St Andrews rail link: Public urged to have say on exciting options for town

Reintroducing a rail link to St Andrews is just one of a range of exciting options members of the public are being encouraged to have their say on over the coming weeks.

By Craig Smith, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 12:23 pm

The St Andrews Transport Study, which was commissioned in 2019 after the St Andrews Rail Link (StARLink) campaign secured Scottish Government funding, concluded that the university town’s current transport arrangements are inadequate and argued that the case for change had been made.

Carried out by Stantec, the study has now reached the public consultation stage of its initial options appraisal and campaigners are being urged to air their views on ideas mooted so far as part of the process before a closing date in just over three weeks’ time.

Top of the wishlist is the long-standing aim of StARLink to see heavy rail return to St Andrews for the first time since the link was closed in 1969, with the potential of a St Andrews to Dundee shuttle passenger service and regular St Andrews to Edinburgh trains no doubt the ideal scenario.

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However, another option could be a new fixed off-road light rail service from St Andrews to Leuchars that could be timed to meet train arrivals, combined with a new Park and Ride where the new line would meet the A91 near Seggie.

Away from rail, new Leuchars to St Andrews branded and bespoke bus services could similarly be explored and could be combined with a new expanded Park and Ride at Leuchars or a new Park and Ride site on the A91 east of the River Eden.

A spokesperson for StARLink commented: “Our work to date has shown that there are three key problems which underline the case for change for St Andrews.

Public views are welcomed on transport links to St Andrews

Travel to and from St Andrews from Scotland’s major towns and cities by public transport is slow, compared to travelling between these major towns and cities. If travelling by rail, an interchange to car/taxi/bus/bicycle is required at Leuchars adding to actual and perceived journey times, and creating uncertainty for those unfamiliar with the area.

“Bus connectivity between local settlements is limited by the timing of the first arrival in/last departure from St Andrews.

“Road-based connectivity to the trunk road network is on single carriageway routes with a mix of traffic types which pass through towns and settlements affecting journey times.

“In addition to these specific transport problems, our work highlighted that the town of St Andrews is in a unique position as it is one of Scotland’s key tourist destinations attracting 2.8 million visitor trips in 2018 and in years where the Open Championship is staged in the town this number swells significantly.

“The town is home to the world renowned University of St Andrews, it is the home of golf and location of the R&A, seven golf courses including the world-famous Old Course, St Andrews Botanic Garden, an aquarium, the Byre Theatre and two outstanding beaches.

“As a major visitor attraction without direct rail access, car based travel dominates for those travelling to and from the town and this creates a range of problems both at the national level and in the town itself.”

The public can have their say via https://arcg.is/mfPPD0, and the closing date for responses is March 7.

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