Campaigners for a train station in Newburgh have vowed their fight will gather steam after a report on its economic benefit emerged.
Newburgh Train Station Group wants a full appraisal to be conducted as soon as possible to allow the Scottish Government to consider reopening the town’s stop.
A feasibility study commissioned by Fife and Perth and Kinross councils and transport partnerships Sestran and Tactran found a station at Newburgh would have more impact for passengers than creating one at nearby Oudenarde, by Bridge of Earn.
The Newburgh group claimed further analysis for a STAG (Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance) report would make an even better case, with “overwhelming” demand within the town and anticipated demand from neighbouring Abernethy.
Convener Nigel Mullan said: “Newburgh, with its poor road connections, poor bus service and a formidable community demand for better public transport with overwhelming support for a rail service makes the commissioning of a full STAG transport appraisal something the Newburgh Train Station Group will be lobbying harder than ever to achieve, sooner rather than later.”
Mr Mullan welcomed the findings of the study but suggested they underestimated the number of passengers who would use a Newburgh station.
The feasibility study by Systra concluded the benefits of an hourly service stopping at either Newburgh or Oudenarde on the Highland main line between Perth to Edinburgh would outweigh the costs.
It was predicted Oudenarde would see 286,000 station entries and exits annually by 2030, compared with 93,000 at Newburgh.
Although more passengers were anticipated at Oudenarde, the benefit to travellers would be greater at Newburgh due to poorer existing public transport and longer car journey times.
Mr Mullan said a door-to-door survey conducted by the group showed demand for a station was much greater than that predicted by the study by the year 2020.
He said: “Moreover, this only takes into consideration the population of Newburgh and immediate hinterland and not that of closely neighbouring Abernethy, whose population would also be drawn in, predominantly for journeys south but not exclusively when faced with a less attractive drive-and-park option for Perth station and onward journeys from there.
“Revenues to the transport system and other benefits to people’s lives would also therefore be far greater at present than those forecasted by Systra for Newburgh.
“Neighbouring Abernethy has also shown much interest in a station reopening in Newburgh.”
Following the publication of the study in early December, Fife Council’s executive committee agreed to further discussions with Transport Scotland and Network Rail before consideration of entering the STAG process.