What to do with the old booking office?

Craig Suttie, Mike Deeprose, and Bruce McKenzie at the booking office
Craig Suttie, Mike Deeprose, and Bruce McKenzie at the booking office

MARKINCH residents were last weekend invited to see and discuss the future of a forgotten building there, reports KEVIN QUINN.

The old Station Booking Office has lain empty and unused since the new train station opened in 2007.

Concerned that this 166 year old building was falling into a state of disrepair, several Markinch groups have come together to help preserve it for the future. The Community Council, Heritage and Environmental Awareness groups have persuaded Network Rail that the community should have the opportunity to try and save it, forming the Markinch Campaign for Restoration of the Old Station Booking Office (CROSBO) to do so. Network Rail have agreed to lease the building to the group.

Mike Deeprose of CROSBO explained how far along this joint group is with their plans.

He said: “We hope to find a use for the building, a sustainable one for the community and to save it for the future.

“It is part of Markinch’s heritage. There is not many of this type of building left, and it is still in good condition.

“Network Rail is not inclined to do anything with it as far as we are aware.

“We have had an offer from the Railway Heritage Trust of up to 40% of the costs. But it’s just a small amount of what we will need, plus it’s up to 40%, not necessarily 40%.

“This needs community spirit, if we get community spirit and we can find a use for it then we can start looking around for the funding.

“We have had estimates, anything from £50,000 to £150,000, but they are not professional estimates.”

Neil Sutherland, another member of CROSBO, praised the Railway Heritage Trust for their help and support.

Mr Sutherland hopes that once local people realise the building is there and see its potential, that they will get on board with his restoration group and strive to see it re-opened.

He said: “At the moment we are still building our group, taking up people that are interested and want to see it restored.

“It’s about raising awareness in the community of the building. It’s been sitting here for so long, people walk past every day without registering.

“We hope that once they see it and realise it’s there they will take an interest.”

Markinch station was built in 1846, with the associated Markinch section from Coaltown to New Inn completed in 1847 at a cost of £54,000. In the 1950’s Queen Elizabeth used Markinch station on her visit to Glenrothes.