plan to bring to the service.”