All aboard for the art express round Fife ...

Sheena (left) and Maureen receive their award from John Yellowlees, ScotRail's external relations manager
Sheena (left) and Maureen receive their award from John Yellowlees, ScotRail's external relations manager

An innovative art project based around railway stations on the Fife Circle line has scooped a prestigious award from the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.

The ‘Circle Line Converstations’ project, undertaken by writer Sheena Watson from Kinghorn and artist Maureen Sangster from Kirkcaldy, has come runner up in the Community Rail Awards 2014, in the Community Arts Schemes – Renewable and Smaller Projects category, sponsored by First Great Western.

The pair collaborated on the project last year after the idea was sparked by a chance conversation about the 100 year anniversary of Mary Campbell’s writing of the poem ‘The Boy on the Train.’

It featured a series of fictional historical conversations between famous people at the various Fife Circle stations, with accompanying posters to illustrate them. A booklet containing the words and pictures was also published and is on sale locally.

It was taken on board by ScotRail who helped the initiative’s development and agreed to display the posters and conversations at the stations to give passengers something more original to view while waiting for their trains.

The project was shortlisted for the award at the beginning of September this year, and the winners announced at the annual Gala Awards Ceremony in Scarborough last week.

The Fife Circle Line project was awarded second place in its category and was commended by the judges for excellence in the use of the Scots language.

Sheena Watson said: “We are both extremely delighted that our writing and artwork has received this recognition from the ACoRP judges. All of the art and writing can be viewed in the southbound waiting room gallery at Inverkeithing station where all 22 posters adorn the walls.”

Michael Portillo, whose grandfather John Blyth was a linen manufacturer in Kirkcaldy, was presented with a copy of the publication, which records all of the artwork and conversations, during a visit to Fife as part of the filming of his sixth series of Great British Railway Journeys.

The project was helped to get off the ground by John Yellowlees, ScotRail’s external relations manager.

While researching the idea, Maureen and Sheena visited all the stations along the Fife Circle line and spoke to rail commuters and passengers to find inspiration, doing a lot of their drawing and writing on location.

ScotRail covered the cost of printing the posters and provided free travel tickets for the women and Fife Contemporary Art and Craft also helped with the funding.

The book, ‘Circle Line – Converstations’ is on sale in the Kirkcaldy Galleries shop and the news kiosk at Inverkeithing railway station.