Calls to improve entrance to Kirkcaldy with makeover for railway bridge

A town’s tenants and residents association and local councillor are calling on Network Rail and Fife Council to enhance the south west entrance to Kirkcaldy by carrying out improvements to a railway bridge and its surroundings.

By Debbie Clarke
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 4:25 pm

Mark Smith, who is treasurer of the Invertiel Tenants and Residents Association, and Kirkcaldy West councillor, Kathleen Leslie, say while the railway bridge is structurally safe, it is not appealing for locals and visitors to look at as it is very rusted and its paintwork has deteriorated badly.

And they say that while any improvements to the bridge – located at the entrance to the town from the B1957 – would be the responsibility of Network Rail, they are calling on Fife Council to tidy up the area surrounding it.

Mark said: “The impression for visitors entering town from the southwest does not fill locals with civic pride.

Mark Smith, treasurer of Invertiel Tenants and Residents Association, and cllr Kathleen Leslie at the railway bridge in Kirkcaldy. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

"The adjacent layby is continually subjected to fly tipping and the surrounding area is overgrown. The council has recently cut back and improved a shrubbery area, however, there are many other small improvements which would enhance the entrance.”

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He continued: "On behalf of the Invertiel Tenants and Residents Association, myself and Councillor Leslie have contacted Network Rail about the bridge. We were informed that engineers have assessed it and while it is structurally sound, they agreed it is not aesthetically appealing.

"They went on to say restorative work is not a priority for Network Rail.”

Mark said following the opening of Morrisons and Lidl, which opened in August, the association felt it is time to address the issue of the neglected railway bridge in Kirkcaldy. Pic: Fife Photo Agency.

He added: “With the construction of Morrisons and Lidl and the promise of the new Tyrie housing development we feel it is time to address this issue.”

Councillor Leslie first contacted Network Rail back in July due to local concerns about the state of the bridge.

She said: "Fife Council has put significant sums of money into the Waterfront project and they talk a lot about town centre regeneration. That needs to be expanded further out to the west of the town.

"It would be good to see the council put a case to Network Rail to request that a funding stream is looked at. It will not consider doing anything until 2024."

She also called on Fife Council tidy the area up under the bridge and to fix the Invertiel Road sign which has fallen apart.

Cllr Neil Crooks, convener of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, said he has raised the issue with relevant council officers to establish responsibilities.

He said: “I totally agree with the TRA and local councillors that the approach to Kirkcaldy from the Orrock Quarry road leaves a lot to be desired. Collectively our area committee is working hard to improve the impression of Kirkcaldy.

“Once we establish who should be maintaining the footways and railings at the bridge I’d expect to see improvements.

“Our one priority with Scotrail is convincing the Scottish Government to reject the proposals which threaten Kirkcaldy rail hub. However, we should maintain pressure to get the bridge painted and I have asked which department of Fife Council has that dialogue opportunity.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We have over 14,000 bridges and other structures across Scotland’s Railway and we must prioritise our budgets at locations where essential maintenance and renewal is required. The bridge in Kirkcaldy has been recently inspected and is structurally sound and fit for purpose.”

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