Levenmouth Rail Link: community events unveiled as £116m rail link set to go live

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It’s the “forgotten” part of Fife - one that has been without a direct rail link for 55 years. Now, with little more than a month to go until the grand re-opening of the Levenmouth rail line, the entire community is counting down and looking to the future with hope.

A £116 million Scottish Government-funded project will reconnect the area to the railway for the first time since the last train departed in 1969.

The first train is due to depart on June 2 after the completion of two new stations - Leven and Cameron Bridge, which will offer direct journeys to Edinburgh Waverley in unjust over an hour, opening the are up to many more visitors, and the landmark day has been welcomed by the community.

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“I think Levenmouth has always felt a wee bit like a poor relation, but we’re starting to feel like we matter now,” said Teresa Watson, chair of Leven Community Council.

The first test train at the new Leven station (Pic: Network Rail)The first test train at the new Leven station (Pic: Network Rail)
The first test train at the new Leven station (Pic: Network Rail)

With just days to go until the rail link reo-pens to the public, Levenmouth communities of all ages are getting excited.

“It’s been a long haul, but I think everybody’s getting excited now,” said Councillor Alistair Suttie (SNP for Leven, Kennoway and Largo). “Some folk were a bit sceptical about it to start with, but now that we can see the [end of the line], the community is really getting excited about the whole thing.”

He continued: “It’ll be great to see Leven and Levenmouth getting back on the grid and getting opened up to the world again. Leven has a great tradition stretching way back of attracting and welcoming visitors to this corner of Fife and we’re really looking forward to doing that once again.”

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Leven community councillors and Fife councillors alike have both agreed that the rail link is breathing new life into the area and sparking a wave of positivity.

Leven returns to the rail network for the first time in five decadesLeven returns to the rail network for the first time in five decades
Leven returns to the rail network for the first time in five decades

“Over the last couple of years there have been quite a few negatives in Leven - fires in the High Street, and businesses shutting down,” Ms Watson explained.

“This rail link just seemed to spark a whole new positivity around the community. People are starting to realise what’s on their doorstep and how lucky we are with the history and heritage we’ve got.

She continued: “I think the majority of people are feeling incredibly positive now that the rail link is opening and things are happening. It's encouraging new businesses into the area already.”

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Ayshea Morris, speaking as a local business owner and a member of the Leven Community Council, said she is excited to see what the rail link can bring.

The new Cameron Bridge station (Pic: Network Rail)The new Cameron Bridge station (Pic: Network Rail)
The new Cameron Bridge station (Pic: Network Rail)

“I think we’re all really excited,” she said. “[My business] is third generation in Leven and we’ve investing a lot of money this year into our businesses to make them the best they can possibly be.”

The train line will not only connect communities in Levenmouth with the rest of Fife and beyond, but it will also give the region an opportunity to show off to the rest of the country.

“Levenmouth has got a great array of things to offer to tourists coming in. Hopefully that’ll help enhance what we’ve got and help the locals as well,” said Councillor Ken Caldwell (SNP for Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss villages). We’ve got tourism attractions right from West Wemyss right along to Lundin Links.”

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He listed the Mining Heritage Centre, the coastline, the ancient caves in Wemyss, the needlework gallery, the Buckhaven museum, the newly reopened Methil Heritage Centre, the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and many other attractions as places worthy of attention.

The first train passing through Cameron Bridge station following the successful testing of signalling along the new route. (Pic: Network Rail)The first train passing through Cameron Bridge station following the successful testing of signalling along the new route. (Pic: Network Rail)
The first train passing through Cameron Bridge station following the successful testing of signalling along the new route. (Pic: Network Rail)

“There has been lots of investment and it shows lots of people have faith in Levenmouth,” said Cllr Suttie. “I think it excites folk and encourages them. It brings their confidence levels up, and that’s where we’ll get the benefit long term.”

The rail line will officially open to the public on June 2, 2024. When it opens, it is expected that trains from Levenmouth to Edinburgh will take just 64-75 minutes.

A whole array of local events and celebrations are scheduled in the build up to the opening date. The plans aim to make the weekend one to remember.

The events include:

> Levenmouth football tournament

Monday May 6, 1:00-3:00pm at Bayview Stadium.

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The competition is open to anyone born between 2009 and 2011. Teams will be created on the day.

Levenmouth spring clean at a number of locations

> Saturday May 25, 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust is supplying the equipment needed.

> Link n Dip world record attempt

Sunday May 26, 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

Can Leven create a world record for the number of people dipping in the sea while holding hands? You can turn up on the day and be part of it - the dip take place at 3:00pm but the event features two hours of wellness beforehand. Park at Fife Heritage Railway‘s Kirkland Sidings and take a vintage bus to the beach.

> Garden party

Thursday May 30, 10:00am-2:00pm, Festival Gardens, Leven.

Join almost 150 care home residents for afternoon tea, light refreshments, and entertainment.

> Fairground on the Prom

Friday May 31 to Sunday June 2

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Enjoy all the fun of the fair with stalls and rides for all ages.

> Rail link opening day celebrations

Sunday June 2, 11.30am to 5.05pm in High Street, Leven.

There will be more than 30 stalls at a street market plus live entertainment from 11:30am onwards.

Among those taking part are Methil and Buckhaven Miners Brass Band, the Amber Barclay Academy of Dance, Highland dancers from Expressions School of Dance, Kirkcaldy singer 5 – Billy Reekie, and Lundin Links Community Choir.

Already underway are a photography competition run by Network Rail and a poetry competition schools run by local Rotarians.

Details of the official opening of the rail link have yet to be announced by Network Rail.

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