Unity needed to keep Fife rail plan on track

Campaigners and elected representatives have agreed that a successful outcome in the bid to reinstate the Levenmouth rail link means working together.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 11:12 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:37 pm
There was cross party support at the recent meeting.

That was the message at the recent Levenmouth Rail Campaign meeting held at the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre in Methil.

SNP MSPs David Torrance and Jenny Gilruth were there, alongside Labour-led Fife council leader and depute leader David Ross and Lesley Laird. Local councillors Jim Young and Tom Adams were also in attendance.

And in a show of cross party support, they’ve all agreed to work with the campaigners to put on a conference in September to put the case for the link to officials from Transport Scotland and Abellio.

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Jenny, who recently met with new Transport Minister Humza Yousaf alongside David Torrance, said: “We need to work together to make this happen.

“The meeting with the minister was positive in the fact that he isn’t ruling it out.

“We now need to make more of the business opportunities that this link would bring, especially with the new Levenmouth Academy.”

David Ross, Fife Council leader, told the meeting that Fife Council had met with Transport Scotland to discuss the STAG report and how the case for the link can be strenghtened, and they would hopefully have a follow up meeting next month.

A timeline for how and when new rail projects are discussed and included in the Network Rail control period has now been released, which showed, that from autumn, stakeholders will be given an opportunity to give their input on Transport Scotland’s approach to rail investment beyond 2019 – when a new control period begins.

It was decided that in order to make the strongest case for the Levenmouth rail link, a conference involving all the key partners would be the best option.

This will preceed an autumn series of public talks, starting on September 12 with journalist David Shirres, Professor Paul Salveson of the University of Huddersfield on October 12 and Allan Maclkean of the Border Rail Campaign in November.

Meanwhile, campaigners continue to take their material out into the community, taking full advantage of the summer fete season.

Allen Armstrong, secretary, said: “It’s amazing how much of an easy sell the campaign is and almost no-one we spoke to was against it. We gathered another 1500 signatures for the petition and there was lots of positivity from young people too.”