The campaign to reopen the Levenmouth rail link moved further up the track this week.
The reopening of the line for freight and passengers between Methil Docks and Thornton North Junction is one of six options which have been put forward for detailed consideration.
The second of three reports published by Transport Scotland, appraising transport in Levenmouth, considered 12 options.
It stated that the reopening of the line would bring major benefits to transport access and connectivity to and from the Levenmouth area for people and businesses, the economy, and accessibility and social inclusion.
It did, however, warn that major consideration would have to be taken of the financial risks and costs involved in bringing the rail line up to standard and operating the service.
Other transport options recommended for detailed appraisal include improving bus services or the active travel network. The detailed work is ongoing with the final report on the preferred option programmed for June.
Eugene Clark, chair of the Levenmouth Rail Campaign, said he was “delighted” with the outcome of the second stage of the report.
“It is very much a step in the right direction,” he said. “If it had not been on the list, that would’ve been the end of it.”
However, he did raise concerns about further delays, adding: “Transport Scotland doesn’t seem to be aware of the concept of urgency.”
The report was also welcomed by the Fife Council co-leaders, David Alexander and David Ross.
Cllr Alexander described it as a “positive step forward”, while Cllr Ross added: “Transport Scotland’s endorsement of a potential rail link to Leven is significant progress.”
Cllr Colin Davidson, member of South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran), said: “This is welcome news and indicates there is a good possibility that this option will be go forward in the final report as the preferred one. “I hope the people of Levenmouth can continue to expect politicians to deliver on this, the opportunities it’ll provide and Levenmouth will no longer be the largest urban population in Scotland without a rail link.”
Local MSP Jenny Gilruth added: “I continue to believe re-establishing Leven’s rail link would be transformational. I will continue to do all in my power to ensure the Scottish Government listen to the needs of my constituents and commit to the rail link.”