Leven Rail Link; ice cream, goodie bags and a sense of pride as Levenmouth returns to rail map

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The slogan of Levenmouth Rail Campaign said it all - “more than a transport project.”

Putting Levenmouth back on the rail network involved many organisations, but none were more doggedly determined to make it happen, and it was only right that its name sat at the very forefront of all the plaudits as the first train pulled into the new stations in Leven and Cameron Bridge for the opening ceremonies.

The journey was described as “stressless” - and it was. Just over an hour from Waverley to Leven on a sun-kissed day, and a chance to relax on a six-mile route which last hosted a train back in 1969.

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Alan Armstrong from the rail campaign group said: “We saw the opportunities out there, and a rail link was the only show to come to town to change the dynamics.”

The new train station at Cameron Bridge (Pic: Fife Free Press)The new train station at Cameron Bridge (Pic: Fife Free Press)
The new train station at Cameron Bridge (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Those dynamics cover everything from job opportunities and investment to simply being able to get to and from a show in the capital. Connectivity sits at the very heart of all we do - and want to do.

A train from Leven to Edinburgh will be 30 minutes quicker than the fastest bus, and a trip to Kirkcaldy from next year will take just 18 minutes. The benefits will ripple across Fife and beyond.

And the journey? Anyone who has hopped on a train will be familiar with the landscape as you cross the Forth Rail Bridge and head on to Aberdour and then Kirkcaldy, but the new link adds another dimension. It’s surprisingly green as you skirt round to Leven, and going behind Cameron Bridge Distillery makes you realise how vast the complex is. The hard-hatted workers who waved as we past were dwarfed by the giant warehouses.

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The train carrying dignitaries and special guests was packed. I’m sure we missed a trick not getting Provost Jim Leishman to recite a wee poem over the tannoy, while I wonder if the First Minister was tempted to don an inspector’s hat and asked to see all tickets. There’s an election in the air, after all …

There was free ice cream at Leven station while the speeches got underway, and the only blip was the cover blowing off the plaque before Mr Swinney declared it open in time honoured tradition.

If the organisers breathed a wee sigh of relief there, they were probably sent up a silent prayer to the patron saint of rail travel - and hoped few folk noticed - when the glass cover on a light shattered and sent glass crashing on to the platform a split second after guests stepped on to the train just in front of the carriage for the media.

But it was a day of folk packing perimeter fences and peering over the parapets of bridges for a glimpse of the first train, kids with flags on platforms, and a real buzz and a sense of achievement that this community - forgotten and overlooked for far too long - is now reconnected to the region and the country.

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It was a day of sprigs of heather and goodie bags with ‘Levenmouth’ writ large on everything from water bottles of sticks of rock. It was a day when the phrase “the train departing Leven is …” sparked a real sense of pride.

It was a day when Levenmouth finally reconnected.

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