St Andrews rail link bid gathers steam with Tay Cities Deal hope

© DC ThomsonMembers of the Starlink group who launched the study - Richard Batchelor, treasurer, Jane Ann Liston, convenor, and Dita Stanis-Traken, secretary.
Members of the Starlink group who launched the study - Richard Batchelor, treasurer, Jane Ann Liston, convenor, and Dita Stanis-Traken, secretary.

A case for a rail link to St Andrews could be bolstered by cash from the Tay Cities Deal.

Fife Council has requested a share of the £1.84 billion investment for a study into the feasibility of reconnecting the university town to the rail line.

Campaign group StARLink said a grant could fund a STAG appraisal, which is necessary for the project to win government backing.

A St Andrews rail link is one of 50 projects on a long list for Tay Cities Deal cash, and StARLink pledged to fight to ensure it makes it to the shortlist.

The group launched its transport study at an event in St Andrews on Friday, and hopes it will pave the way to a formal STAG assessment.

Secretary Dita Stanis-Traken said: “Campaigning will continue until governmental commitment is made.

“There will be a St Andrews rail link.”

More than four miles of track would connect with the main east coast line and allow hourly services to Edinburgh and Dundee.

Mr Stanis-Traken said there was now movement amongst authorities towards trains returning to St Andrews.

He said: “I’m delighted to say that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent representatives from Transport Scotland to St Andrews to meet with us to outline the STAG process.

“There are now signs that agencies, local and national, are coming forward.

“Based on our status as a major destination with potential as a macroeconomic generator, the case for St Andrews rail link is overwhelming.”

StARLink stressed the need for a railway line to and from St Andrews at the launch of its transport study policy review in the town’s Student Union.

It said the town has 7,000 commuters daily, many of them university staff, and attracts 650,000 visitors a year, resulting in problems with congestion.

Some 14,000 vehicles a day use the A91, the main route into St Andrews from the M90, and more than 1,000 new homes are planned in the St Andrews West expansion.

Mr Stanis-Traken said: “We are a global destination reliant on one primary single carriageway road, the most congested road in north-east Fife.

“We cannot keep absorbing more and more cars, more and more lorries, more and more people.

“If we are going to have more houses, as seems likely, we are going to have even more traffic.”

He added: “It [a rail link] would future-proof a medieval community designed for pilgrims on foot.”

The Tay Cities Deal aims to create up to 15,000 jobs in Tayside and north-east Fife with investment from the Scottish and UK governments and their agencies, councils, colleges and universities, and the public, private and voluntary sectors.