The train now departing Kirkcaldy is for Levenmouth

A NEW passenger rail link between Kirkcaldy and Levenmouth has been proposed as part of development plans for the area over the next two decades.

Fife Council hopes that the case for opening up an existing freight line for passenger use can be strengthened over the coming years.

Tron Haugen, Transportation Manager for the council, said: "The 20-year structure plan indicates additional housing and development in the Levenmouth area, which should strengthen the case for a rail link."

While Mr Haugen said that previous estimates of the cost of providing such a link had been made, new rail safety rules, coupled with rising infrastructure costs, means that a new estimate would have to be calculated.

Mr Haugen added: "Nothing has been decided, and there is a lot of work to be undertaken before we can see about getting a new passenger service.

"But the feeling is there may be a stronger case if the development outlined in the structure plan comes to fruition."

As part of further plans to improve transport links in the area, the local authority has announced its intention to provide a cross-Forth passenger ferry from either Kirkcaldy or Burntisland, as well as more park and ride sites.

The proposals come as the council prepares to enter into discussions with Langtonians over development in the town over the next 20 years.

The consultation - "Be a part of Fife's future" - will visit Kirkcaldy on Tuesday, with a public meeting in the Town House taking place between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Visitors will be given the chance to find out more about the regeneration of Kirkcaldy town centre, as well as affordable housing development in the area.

The council has planned for 1,750 new homes to be built on the east side of the town from 2006, while a further 1,200 homes are planned in the south-west from 2011.

These areas have been earmarked as two of the six strategic development zones in the Kingdom, which the council says highlights its commitment to the area.

Keith Winter, head of development services, commented: "Regeneration and employment growth in central Fife is key to our plans for the next 20 years.

"The structure plan, transport strategy and other documents will have a significant impact on towns and villages across central Fife and the Kingdom as a whole."