Levenmouth Rail Link
Levenmouth Rail Link
The reinstatement of Levenmouth Rail Link will provide the area with a major boost to economic sustainability and connectivity.
It will deliver opportunities for local people - unlocking access to education, culture, entertainment and employment options, as well attracting new business and investment.
We understand that you will have many questions about the Levenmouth Reconnected project and we will answer them below. The FAQs section of the site will evolve and develop in tandem with the project.
If the answer to your query is not below, please use our contact form to share your question with the project team and they will come back to you.
What is being proposed for the Levenmouth project ?
Thanks to the Levenmouth Rail campaign, Network Rail has been commissioned by Transport Scotland to develop plans to reinstate the connection from the mainline rail network to Leven to restore passenger services to the town.
In railway terms, this means we will;
- Deliver 19 single track kilometers of new / reinstated railway
- Deliver two new modern accessible stations
- Make provision to enable efficient electrification of the line in the future
Throughout the duration of the project, both in planning and delivery, we will work with local partners and stakeholders to maximise the benefits that the railway can bring to the community it will serve and put in the right foundations that will ensure the long term success of the line.
This means we will;
- Work with partners to optimise travel / interchange options connecting stations.
- Work with local groups and stakeholders to support and promote social, economic and regeneration aspirations
- Work with stakeholders and local interest groups to support environmental goals and promote active travel and active leisure activities in the railway corridor
As well as reinstating passenger services, the rail link will be able to serve the needs of freight. Moving goods by rail as opposed to road will further support environmental goals and efficient ways to move goods will provide an added stimulus to attract businesses to the community
This means we will;
- Work with stakeholders and business to consider Freight options as part of the development
- Work with local groups to consider opportunities in tourist / charter connections.
Why is it taking so long ?
Investments of this size to improve our transport networks take a significant amount of time to design, develop and deliver. It is a once in a lifetime project and so it is important to get it right.
We are talking to a range of different groups and stakeholders to design the project in order that it can be delivered as efficiently as possible with the minimum of negative impact. These discussions will help us to deliver a scheme that will link to and work for the community and maximise the positive impact the project will have across this part of Fife.
When will work take place ?
Preparatory work is largely complete or ongoing but the main delivery phase of the project kicked off at the beginning of March 2022.
The current plan will see the completion of work in spring 2024.
What will I see during work ?
The project will be highly visible when it starts its main construction phase.
Along the line, there will be excavators and other plant vehicles lifting and clearing the old sections of railway that still exist. We will then rebuild the track-bed, expanding where needed to accommodate double-tracking. We will then lay the new railway on top. Along the line we will also ensure provision for future electrification.
There will be work on bridges along the route to provide or maintain access across the railway as well as on the structures that carry the railway itself. There will also be work to protect the railway from the river and drainage and flood-mitigation measures will be designed along the length of the route.
At two locations – Cameron Bridge and Leven, there will be significant volumes of work to construct the new stations on the route. As well as work to construct the station platforms, this will also mean access roads and car parking with provision for electric charging points, lighting etc and we will work with other partners to link to the surrounding communities via foot and cycle paths.
Will the track extend to Methil for freight or passenger use ?
The project as proposed plans for the reinstatement of passenger services to Leven and to explore potential to develop opportunities for freight.
While it is not initially proposed to install track to Methil, we will keep the option open to do this in the future in the way that the project is designed and delivered.
What will the stations look like ?
Although it is too early to go into specifics of the detail of the plan for each station, both will be fully accessible with step-free access to each platform.
In 2022 we will engage with the community to look in more detail at the plans for the stations - how people et to them and what facilities they find when they get there. This is ahead of submitting a planning application to the Council.
Ahead of this we are also working with other projects and partners to develop proposals that improve connectivity between the stations and the communities they will serve, active travel options and to optimise transport integration to improve overall journeys.
Where will the line take me ?
The line will run from Leven in the east and through the new Cameron Bridge station to join the existing mainline rail network at Thornton North junction. To the south of the junction, a branch line heads west towards Dunfermline while the main line continues south towards the Forth Bridge and the city of Edinburgh.
Where can I find out more and follow progress ?
In the lead up to and throughout the delivery of the project, we will be visible in the community and available to engage with different groups to discuss the work and update on progress.
In normal times, we would have already been engaged with the community sharing information and seeking views on the proposals. COVID restrictions have limited what we can do and forced us to move more of our engagement online and on to web-based platforms and via social media.
While this has been beneficial and allowed us to share information on the project, it is not ideal as our preference would always be to meet in person. We hope that we will get the chance to do this in the near future.
If you have any questions about the project, you can email us – LevenmouthRailLink@networkrail.co.uk but we will be updating this site on a regular basis and please look out for us on social media – twitter @NetworkRailScot
Why are you closing Doubledykes Level crossing ?
Closing Doubledykes and various crossing points at other locations will enable the safe and efficient operation of the railway.
The new railway being built inevitably creates a physical barrier along the railway corridor that reduces the number of points where people can cross - as they have done previously while trains have not been running on the line.
This means we have to secure and fence these areas in a way that is appropriate for the operational railway.
Why is it safe to have a Level crossing on lines nearby but not here ?
While historically Doubledykes crossing did constitute a legal ‘right of way’, this right was extinguished by an Act of Parliament in 1984.
We have shared with the Council’s legal team the advice we have received that has informed our view and enabled the closure of Doubledykes.
For clarity, the two adjacent crossing points which are typically referenced (Waukmill and Tullybreck) are not ‘rights of way’ and do not form part of the Council’s core path network in the area.
There is no public right of way at Doubledykes however, where there are existing legal rights to cross the railway (such as a landowner’s field to field access) this is reflected in the scope of the work being delivered.
Scotways – an access charity – disagree with this ?
We are aware that Scotways has indicated that their records do not reflect this. Given this, and the questions raised on the matter by the community and elected members, we reviewed the data and sought further legal opinion, specifically on the position at Doubledykes.
Network Rail’s position on this matter has been fully informed by our legal team and based on King’s Counsel (KC’s) advice.
But aren’t these crossing points are well used by walkers and cyclists ?
We do not question the claim that that these are used by walkers and cyclists for leisure purposes. The reality is that while there are potentially many points where railway crossings could be provided, there is a limited budget to do this and so choices have to be made.
The criteria for how the options have been prioritised reflects where a new structure would be of greatest benefit to communities and where they would best and safely complement the active travel network.
Why didn’t Network Rail ‘consult’ with the community around the closure of Doubledykes ?
Network Rail has communicated information around the construction of the railway and restrictions around the ongoing public use of the railway corridor due to construction activities via the media, social media and through onsite signage. We have also met with the local community councils.
While we have communicated with and listened to lineside neighbours and communities , we have not been required to ‘consult’ in any statutory sense - this is because no statutory processes have applied.
Network Rail was not part of any consultation undertaken by Fife Council / Leven Connectivity project to establish the preferred locations of crossing points to be included in the scope of the rail project.
The crossing point closed at the end of August 2023 to protect the safety of the operational railway and the local community.
Has Network Rail purchased land to the south of the railway?
Network Rail has proposed the purchase of 3 fields from Balgonie estates. Our inability to retain the Level crossing on the railway severs the Estate’s title and prevents access to their land on the south of the railway. It was discussed and agreed with Balgonie that the land purchase was the preferred option to extinguish this private right to cross.
There has been some discussion around (part) of the land being used as a railway maintenance access point but this would be subject to planning permission. More generally, it is anticipated that the land could be used to plant trees and wildflowers to promote our biodiversity agenda.
Has Network Rail discussed this with Fife Council?
We regularly meet and discuss a range of issues in relation to the project with Fife Council.
We understand the Council’s role in promoting and developing active travel networks – which is why funding was allocated via the Blueprint group to enable plans for this to be developed locally to reflect the Council’s priorities and how they wish to see the active travel network develop and how it interacts with the railway.
While we liaise with the Council to ensure that these routes connect efficiently into the stations being constructed, the development of the pathways and crossing points more generally was defined by the local partners.
Given the feedback from the community, we have also had cause to discuss this matter with a range of elected members to clarify the legal position and the process followed to properly enable these crossing points to be closed and others to be proposed/developed.
Throughout, we have discussed this openly and transparently and tried to address the points raised with us fully in order to clarify the legal status of the crossing points.
We are aware that discussions between funders and specifiers are ongoing around this. Network Rail stands ready to develop and deliver any proposals for a bridge at this location if requested to do so.