ScotRail has unveiled a specially-equipped van to help its roving maintenance teams carry out their work at Aberdeenshire stations.
The all-wheel-drive van was delivered to ScotRail staff at Aberdeen today.
The customised Ford Transit has been kitted out with snow and leaf blowers, trailers, large robust shovels and hand-held de-icing material spreaders to help enhance access, mainly at unstaffed and part-time staffed Aberdeenshire stations.
It also features a mini-kitchen, with a hot water supply, microwave and sink, to sustain staff working during bad weather, in remote locations and at night.
Ewan Macdonald, ScotRail’s facilities manager for Highland & North, said the upgraded van would directly benefit customers – particularly during times of severe wind, rain or prolonged freezing temperatures.
Mr Macdonald said: “The all-wheel-drive van will help our roving station maintenance teams resolve any access issues at platforms, walkways and car parks at unstaffed Aberdeenshire stations.
“It forms part of our ongoing efforts to be better prepared whenever extreme weather hits the region.”
The van will serve unmanned stations including Portlethen, Laurencekirk, Insch and Dyce as well as part-time staffed stations in the area.
A total of 27 vans are being phased in across the country to replace ScotRail’s previous fleet of 19 vans – representing a 42% increase in capacity.
Dennis Robertson, MSP for Aberdeenshire West, said: “I would like to congratulate ScotRail for increasing the number of specially-equipped vans to be deployed in Scotland and, particularly, within my constituency.
“After a few years of severe winters, I strongly encourage and welcome any investment to help people to travel in safe conditions all year round.
“We have both unstaffed and part-time staffed stations within Aberdeenshire West and, as a regular train user, I know how important it is to keep the access to stations and platforms safe during and after spells of challenging weather.”
Dedicated teams of two to four staff will alternate shifts to provide cover for 15 hours a day – or longer.
The cost of leasing the vans is in addition to the £2million ScotRail recently invested to better prepare for severe weather.