Commitment to open Levenmouth rail link ‘as soon as possible’

All parties involved with the Levenmouth rail link are committed to reopening it as soon as possible, the Scottish transport secretary has said.

MSP Michael Matheson was questioned on the progress of the reopening of the rail link by MSPs David Torrance, Jenny Gilruth and Alexander Stewart at Holyrood last week, who asked for updates on the project.

Survey work is currently being carried on the site, which will help determine what scheme is used to reopen the line.

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“All partners involved in the delivery are committed to an opening as soon as possible,” said Mr Matheson.

Mr Matheson was also asked about the progress of the Levenmouth Blueprint.

Fife Council and the Scottish Government have each committed £5 million to the fund, which will be used to make sure the area makes the most of the rail link.

Mr Torrance highlighted that Fife Council had yet to secure a project manager to co-ordinate the £10m fund.

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“I understand they have had difficulty recruiting a programme manager to take this piece of work forward,” said Mr Matheson.

“They are due to re-advertise for the post. However, should they be unable to secure the right individual to take forward this particular element of the redevelopment of the Levenmouth line, then the leadership group will look at other options that can assist in making further progress with this matter and to assist Fife Council in making progress on the issue.”

Mr Stewart asked what assurances could be given that locals would benefit from training opportunities linked to the rail link.

“National Rail will be looking at how it can engage with a range of local businesses and companies around training provision in the area,” responded Mr Matheson.

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“What we want to do is make sure that in reopening the line there are wider benefits that the Levenmouth and Fife community can gain.”

However, the Levenmouth Rail Link Campaign said it was “confused” by the responses.

LMRC chair Eugene Clarke said: “On the one hand he admitted that the blueprint group had not yet been set up by Fife Council and that he may have to involve other national organisations; while on the other his second response implied that a lot of the work would be carried out only by that same body.

“We know that the first general design stage will report in June which does not give a lot of time for our local community to get involved.

“LMRC have decided to take the initiative and will be start our own consultative process at our February Action Meeting on February 25.”