Railway opening marks return of services after 50 years

The project has brought rail services to Levenmouth for the first time in over 50 years with two fully accessible stations at Cameron Bridge and Leven.

A new railway has officially opened in Levenmouth marking the return of train services after a 50 year absence.

Over 300 guests from the local community and those involved in the project joined the First Minister on a specially wrapped train travelling from Waverley to Leven for a plaque unveiling.

The project has brought rail services to Levenmouth for the first time in over 50 years with two fully accessible stations at Cameron Bridge and Leven.

Passenger services get underway on June 2 and are expected to be extremely popular with around 37 trains serving the stations everyday.

Work nears completion on restoration of Leven railway line.STV News

Chair of the Levenmouth Rail Campaign (LMRC), Dr Allen Armstrong, said that the rail line but Levenmouth “back on the map”.

“All campaigns and their contexts differ but ten years is a very short time-span in the life of any rail campaign.

“The fact that disadvantaged Levenmouth – in decline for over five decades since mining, docks and railways closed and where social capital and civic engagement is not that strong – was able to mount an intensive community-led campaign which played such an important role in achieving its main objective, well-supported by Council and elected representatives, has been a source of both surprise and pride.

“Levenmouth is back on the map and regeneration prospects aided by other project in the pipeline are brighter now.”

The rail link represents the largest part of the wider sustainable transport programme and is an investment of over £116 million by the Scottish Government, alongside the investment in improved local bus services and active travel to link to key local services and the rail network.

Alongside the railway, work has also been undertaken to maximise the socio-economic benefits of the new rail link with Scottish Ministers committed to a fund of up to £5m.

Fife Council offered to match fund this investment and lead on the delivery of the £10m fund, via the Levenmouth Reconnected Programme.

The First Minister said he was “delighted” to be a part of the opening celebrations after many people had waited so long for the return of the rail service.

“The local volunteers from the Levenmouth Rail Campaign group should be immensely proud of this historic achievement of reinstating rail connections for the community.

“This rail link exemplifies the Scottish Government’s commitment to investing in our public services, growing our economy, taking climate action and investing in key areas that will help eradicate child poverty.

“By improving access to leisure, economic, employment and educational opportunities, alongside improving the connectivity to and from the area for residents, visitors and businesses, this rail link will help transform the lives of families and young people in the area.”

Liam Sumpter, managing director of Network Rail Scotland, said: “The opening of the Levenmouth line offers more communities the chance to travel by train and I’m pleased to be able to welcome our new passengers onto the network.

“The on-time completion of the project is due to the hard work and dedication of our colleagues and contractors and I would like to thank everyone for their efforts over the past two years.”
Joanne Maguire, ScotRail Managing Director, said:

“This is a fantastic day for the local communities who will be so positively impacted by the historic reopening of such an important rail link.

“Everyone at ScotRail has worked tirelessly with our partners and stakeholders to help make this happen, and I am delighted to be involved in the official opening celebrations.

“We understand the positive impact the railway can have on everyday life, and the new stations at Leven and Cameron Bridge will deliver opportunities for local people, unlocking access to education, culture, entertainment, and employment options, as well as attracting new business and investment.

“When our new timetable launches on the second of June, there will be 37 trains every day serving those new stations, and we are looking forward to welcoming many new passengers to our services.”

Fife Council leader councillor David Ross added: “A lot of hard work by many people has gone in to get to this stage and we’re all delighted to see passenger services return to Levenmouth after more than five decades.

“The official opening will of course be historic for the area and Fife in general, and it’s really just the beginning of an exciting new era for this part of the world.

“This will be truly transformational in many ways, not only in terms of improving connectivity but also when it comes to improving access to employment, education, health and leisure opportunities among others.”

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