MSP’s get behind local rail campaign

Leven Rail Link'Power Station'railway'line'Leven to Thornton
Leven Rail Link'Power Station'railway'line'Leven to Thornton

A campaign to reinstate the Levenmouth rail link continues to gather pace thanks to support from MSPs.

Last week, Labour MSP Claire Baker questioned the Scottish Government’s commitment to the project, while SNP MSP David Torrance has urged Fife Council to clarify its position in relation to the campaign.

At Scottish Parliament General Questions, Ms Baker asked the parliament where the reintroduction of the rail link ranked among its transport priorities.

Responding, deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the position taken after the publication of the 2008 Strategic Transport Projects Review - which noted the reinstatement did not have any national benefits - still stood, but that the project did have its merits.

When asked by Ms Baker if the parliament recognised the case for the link in light of major developments, Ms Sturgeon noted that ministers are willing to consider intervention if an affordable business case can be put forward, but that responsibility to demonstrate the need lay with the promoter. She also advised that any promoter look at the possibility of a refresh of the 2008 STAG base study.

Mr Torrance has also raised the issue at a local level with Fife Council. In a letter he received, Transport Scotland echoed Ms Sturgeon’s suggestion that promoters approach SEStran to assess how the proposals currently fit with local and regional transport priorities and, if appropriate, to undertake a refreshed STAG based study. He has now issued a call to Fife Council to ask when it intends to initiate a new study.

Following the General Questions session at the Scottish Parliament last week, Liz Smith MSP has given her backing to the rail campaign.

She said: “Conservatives support calls for the re-opening of the Thornton to Leven rail link.

“The re-opening of the Thornton to Leven rail link will really open up Levenmouth and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.

“Commuters in the Levenmouth area would obviously benefit from the reopening of the line, but the industrial revitalisation of the whole area that might result from it is every bit as important.

“I hope that early discussions can take place between all interested parties and that a re-assessment of the STAG can help secure the support and resources to realise the re-opening of the rail link between Thornton to Leven.”

The campaign has been ‘rebooted’ thanks to a dedicated group of campaigners working under the name of the Levenmouth Rail Campaign (LMRC). They meet every Thursday evening in the Regen office at 36 College St, Buckhaven.