Double tracking and electrification plans unveiled for Levenmouth rail link
The return of rail services to Levenmouth moved a step closer today with confirmation by transport minister Graeme Dey that the line would be double tracked and electrified.
Mr Dey was speaking during a visit to Leven where he also announced the options being taken forward for the locations for Leven and Cameron Bridge Stations.
The project is currently considering a number of options which include:
- 19 single track kilometres of new/reinstated railway.
- Two new modern accessible stations
- Provision for efficient electrification of the line in the future
- Work with partners to optimise travel/interchange options connecting stations
The project is also continuing to develop options for connection to the Heritage Railway and to support future freight aspirations.
The Leven Station is to be located behind the Leisure Centre and Cameron Bridge Station will be to the east of the A915. The options were confirmed following detailed development work as well as stakeholder consultation for the new rail link.
Network Rail has been commissioned to design and construct the Levenmouth rail link. The project costs will be confirmed with Final Business Case, expected towards the end of this year.
And while the line will be electrified with overhead wires, services will be operated initially by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.
Project timescales will depend on Fife Council planning processes, subject to which the line should be open in 2024.
Mr Dey said: “I’m pleased to confirm that we plan to double track and electrify the Levenmouth rail link and also open two new stations. This will ensure local communities can benefit from improved connectivity and sustainable travel options.
“Our Programme for Government made a commitment to decarbonising Scotland’s Railway and growth in rail use is an essential part of decarbonising the total transport mix. Investment in sustainable transport must be front and centre when deciding on future priorities.
“This scheme will see the re-opening of the disused rail line between Thornton junction and Leven, providing new passenger rail services to connect the Levenmouth area to Fife, Edinburgh, and the wider rail network.
“I look forward to seeing this exciting project get underway in the coming months and would like to thank everyone involved in getting it to this stage.”
Network Rail’s capital delivery director Kris Kinnear said: “We’re working hard alongside the Scottish Government to bring the benefits of the railway to communities across Scotland.
“The minister’s announcement today is a green light to reconnect Leven to the mainline network. The new railway will enhance the communities it serves and contribute positively to the lives of the people who live there by unlocking access to social, cultural, employment and educational opportunity.
“We will continue to engage with the local community and stakeholders as we work to develop and deliver the project by December 2023.”
Electrification reduces journey times, thus expanding labour markets and improving access to education, potentially benefitting socio-economically disadvantaged groups.
The improvements identified for local bus services, active travel and the Blueprint fund are being progressed by Fife Council.
It is anticipated that the existing track will be removed this year with station designs completed and planning applications made in Autumn 2021. Main construction works are expected to begin early next year.