Full steam ahead thanks to new funding

Jim Waters, Peter Windsor,  Ben Kirkbride (with Ruby), Adam Clark, Jim Danton, Audrey Urwin & Peter Westwater.
Jim Waters, Peter Windsor, Ben Kirkbride (with Ruby), Adam Clark, Jim Danton, Audrey Urwin & Peter Westwater.

It’s definitely full steam ahead for local charity Kingdom of Fife Railway Preservation Society, as members look ahead to big plans for the future.

The group, which was formed more than 20 years ago in 1992, has grown steadily over the two decades, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

Last week, funding of £8000 for the group was approved by councillors at the Levenmouth area committee meeting.

Commenting, Councillor Charles Haffey said: “KFRPS come across as a ‘can do’ organisation.

‘‘I think it is a marvelous organisation because it opens up the area of Leven to the wider community.

‘‘ I think after they’ve been given this money, it will be onwards and upwards.”

Cllr Tom Adams, committee chairman, added: “I very much welcome this and support it 100 per cent.”

The group hopes to use the money to resurface the entry road into its Kirkland Yard, and to also install better signage to direct people to its base.

“We sometimes get people complaining that they can’t find us,” said Jim Rankin, vice chair of KFRPS. “They can often hear us, but they can’t see us!

Following the work to make it easier to get people into the yard, the next stage for the local group is to expand the existing shed on site and acquire a larger coach.

“At the moment, we have a brake van which can hold about 12 people.

‘‘The next stage for us is to move up to a larger sized coach, because at our open days, we are getting nearly 500 people and we’re going to run out of capacity soon.

“We are already looking at a coach, but that will require considerable refurbishment, so it could take a year or so.”

But as Jim notes, what the group is really moving towards is acquiring a steam engine.

“That step is a big one, and for that we will really need to go in search of grant funding.

“It would also mean a big jump in the requirements of our volunteers.

‘‘We have a pool of about 10 - 12 right now, but we would probably need to double that.

“We are very keen and very eager to move on to that stage because I think we’ve shown now that we can walk and people can now see that we can run too.

‘‘We’ve gained that credibility – it’s only taken 20 years!”

For more information or if you would like to volunteery, contact Jim on (01592) 940590 or Peter Westwater, secretary, on (01592) 264587.