Rail services took one step closer to returning to Levenmouth with the confirmation that plans would be progressed for the double tracking and electrification of the line, according to Scottish Government Transport Minister Graeme Dey.
Speaking during a visit to Leven, Mr Dey also announced options were being taken forward for the locations of the Leven and Cameron Bridge stations.
The two proposed station sites were confirmed following in-depth development work and stakeholder consultation on the new rail link.
Design and construction of the Levenmouth rail link has been commissioned out to Network Rail, with projects costs due to be confirmed towards the end of this year with the final business case.
While overhead wires will be electrified, services on the new rail line will initially be operated by battery electric units, helping reduce the number of diesel units operating on the network.
Current project timescales, which are subject to Fife Council planning processes, intend for the line to be in operation in 2024.
Mr Dey said: “I’m pleased to confirm that we plan to double track and electrify the Levenmouth rail link and also open two new stations. This will ensure local communities can benefit from improved connectivity and sustainable travel options.
“Our Programme for Government made a commitment to decarbonising Scotland’s Railway and growth in rail use is an essential part of decarbonising the total transport mix. Investment in sustainable transport must be front and centre when deciding on future priorities.
“This scheme will see the re-opening of the disused rail line between Thornton junction and Leven, providing new passenger rail services to connect the Levenmouth area to Fife, Edinburgh, and the wider rail network.
“I look forward to seeing this exciting project get underway in the coming months and would like to thank everyone involved in getting it to this stage.”
Network Rail’s Capital Delivery Director Kris Kinnear added: “We’re working hard alongside the Scottish Government to bring the benefits of the railway to communities across Scotland.
“The Minister’s announcement today is a green light to reconnect Leven to the mainline network. The new railway will enhance the communities it serves and contribute positively to the lives of the people who live there by unlocking access to social, cultural, employment and educational opportunity.
“We will continue to engage with the local community and stakeholders as we work to develop and deliver the project by December 2023.”