Jubilant campaigners are celebrating after the Scottish Government signalled the green light for a new Levenmouth rail link.
Transport Minister Michael Matheson has announced the five miles of track between Leven and Thornton will be reinstated at a cost of £70 million.
It is hoped that in five years’ time the railway should be up and running.
Mr Matheson confirmed the news today when he met council leaders and local community groups.
The room erupted in cheers and applause when it was announced.
Local SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth said: “Levenmouth is now officially back on track.”
A proposed rail link with stops in Leven and Cameron Bridge combined with improved bus services as well as cycling and walking facilities emerged as the best performing options in the Levenmouth Sustainable Transport Study.
The appraisal concluded that these measures would enhance employment opportunities as well as access to education, health and leisure services.
Mr Matheson also committed an additional £5 million to a Levenmouth Blueprint fund available to partners to maximise the benefits of the Scottish Government investment in the area.
Mr Matheson said: “I am extremely pleased that the case has been made for the Levenmouth rail link and I look forward to seeing this project being taken forward to the next stages of design.
“The detailed appraisal work that has been carried out suggests that improved transport links, which give Leven a direct rail link to the capital, will lead to an enhanced local economy, bringing better access to employment and education and the potential for new investment.
“Easier and more sustainable travel options will make it easier for people to reach hospitals, schools and visit other areas of the country as well as giving better access to Levenmouth.
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of local MSPs, elected members and interest groups who have campaigned for the reopening of this line and I look forward to working with all partners to realise all of the benefits that improved connectivity can bring.”
Mr Matheson’s statement marks the end of a high-profile campaign lasting several years.
It is hoped reopening the railway will mark the start of a turnaround in Levenmouth’s fortunes by encouraging economic investment and attracting tourists.
It also means employment and educational opportunities elsewhere in the country will become more accessible for local people.
Mr Matheson was in Methil to reveal the final outcomes of the Levenmouth Sustainable Transport Study.
The rail link was just one of the options under consideration.
Improvements to local and regional bus services were also being examined in a bid to improve the area’s public transport infrastructure which is widely regarded as poor.
Transport Scotland previously said reopening the rail link for passengers and freight would bring major benefits for the economy and provide access to key destinations for employment, further education, healthcare and social activities.
However, it warned the high cost of providing the line would be a strong consideration in the decision-making process.