Piling work to electrify Leven line begins

Work to lay the foundations that will pave the way for the electrification of the Levenmouth Rail Link is about to get underway.

The first phase of work between Thornton Junction and Haugh Mill Lade will see the project pile foundations for masts that will carry overhead wires in readiness for the introduction of quieter and more environmentally friendly electric trains.

Work to install the piles will begin on Monday October 24 and will last for circa three weeks as the first piles are inserted to the west of the rail corridor - mostly during day-time working. One night of overnight piling will be required for locations closest to Thornton Junction and this is scheduled for Saturday October 29.

Further piling along the Levenmouth rail corridor is being programmed so that it works in tandem with other activities on the project, such as work on bridges and track laying.

Piling rig working lineside
Piling rig working lineside

Piling is an essential part of laying the foundations for the newly electrified railway and it is among the noisiest work activities on the railway and can be disruptive. Homes closest to the work sites have been notified by letter to make them aware of the possible noise.

While the work is being delivered as part of the reinstatement of the branch, electrification of the line to Leven is part of the wider electrification of the railway in Fife as part of the Scottish Government’s plan to decarbonise passenger services on the network by 2035.

Work on the Levenmouth Rail Link is scheduled to complete in spring 2024 and services will initially be in introduced using diesel trains. By this point however, the line will be future-proofed to enable the introduction of Battery Electric Multiple Units (BEMUs) to replace life-expired diesel units which will be phased out on completion of the wider Fife electrification project.

Thornton junction will see first Fife piling
Thornton junction will see first Fife piling

Sean Clemie, earthworks and structures lead for the project said: “The first piles going into the ground in the Thornton area is big for the project but also an important milestone for the wider aspirations to decarbonise the railway across Fife.

“With the first mile of the Leven branch already operational railway, we can use this to move the track-based piling rig to each location to sink the foundations and then insert the masts that will ultimately carry the overhead wires that will power the railway.

“The start of this phase of work is another sign that the project is really taking shape. It’s an exciting step forward for the team as we work towards delivering an electrified railway for Levenmouth and in creating an even greener, cleaner, and more reliable railway for Scotland.’’