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Link backed by £70m

Mothballed Fife rail route to be reopened after half a century

A disused railway link in Fife is to reopen 50 years after it was closed, with the Scottish government pledging £70 million to ensure the project goes ahead.

Transport and Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson confirmed the decision today when he met council leaders and local community groups.  He said a rail link with stops in Leven and Cameron Bridge combined with improved bus services as well as cycling and walking facilities emerged as the best performing options in the Levenmouth Sustainable Transport Study. 

It suggested that by 2037 the line will be used by 750,000 passengers a year, with a 70-75 minute journey time from Leven to Edinburgh.

Fife Council co-leader, David Alexander said: “This is a critically important project. Improved transport will unlock growth, jobs, tourism and new housing.

This is the latest investment in Fife’s infrastructure with £45.3 million for the new Levenmouth Academy, £400m in superfast broadband and the £1.35bn Queensferry Crossing.

Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP Jenny Gilruth, who has campaigned for the line to reopen, said: “After exactly 50 years since it closed, the Leven Railway will reopen under an SNP government – I could not be more proud or delighted by this news.

“This announcement has the potential to change lives and give the Levenmouth area a new lease of life. It will bring jobs, it will bring investment and it will create huge opportunities for future generations.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that the project has been given the green light by the Scottish Government. There will be lasting benefits for people across my constituency and beyond for years to come.

“Convenient, green transport links are essential for our future economy but also for getting more people on public transport as we tackle climate change.

“For local residents, for businesses, for visitors, for everyone – the impact the Levenmouth rail will have cannot go understated.”

Michael Matheson

Michael Matheson: better access

Mr Matheson said: “I am extremely pleased that the case has been made for the Levenmouth rail link and I look forward to seeing this project being taken forward to the next stages of design.

“The detailed appraisal work that has been carried out suggests that improved transport links, which give Leven a direct rail link to the capital, will lead to an enhanced local economy, bringing better access to employment and education and the potential for new investment. Easier and more sustainable travel options will make it easier for people to reach hospitals, schools and visit other areas of the country as well as giving better access to Levenmouth.

“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of local MSPs, elected members and interest groups who have campaigned for the reopening of this line and I look forward to working with all partners to realise all of the benefits that improved connectivity can bring.”

North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie said: “Grit, charm and bloody mindedness has won the campaign to bring back the railway to Levenmouth.

“The Levenmouth Rail Campaign, with the staunch support of local people, has persuaded the authorities that there would be a powerful economic, social and environmental benefit with the reopening of the line. I’m delighted with this progress. Let’s get it built now.”

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