A study into restoring a rail link to St Andrews and other transport options in and around the historic town has been given a huge boost.
The St Andrews Rail Link (StARLink) campaign has been awarded a £180,000 share of £817,000 announced by transport minister Michael Matheson through the second round of grants under the £2 million Local Rail Development Fund (LDRF).
Transport Scotland’s agreement to essentially fund the complete study in accordance with LRDF guidelines gives campaigners in north east Fife renewed hope their goal of passenger services being reinstated could be within sight.
It adds to the £40,000 secured by StARLink as part of the LRDF’s first round of funding last year.
The transport appraisal will highlight various transport options for the town and comes soon after the Levenmouth rail link was approved.
Jane Ann Liston, from StARLink, was delighted to secure funding for a campaign launched nearly 30 years ago, on September 4 1989.
She said: “The award is a very welcome 30th birthday present for the StARLink campaign.
“Following the excellent news that Levenmouth is to go ahead this is more good news for Fife. Everybody agrees that the transport situation in St Andrews cannot go on as it is.
“This St Andrews Sustainability Study, which will include rail as an option, should indicate the way ahead.
“StARLink is confident that a rail option enabling direct travel to Edinburgh and Dundee will be a front-runner.”
The campaign had suffered a setback in January when a request for £8,000 from Fife Council’s local community planning budget towards the cost of a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) feasibility study on connecting the Fife town back to the rail network was voted down by the north east area committee.
Councillors said the budget should be spent on delivering “tangible” benefits for the community, and some were sceptical about the feasibility of the proposed rail link.
Critics highlighted the fact, unlike Levenmouth where a track still exists, the St Andrews project would require the creation of a completely new railway line to replace the one that closed in 1969.