WORK is underway on a £116.6 million project to bring rail travel back to Levenmouth for the first time in over half a century.
Levenmouth is the largest urban area in Scotland not served by any direct rail link, after the original track closed in 1969.
The project will bring two new stations to Fife at Cameron Bridge and Leven, as well as 12 miles of track which will link Levenmouth to the mainline rail network – allowing for direct train services to Edinburgh.
Network Rail has began the removal of old track bed and other route preparation activities in advancement of the reinstatement of a double track railway and passenger services to Leven.
The rail management organisation said that, by utilising much of the existing double track bed, it allows for a ‘cost effective’ delivery of capacity for passenger, charter and freight service growth and a step change in new journey opportunities across the wider economic area to places of education, work and leisure.
The first services to run on the line will be diesel operated before conversion to electric operation at the ‘earliest opportunity’. Network Rail said electrification now, as part of the Scottish Government’s decarbonisation action plan, will enable the earliest possible transition to electric services minimising future passenger disruption and ensuring work is delivered at the most efficient cost.
Bill Reeve, director of rail at Transport Scotland, said, “The Levenmouth Rail Link demonstrates our ambition not just for improving and investing in Scotland’s Railway, but also our commitment to communities as new rail links bring many additional benefits such as connectivity to the wider economic area to allow new journeys for work, education and leisure.
“Our experience from the highly successful Borders railway project makes clear the maximum benefits of the railway investment are realised where they are delivered as a package of improved transport measures and underpinned with community initiatives and projects. That is exactly what we are doing at Levenmouth as we work towards our decarbonisation and net zero targets.
“It will give people the opportunity to travel to and from Levenmouth more sustainably and by including active travel links, we can encourage greener end-to-end journeys.”
Alex Hynes, MD of Scotland’s Railway, added,“Scotland’s Railway has a great record of opening new stations and new lines, which help to drive further investment in communities and create new opportunities for local people. Construction of the new Levenmouth Rail Link is a major step towards transforming travel in the local area by creating new transport hubs connected to communities by active travel routes to enhance connectivity.
“But more than this, it has the potential to improve social and economic conditions and deliver opportunities for jobs, education, recreation and tourism and make a real difference to people’s lives. We are committed to working alongside the Scottish Government to open up our railway to as many communities as possible across Scotland and look forward to adding this new line onto the rail network.”