It’s a case of good news and bad news for the re-opening of Kintore rail station. The good news is that the funding has been agreed. The bad news is that the opening date has been pushed back to 2019.
The latest funding contribution was agreed at the Nestrans board meeting on Friday. The Nestrans board was advised the Scottish Government had increased its agreed funding contribution towards constructing a station in Kintore to £7.32 million (60% of the estimated cost) while Aberdeenshire Council had now committed up to £1.898 million.
By agreeing to an increased allocation of £2.974 million for Kintore station from Nestrans' budgets, the Nestrans board closed the remaining funding gap – meaning the entire £12.2 million estimated construction cost is now pledged to the project.
“Clearly, funding is one of the essentials for getting a station built in Kintore,” commented East Garioch councillor Martin Ford, who is a member of the Nestrans board. “I was pleased to support an increased contribution from Nestrans towards the estimated construction cost.
“On top of the extra funding now put in place by Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government, this means all the money expected to be required to build the station is now committed to the project. I'm delighted that's been achieved."
Friday's Nestrans board meeting was also advised that the expected cost of the Aberdeen–Inverness rail line upgrade had increased from £170 million to £330 million. The board was told that consequently completion of the upgrading works would have to be delayed so some work could take place in financial year 2019/2020, instead of all work being undertaken before March 2019. The new planned completion date for the Aberdeen–Inverness rail line upgrade is December 2019, with Kintore station now intended to open in July 2019.
At Councillor Ford's suggestion, the Nestrans board asked Nestrans director Derick Murray to write to the Office of Rail and Road seeking an explanation for the huge cost increase for the Aberdeen–Inverness rail line upgrade.
"The scale of the increase in the projected cost of the Aberdeen–Inverness rail line upgrade is astonishing,” Councillor Ford points out, “especially since the work has already started. What has changed? Or was the previous estimate wrongly calculated? Or why have anticipated prices risen so drastically? We need to have an explanation.
"Apart from the alarming overall cost increase for the Aberdeen–Inverness rail line upgrade, the delay in the expected opening date for Kintore station is also very disappointing."
The original planned opening date for Kintore Station was March 2019. This was brought forward to December 2018 so the new station would be available for passengers when the line between Kintore and Inverurie was due to be closed for several weeks in early 2019 to allow renewal of the viaduct over the River Don. Now, with the upgrading works for the whole line on an extended timescale, the opening date for Kintore station is being pushed back to July 2019.