The Scottish Government yesterday approved the proposal to reopen the Levenmouth rail link with stops in Leven and Cameron Bridge.
Following the Levenmouth Sustainable Transport Study, a proposed rail link combined with improved bus services emerged as the best performing options. Once developed, the link will provide connections from the east of Fife with Edinburgh and Dundee.
The rail link has been closed to passenger travel for five decades and Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson said he hoped the line would be operational again within five years.
Mr Matheson said: “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.”
The project will now go forward to the detailed design phase with initial estimates of construction and preparations costs of around £70m. Mr Matheson also committed an additional £5m to a Levenmouth Blueprint fund available to partners to maximise the benefits of the Scottish Government investment in the area.
The new, revived rail link will provide tourism and employment opportunities to the Levenmouth area within the next five years. Train journey times from Leven to Edinburgh will be approximately 70-75 minutes and The Levenmouth Transport Study suggests that by 2037 there will be 750,000 passengers annually boarding or alighting trains in the area.
Fife Council Co-Leader, Councillor David Ross, said: “We are delighted that the link to Levenmouth is set to reopen. We have relentlessly campaigned for this link that is set to increase employment opportunities, as well as improve access to education, health and leisure services.
“Fife Council is committed to improving life-chances for all, and this means providing local jobs for local people and improving connectivity and regional transport. The rail network is now set to be taken forward to the next stage of development, and we look forward to seeing detailed designs. We fully support this project and we will do everything that we can to bring it to fruition.”
Fife Council Co- Leader, Cllr David Alexander added: “This is a critically important project. Improved transport will unlock growth, jobs, tourism and new housing.
“Fife Council is committed to improving communities across Fife, and particularly in the mid-Fife area though our Plan for Fife – this is one of the key projects that is enabling us to regenerate and develop the area to benefit local people and businesses.”