Mearns rail station parking consultation

© PA

A study has been launched to find out if additional parking is needed at railway stations in the Mearns.

The Nestrans project is expected to cost around £30,000 and will look into future forecasts for the Laurencekirk and Stonehaven stops.

Consultants will also identify areas of land for potential car park extensions if planned improvements to services lead to growth in passenger numbers.

Rail bosses have pledged more frequent commuter services and faster limited-stop services between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Aberdeen when refurbished high speed trains come into service in 2019.

North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison said: “Parking at Stonehaven in particular is very difficult, with cars often spilling into nearby streets.

“Finding a solution will be a challenge and a wide range of options will need to be considered.

“This is the first step – a welcome step – in finding extra parking spaces at the stations.

“With more commuter trains in prospect from 2019, it is important to begin work now to see how to encourage more drivers to take the train.”

Rab Dickson of Nestrans said rail use in the north east had grown significantly in the last decade.

He said: “Although recent reports indicated a reduction in rail use as a result of the economic downturn, it is likely that a return to growth can be expected.

“Demand for car parking at some stations exceeds available capacity.

“This is particularly the case at Stonehaven station, where overspill parking onto residential streets has been an issue for some years.

“With the proposals for a ‘Revolution in Rail’ potentially increasing substantially the number of calls as well as the train capacity at stations, there is a need to ensure that consideration is given to the possible implications.”

The Stonehaven station car park was extended recently but it is regularly full by mid-morning and cars park in neighbouring streets around the station.

Nestrans said it was likely that some potential rail passengers were being put off from using rail because of limited availability of parking at the station.