A CLEAR signal to get Leven back on track

THE notion of a new rail link for Leven has been stuck on a slow train for years.

Some fear it may never arrive at its destination, with the journey delayed by hold-ups of a political and economic nature.

But one resident believes people pressure could shunt the move forward once again.

Allen Armstrong, of Buckhaven, reckons the power of local campaigns on other issues, such as the Methil Ming, and the efforts of other Scottish communities recently connected by rail, might enhance the chances of a Thornton-Leven line – if the popular support was there.

Mr Armstrong has had an admittedly quiet response so far to calls for a citizens’ campaign on the rail issue.

But he feels there is a very worthy case now to change the status of the biggest urban area in Scotland currently not served by rail.

He hoped Levenmouth might be inspired by other places such as St Andrews – a much smaller area and, unlike Leven, with no track already in place – where a similar campaign seemed to be gathering momentum and a more positive assessment.

Mr Armstrong said the prospect of a rail revival looked quite favourable as recently as 2008, when he and others on the Levenmouth Community Regeneration Group were involved in talks with Tricia Marwick MSP, now Presiding Officer at the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Armstrong said he was irritated at having to go to Markinch to get a train. “I feel out of the loop here in terms of national connections, and it’s a disgrace,” he added. “The area should be connected.”

With expansions at Diageo favouring rail communication, and the possibility of further developments down at the Energy Park, there could be sound business and economic reasons for the move, said Mr Armstrong.

The Scottish Government was also very keen on low-carbon credentials, he added, and rail travel cut down on individual journeys.

Mr Armstrong stressed he’d still be devoting his time to CLEAR, the well-known environmental and regeneration action group of which he was secretary. However, if it was successful with an application for Climate Challenge funding, which would be decided in a few weeks, it may turn more attention to promoting a rail link.

Mr Armstrong still hoped to hear from other local groups and individuals interested in taking things forward systematically.

Strategic transport consultations had indicated the restoration of a rail link would cost around £40 million, said Mr Armstrong, which seemed reasonable when compared to a project like the third Forth crossing.