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Levenmouth rail 2020 vision - Courier 3rd Feb 2016

Levenmouth rail campaigner has 2020 vision

By Claire Warrender, 3 February 2016 1.53pm.

Trains could arrive in Leven in as little as four years if a campaign is given the right support, it has been claimed.

Levenmouth Rail Campaign (LMRC) is trying to persuade all of Scotland’s political parties to commit to supporting a rail link for the area in their election manifestos.

Transport Scotland would then have to include the scheme in its route plan when it is published this spring to ensure it is adopted by Network Rail.

LMRC chairman Eugene Clarke is confident an opening date of 2020 for the five-mile stretch of track between Leven and Thornton is achievable, although 2021 or 2022 is perhaps more realistic.

He cautioned, however, that the structure of Network Rail was under review which could cause some delay.

The Scottish Parliament election in May could be key to the group’s success, he said.

“We are trying to get a commitment to the line in all the political parties’ manifestos,” said Mr Clarke.

“None have said they are going to do it yet but the feedback we are getting is there will be some sort of support for it in all the manifestos.”

He added: “We will continue to meet the right people at Holyrood. They are holding the purse strings.”

The campaign to connect the disused track to the Fife circle line took a significant step forward in November when members of Fife Council’s executive committee approved the recommendations in a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (Stag) report.

It backed reinstating the track for passengers and freight, a step seen as vital for regenerating Levenmouth and pulling people out of poverty.

More than 10,000 local people have signed a petition calling for the route to be reconnected and the issue has been a top transport priority for Fife Council for a number of years.

It also has the backing of Fife Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Mr Clarke said: “There is a solid business case behind it.

“One of the key impacts on business is the availability of employment, and figures suggest the existence of a railway would create a 5% increase in job vacancies.

“It would have an impact not just across Fife but across the central belt.”

Rival fans unite

The Courier:  Rival football fans will team up to help Fife rail link bid By Cheryl Peebles, 21 March 2015 11.52am.

Rival football fans will unite ahead of a big clash to support a campaign to reinstate a Fife rail link. Before the match between East Fife and Arbroath supporters will gather signatures on a petition calling for the five miles of track between Leven and Thornton to be reopened. East Fife is the only team in division two without a station or rail service so while Arbroath is on the east coast main line, fans are unable to make the 40-mile journey between there and Methil by train. Lifelong Red Lichties fan Allen Armstrong said he used to travel by train to watch Arbroath away games at the old Bayview, before the line closed in 1969. East Fife supporter Eugene Clark said: “It remains a national disgrace that the Levenmouth conurbation has no direct rail link. “The rail campaign has been active this past year and a new feasibility study will commence in April 2015, funded to the tune of £100,000 by Fife Council. “Getting public backing from the fans and rail services back to Leven is more important than any single game.” Signatures will be collected before the 3pm kick-off at New Bayview, which is just 200 metres from where the Leven railway station would be.

Public must support

Council: Public must support Leven Rail Link Fife Council has pledged its commitment to the campaign to reopen the rail link between Thornton and Leven. The local authority has appealed to the public to sign the petition organised by the Levenmouth Rail Campaign. Depute Leader, councillor Lesley Laird, attended a public meeting on Wednesday and presented the case for re-instating the defunct line. Councillor Laird said: "Re-opening the Levenmouth Rail Link is vital for improving the local economy. "Levenmouth has so much to offer residents, businesses and tourists. There is no doubt, improving its transportation links would open up the potential of the area and its people to do even more.".. More on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-31146978

Courier Dec15

LMRC Weekly `column' East Fife Mail

East Fife Mail November 2015

Council moves ahead on rail link E Fife Mail 20/8/14

Scotsman 23rd July

Scotsman  Letters :  Getting on track    Published on the 25 July 2014

The excellent article by David Spaven (Friends of The Scotsman, 23 July) making the strong case for reopening the mothballed Thornton-Leven branch line ­raises the question of why this has not already happened.

Is it because expensive transport projects with higher prestige value (the second road bridge, Edinburgh’s trams and even the Borders Railway) have taken precedence over a mundane branch line reopening, however effective the modest £55 million investment required would prove by comparison?

The passenger case is actually much stronger than the article presents – according to the latest KnowFife data, the Levenmouth area has a population of 37,824 and the adjoining Largo and East Neuk a population of 14,013.

In other words, more than 14 per cent of Fife’s total population (Scotland’s third largest local authority area) have no rail connection.

The Mid Fife Local Plan envisages the building of a further 1,650 homes in the near future to add to those numbers. What are we still waiting for?

Marion Garry Viewforth  Buckhaven

Comments   gus1940  10:21 AM on 25/07/2014    Re-opening along with a sensible amount of housebuilding would take pressure off the Edinburgh housing market and its crazy prices.

Courier 12th July

East Fife Mail - LMRC launch

Courier article

Council chiefs urged to get behind Levenmouth rail link campaign

By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, 12 April 2014

A call has been made to see if council chiefs still back rebuilding a rail line it is claimed could rejuvenate the local economy.

Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance has written to Fife Council chief executive Steve Grimmond following a public meeting which called for a reinstatement of a Levenmouth rail link.

Members of Levenmouth Rail Campaign (LMRC) held the public meeting on Thursday night, when Mr Torrance gave an update on recent talks with the transport minister.

Allen Armstrong, interim secretary of LMRC, said it was time to put the rail link, which closed to passengers in 1969, back on the agenda.

However, he said it would take a strong local campaign to get wheels in motion.

Mr Torrance said in his letter to Mr Grimmond: As you are undoubtedly aware, the Levenmouth area is now the largest urban area without a rail link in Scotland.

Securing the future of this project would not only benefit local businesses such as Diageo, which could utilise the rail link to move goods by freight but also those within Fife Energy Park, a site which has huge potential and is expanding in response to high demand.

Furthermore, reinstating the rail link would increase the attractiveness to investors of reopening Methil Docks for commercial use.

In addition, as tourism is one of Fife Councils main priorities, a rail link to the Levenmouth area would improve its accessibility for visitors, thereby boosting the local economy.

It would also help alleviate pressure on the Standing Stane road, heavily used by commuters driving to Kirkcaldy for travel via rail. This problem is worsened by the fact that existing road links in and around Levenmouth are relatively poor.

I would be grateful if you could confirm whether the reinstatement of the Thornton to Levenmouth rail link remains Fife Councils number one transport priority.

If this is not the case, I would appreciate it if you could confirm where this lies on the councils transportation agenda.

Secondly, could you please confirm whether the 2 million which was earmarked by the previous administration from capital funds to help improve Levenmouths rail infrastructure is still available.

Mr Torrance is also asking whether Fife Council would be prepared to fund an update of a feasibility study from 2008, or undertake a new study.

This could be vital to promote the case with the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland.

Additionally, Mr Torrance said the reinstated link would greatly improve the ease of commuting for many of his constituents.

He added: I am keen to hear what kind of commitment Fife Council is able to make to residents of the Levenmouth area.

Last month Cowdenbeath MSP and former Fife council leader Alex Rowley called on the Scottish Government to support key drivers in the Fife economy, which would include investment in the rail link.

He warned the potential for major economic development along the so-called Fife Energy Corridor might only be achievable if there is significant investment in the transport infrastructure.

Recent letters to the national press

Herald, Scotsman, Courier - Wednesday 5 March 2014

Rail revolution should start with communities cut off from network

Transform Scotland's call for a rail revolution seeks improvements for faster and greener rail transport including measures to cut key journey times ("Transport activists in call for rail revolution", The Herald, March 3).

What the Inter-City Express Campaign is missing is the vital ingredient of connectivity and thus their argument risks repeating some of the mistakes of both Beeching's rationalisation and the case for HS2.

Here in Levenmouth in east-central Fife, despite the presence of a high-standard mothballed line of under five miles between Thornton and Leven, our 37,000 population plus 15,000 in nearby East Neuk enjoy no immediate access to the national rail network, while Scotland's largest distillery, open-cast coalmines and Fife Energy Park along its route are compelling arguments for freight use.

Feasibility studies conducted in 2008 gave a positive assessment of a reopened line's viability (at a 2015 cost of 78 million).

For the sake of inclusion, surely one pressing priority for Transform and Transport Scotland in any rail revolution should be to reconnect larger communities close to existing lines.

AA LevenMouth Rail Campaign,36 College Street, Buckhaven, Fife.

  
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