Full steam ahead for rail campaign

In 1964 when this picture was taken, St Andrews was a busy station, providing rail links across Scotland.

In 1964 when this picture was taken, St Andrews was a busy station, providing rail links across Scotland.

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Campaigners for the reinstatement of the St Andrews rail link are to take advice from the team who saw the reintroduction of the Alloa link in 2008.

Starlink, the body campaigning for the rail link, will join with the town’s community council to liaise with representatives of other communities who have successfully retained or had their rail connections restored, to learn what the implications could be for St Andrews.

Starlink convener Jane Ann Liston said: “From the number of ordinary St Andreans who raise the subject with me, I know that the desire to reconnect St Andrews with the rail network has grassroots support in the town, although the benefits of a rail service would be felt far beyond St Andrews.

“It is planned to liaise with representatives of other communities who have successfully retained or had restored their rail connections, to learn what the implications could be for St Andrews.”

Starlink has been campaigning for more than 25 years for the line to be restored, and in 2012 the organisation produced a report identifying a 4.7 miles long route between St Andrews and the East Coast Main Line along with an indicative timetable an hourly service to Edinburgh and to Dundee,

That report estimated the cost of the line would be around £76 million, with passenger numbers estimated at between 385,000 and 508,000 a year.

St Andrews’ rail link fell victim to the Beeching cuts in 1969, and in his book ‘The Great Railway Conspiracy’ railway expert David Henshaw says that St Andrews should never have left the rail network in 1969, commenting: “It’s a university town on the outer edge of Edinburgh commuter territory, and home to major golf tournaments, factors that add considerably to the case for reinstatement.”

Railfuture Scotland, in its proposals for improving the rail network, has included St Andrews in its list of 23 short branches that should be constructed.

And Starlink’s campaign has also been endorsed by transport expert Lord Faulkner of Worcester,

Ms Liston committed the campaigning group to continuing its work and commented: “All that is needed is the political will to make it happen, so the Starlink campaign will continue to reinforce the already strong case for the line to help bring this about.