PLANS to bring rail travel back to Levenmouth for the first time in half a century have taken a step forward after the Scottish Government unveiled the project blueprint.
The development will bring 19 kilometres of new railway as well as two new stations, allowing residents of the Fife settlement to travel directly to Edinburgh by train.
During a visit to Leven, the Scottish Government’s transport minister, Graeme Dey, confirmed that the line would be double tracked and electrified and also revealed the station locations.
The Leven Station is to be located behind the town’s leisure centre, whilst the Cameron Bridge Station will be to the east of the A915. Mr Dey said that the options were confirmed following detailed development work as well as stakeholder consultation.
Network Rail has been commissioned to design and construction the rail link, with the project costs set to be confirmed in the final business case – which the rail management organisation expects to be released towards the end of 2021.
The line will be electrified with overhead wires, however Network Rail said that services will be initially operated by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.
The organisation added that project timescales will depend on Fife Council planning processes, subject to which it expects the line to be open in 2024.
Mr Dey said, “I’m pleased to confirm that we plan to double track and electrify the Levenmouth rail link and also open two new stations. This will ensure local communities can benefit from improved connectivity and sustainable travel options. Our Programme for Government made a commitment to decarbonising Scotland’s Railway and growth in rail use is an essential part of decarbonising the total transport mix. Investment in sustainable transport must be front and centre when deciding on future priorities.
“This scheme will see the re-opening of the disused rail line between Thornton junction and Leven, providing new passenger rail services to connect the Levenmouth area to Fife, Edinburgh, and the wider rail network. I look forward to seeing this exciting project get underway in the coming months and would like to thank everyone involved in getting it to this stage.”
Network Rail’s capital delivery director, Kris Kinnear, added, “We’re working hard alongside the Scottish Government to bring the benefits of the railway to communities across Scotland. The Minister’s announcement today is a green light to reconnect Leven to the mainline network. The new railway will enhance the communities it serves and contribute positively to the lives of the people who live there by unlocking access to social, cultural, employment and educational opportunity.
“We will continue to engage with the local community and stakeholders as we work to develop and deliver the project by December 2023.”