Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Joy as work begins on Levenmouth rail link but concern over delays, soaring costs and freight

Allen Armstrong at the site of the old Cameron Bridge station, near Diageo's distillery.
Allen Armstrong at the site of the old Cameron Bridge station, near Diageo's distillery.

Construction work on the long-awaited Levenmouth rail link is finally under way.

And the local community is delighted steps to re-introduce passenger trains to the area are now on track.

However, people who campaigned for many years to reopen the five mile route between Leven and Thornton also have some concerns about the project.

Firstly, the opening date has been pushed back by three months.

Originally targeted for December 2023, it is now more likely to launch in March 2024.

Allen Armstrong is concerned about the Levenmouth rail link delay.

And there are also questions over the location of a freight terminal, as well as changes to the Scotrail timetable.

In addition, the cost has soared since the original £70 million estimate in 2019.

And it is now likely to come in at £116.6m.

The new rail link will bring passenger services back to Leven for the first time in 55 years.

It’s the most populous part of the country without a railway and there are high hopes it will help regenerate the area.

Relief but ‘certain doubts’ remain

Allen Armstrong, chairman of the Levenmouth Rail Campaign group, is relieved the track is finally going down.

And he hailed it as good news for the community.

But, he said, the three issues have cast “certain doubts” over the project.

“The timetable for reopening the line and resuming train services appears to be slipping,” he said.

“Since the August 2019 go-ahead, December 2023 has been the target date.

“Now we hear a revised date is likely to be March 2024.

“It’s disappointing that what seemed like a rather conservative estimate of implementation is further extended.

“Any steps that can be taken to explain and reduce this delay would be greatly appreciated.”

Concern freight terminal could be in Thornton

Talks about creating a freight terminal are ongoing and the rail campaign is firmly in favour.

But there is concern that one of the two sites being considered is in Thornton.

The other is at the former creosote works at Kirkland sidings.

Dr Armstrong said locating a freight terminal several miles away from Diageo, the area’s biggest employer, was difficult to justify.

He said: “The campaign is strongly in favour of maximising the line’s freight potential, an opportunity not available to other recent successful rail re-openings.

“However, we have serious concerns that, if located in Thornton, this would do little to reduce HGV movements, pollution and damage on local roads.

“Local roads connecting Levenmouth to trunk roads are already heavily used and prone to disruption.”

Finally, changes to the Scotrail timetable from May means Perth trains will go via Kirkcaldy instead of Dunfermline.

And the rail campaigners fear this could lead to congestion and impact on journey times.

Dr Armstrong added: “There is still hope that further timetable revisions may mitigate this concern.

“But we are wary of Levenmouth links being placed at a disadvantage from the outset.”

Levenmouth rail link: Delivering jobs, education and tourism

Network Rail’s work includes the removal of the old track bed.

Then a new double track railway will go down before two new stations open at Cameron Bridge and Leven.

And there is scope for tourist and charter trains also using the line.

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s director of rail, said the rail link would bring many benefits.

“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.”

In Levenmouth, the package includes improved bus and cycling routes and other community projects.

The River Leven area will be improved as part of the project.

Meanwhile, Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway, said the construction was a major step towards transforming travel in the area.

“But more than this, it has the potential to improve social and economic conditions and deliver opportunities for jobs, education, recreation and tourism,” Mr Hynes said.

And Fife Council co-leader David Alexander agrees.

The SNP councillor lives in Levenmouth and was involved in the campaign to reopen the rail link.

Now we’ll start to see Levenmouth’s future start taking shape.”

Councillor David Alexander

He said: “We’re delighted work has started to return the rail line to Levenmouth.

“This link will increase employment opportunities, as well as improve access to education, health and leisure services.

“It’s exciting times for Levenmouth.

“There’s been a lot of hard work going on in the background.

“And now we’ll start to see Levenmouth’s future start taking shape.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]