How campaigners won battle to reopen Levenmouth rail link

The Levenmouth Rail Campaign group welcomed the news.
The Levenmouth Rail Campaign group welcomed the news.

In 2014, seven local residents met at the CLEAR offices in Buckhaven with one shared goal – to see the Levenmouth rail link reopened.

Previous campaigns had tried to achieve the same goal, but had nothing to show for their efforts. But this group believed that the argument for reinstating the line was overwhelming – a case of ‘social injustice’.

When one of its members wrote a letter to the Herald, signing off as the Levenmouth Rail Campaign, the wheels started turning.

The campaign group slowly increased in members – it now has around 20 – and began its five-year fight for the line to be restored. The members turned up at public events, including East Fife matches, gathering support for their cause. In 2017, the group presented a petition with 12,506 signatures to then Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

It started organising its monthly public meetings, and refused to give in even when some of them were poorly attended. And the campaigners continued to question MSPs and councillors about the lack of progress. At a debate at the Scottish Parliament in September 2017, Mr Yousaf even described the person who does the campaign’s Twitter account as ‘persistent’.

“Somehow anything I tweet about always seems to come back to the Levenmouth rail campaign,” he added.

But it was this persistence that paid off. At that same debate, Mr Yousaf announced that the Scottish Government would be commissioning a report into transport situation in Levenmouth.

The findings of the Levenmouth Sustainable Transport Study led to the announcement last week that the line would be reopened.

“It’s been a long struggle,” said LMRC member Dr Allen Armstrong. “We were always aware of the need to keep the regular drum beat of press. But if it hadn’t been a community campaign, it wouldn’t have happened.

“It’s been five-and-a-half years watching it proceed at a snail’s pace.”

But what next? Dr Armstrong said the group would not be disbanding, and would seek a place at the table when the Levenmouth Blueprint is drawn up, to make sure the area makes the most of the rail link it has fought so hard to get.