Stirling Alloa Kincardine Railway celebrates first anniversary
The return of rail services to Clackmannanshire has seen an overwhelming 400,000 passengers take advantage of the new Stirling Alloa Kincardine railway in its first year.
Passenger services returned to Alloa for the first time since 1968 when the new Alloa station opened on May 15, 2008.
Almost three times as many passengers have used the service as originally anticipated since its opening 12 months ago.
Strong demand has seen passenger numbers outstrip initial forecasts of 155,000 users in its first year and has led to the introduction of new direct morning and evening commuter services from Alloa to Edinburgh.
Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said: "The fantastic response from passengers over the first year of services from Alloa demonstrates how worthwhile this project has been.
"Reconnecting Alloa to the rail network after a gap of 40 years has provided new education and employment opportunities for communities across central Scotland and has played an important role in creating sustainable economic growth for the area.
"The introduction of these services has made it easier for tens of thousands of people to make the switch to a more sustainable method of transport."
The Stirling Alloa Kincardine rail project reopened 21km (13 miles) of existing, disused and abandoned railway line between Stirling Station and Longannet Power Station in Kincardine.
The new station at Alloa allows direct hourly passenger services between Alloa, Stirling and Glasgow Queen Street and onward services from Stirling to Edinburgh.
Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, added: "From 17 May, a new direct morning commuter service to Edinburgh will depart Alloa at 07.38, with a return train from Edinburgh to Alloa at 17.33.
"In addition, the 23.18 Glasgow to Stirling service will be extended to Alloa, providing a new late service to the town.
"Feedback from customers has demonstrated overwhelming support and we are delighted to be able to implement these new services."
Clackmannanshire Council leader Janet Cadenhead said: "Clackmannanshire Council campaigned for decades for the rail link to reopen. We were always determined to make this project happen and are obviously delighted by its overwhelming success and popularity.
"I'm not surprised by the figures - we always believed that the case to reopen the line was compelling and these numbers prove that it is a necessary and valuable link.
"The reopening of the line is already making a significant contribution to the economic regeneration of Clackmannanshire and this progress looks set to continue.
"Clackmannanshire has a great central location, and the new station allows us to make the most of our proximity to Scotland's major cities. I'm delighted that our residents are enjoying convenient, safe, fast and environmentally sound public transport in such huge numbers."
SESTRANS is investigating the feasibility of extending the route from Alloa to Dunfermline to build on the success of the Stirling Alloa Kincardine railway.