Levenmouth rail link to reopen: project updates

lachlan

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Indeed you are right, I had those two mixed up.

So Glenrothes will be losing 1tph round the coast, but gaining 1tph via Dunfermline, which seems a reasonable assessment of use.

Leven gets 1tph each way which is good, but with a double track branch line it seems a little underwhelming.
Especially for travelling north, for which only one of the services per hour will be useful.
 
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waverley47

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If only Thornton Junction station was still a thing!,

IIRC, Glenrothes station was justified in its current position when it reopened on the basis that northbound trains were never going to be regular, and the Levenmouth line was never going to be reopened.

Here we are nearly thirty years later, and Levenmouth reopening has meant that Thornton junction would appear to offer better service provision, at least in the long term.

Remember that the line has been specced for potential freight flows from the Diageo distillery at Cameron bridge. Whether these will actually happen, who knows?

I sincerely doubt anything will ever materialise, but you never know. Diageo is a huge company, and there a lot of transporting containers to ports around the country for export, so we shall see.
 

och aye

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IIRC, Glenrothes station was justified in its current position when it reopened on the basis that northbound trains were never going to be regular, and the Levenmouth line was never going to be reopened.

Here we are nearly thirty years later, and Levenmouth reopening has meant that Thornton junction would appear to offer better service provision, at least in the long term.



I sincerely doubt anything will ever materialise, but you never know. Diageo is a huge company, and there a lot of transporting containers to ports around the country for export, so we shall see.
It would be good PR for their "green credentials" if they could utilise the line for freight transport. But it will all come down to cold hard cash for Diageo.
 

Class83

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There are currently (well maybe not this week but in non Covid times) 4 slow services coming across the Forth Bridge each hour.

2 are the Fife Circle, one each way, which ideally would be left alone.
1 is the Cowdenbeath Terminator (extended to Thornton during peaks), this can be extended to Leven with no current journey being lost and will provide Dunfermline-Leven connectivity.
1 is the stopper via Kirkcaldy (I think from the timetables this is currently terminating at Thornton, but it may have previously extended to Markinch or even Dundee), if you divert this to Leven you gain Kirkcaldy to Leven connections, but lose a train from the Fife Coast to Markinch.

The other aspects are the Aberdeen, Perth/Inverness and Dundee (semi fast) services. Assuming the current stopper is diverted to Leven, reinstating the Inverkeithing and Kirkcaldy stops on the Aberdeen service, then turning the Dundee service into a stopper would maintain pretty much all current connectivity, not increase the number of services across the bridge while giving everywhere south direct and everywhere north 1 change, connections to Leven.
 

lachlan

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There are currently (well maybe not this week but in non Covid times) 4 slow services coming across the Forth Bridge each hour.

2 are the Fife Circle, one each way, which ideally would be left alone.
1 is the Cowdenbeath Terminator (extended to Thornton during peaks), this can be extended to Leven with no current journey being lost and will provide Dunfermline-Leven connectivity.
1 is the stopper via Kirkcaldy (I think from the timetables this is currently terminating at Thornton, but it may have previously extended to Markinch or even Dundee), if you divert this to Leven you gain Kirkcaldy to Leven connections, but lose a train from the Fife Coast to Markinch.

The other aspects are the Aberdeen, Perth/Inverness and Dundee (semi fast) services. Assuming the current stopper is diverted to Leven, reinstating the Inverkeithing and Kirkcaldy stops on the Aberdeen service, then turning the Dundee service into a stopper would maintain pretty much all current connectivity, not increase the number of services across the bridge while giving everywhere south direct and everywhere north 1 change, connections to Leven.
I would be surprised if stops are added to long distance services, given I believe the Stonehaven stop was cut from Aberdeen to Glasgow expresses to reduce journey time. What would be ideal would be an extra service from Leven north to Leuchars and Dundee but that would require either a reverse or a new chord.
 

waverley47

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What would the likelihood of a new chord being installed? Is that something that has ever been officially discussed?

Never going to happen, too difficult to create an economic case for it.

Economically, Edinburgh is the most important city for Fife, and you need as many trains there as possible. Changing at Kirkcaldy or driving to markinch isn't the end of the world, and at the end of the day neither Dundee of Leven are big places.

In the pile of nice to have, not really worth spending the money to build.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Never going to happen, too difficult to create an economic case for it.

Economically, Edinburgh is the most important city for Fife, and you need as many trains there as possible. Changing at Kirkcaldy or driving to markinch isn't the end of the world, and at the end of the day neither Dundee of Leven are big places.

In the pile of nice to have, not really worth spending the money to build.
I think that population wise, Dundee is rather larger than Leven.
 

waverley47

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I think that population wise, Dundee is rather larger than Leven.

Yes, and I'm sure lots of lovely people from Leven do go and see the sights of Dundee.

However, still not going to happen.

Dundee is a very small city, and Leven is a pretty small town in the grand scheme of things. Think of the list of potential reopening projects across Scotland. On that list, having a direct train once an hour from Leven to Dundee doesn't even qualify for investigation. I'm sure the fifty people who would use the line every day will feel very disappointed, but driving to markinch or changing at Kirkcaldy isn't that much of an inconvenience.
 

Class83

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I would be surprised if stops are added to long distance services, given I believe the Stonehaven stop was cut from Aberdeen to Glasgow expresses to reduce journey time. What would be ideal would be an extra service from Leven north to Leuchars and Dundee but that would require either a reverse or a new chord.
The HSTs should have speeded up the service having taken over from the Turbostars, so the stops which were removed could be put back in while maintaining timings. Inverkeithing (basically Dunfermline Parkway) and Kirkcaldy are significantly larger than Stonehaven.

The constraint is paths across the Forth Bridge, through Haymarket and into Waverley.
 

Tobbes

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The HSTs should have speeded up the service having taken over from the Turbostars, so the stops which were removed could be put back in while maintaining timings. Inverkeithing (basically Dunfermline Parkway) and Kirkcaldy are significantly larger than Stonehaven.

The constraint is paths across the Forth Bridge, through Haymarket and into Waverley.
Are you sure? HSTs are not exactly noted for their acceleration these days and they're limited to 100mph in Scotland (presumably the same as 170s?), so I'm not clear how much shorter their sectional times are.
 
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Journeyman

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Are you sure? HSTs are exactly noted for their acceleration these days and they're limited to 100mph in Scotland (presumably the same as 170s?), so I'm not clear how much shorter their sectional times are.
The difference they've made to journey times is practically zero.
 

matchmaker

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Are you sure? HSTs are not exactly noted for their acceleration these days and they're limited to 100mph in Scotland (presumably the same as 170s?), so I'm not clear how much shorter their sectional times are.
A 2+4 HST will accelerate a lot faster then a 170.
 

InOban

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As I recall, a scotrail HST climbing the 1 in 60 out of Inverness is limited only by the line speed while a 170 is much much slower. Obviously on a stopping service the 170 will have a shorter dwell time because of its 1/3, 2/3 wide doors.

But off topic.
 

ScottDarg

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Transport Minister Graeme Dey has spoken about this project during a visit to Leven. He has confirmed that the line will be double tracked and electrified.

He also confirmed the locations of Cameron Bridge (East of the A915) and Leven (behind the leisure centre) stations.

Full press release below: https://www.transport.gov.scot/news/levenmouth-rail-link-plans-unveiled/
The return of rail services to Levenmouth moved a step closer today with confirmation by Transport Minister Graeme Dey that the line would be double tracked and electrified.

Mr Dey was speaking during a visit to Leven where he also announced the options being taken forward for the locations for Leven and Cameron Bridge Stations.

The Leven Station is to be located behind the Leisure Centre and Cameron Bridge Station will be to the east of the A915. The options were confirmed following detailed development work as well as stakeholder consultation for the new rail link.

Network Rail has been commissioned to design and construct the Levenmouth rail link. The project costs will be confirmed with Final Business Case, expected towards the end of this year.

Project timescales will depend on Fife Council planning processes, subject to which the line should be open 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 said:

“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.”

Fife Council Co-leader Cllr David Alexander said:

“There’s a lot of investment and partnership work coming together in Levenmouth. Today’s announcement is a huge, and very welcome, step forward for the region and builds on the work of the £10 million Levenmouth Reconnected Programme which aims to unlock access to culture, leisure, training and employment opportunities for the area.

“This also means a lot personally, as a local councillor and a train user from the old Cameron Bridge Station. Many people have fought to deliver this, with ultimate success.”

Fife Council Co-leader Cllr David Ross added:

“We are working to maximise the economic and social value of the new Levenmouth railway to the local area, developing initiatives and projects that build on this railway investment-led opportunity.

"A lot of hard work by many people went into getting us to this stage. This represents a huge opportunity for Levenmouth and the whole of Fife and we’ll make sure we make the most it.”

Electrification reduces journey times, thus expanding labour markets and improving access to education, potentially benefitting socio-economically disadvantaged groups.

The improvements identified for local bus services, active travel and the Blueprint fund are being progressed by Fife Council.
 

Tobbes

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Transport Minister Graeme Dey has spoken about this project during a visit to Leven. He has confirmed that the line will be double tracked and electrified.

He also confirmed the locations of Cameron Bridge (East of the A915) and Leven (behind the leisure centre) stations.

Full press release below: https://www.transport.gov.scot/news/levenmouth-rail-link-plans-unveiled/
Great news - when was the commitment to electrifying the Forth Bridge made? Is this new as well?
 

snowball

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Great news - when was the commitment to electrifying the Forth Bridge made? Is this new as well?
What commitment to electrifying the Forth Bridge? The press release doesn't mention electrifying either the bridge or any other existing lines. Other stuff has talked about electrifying from Haymarket to the south end of the bridge, and using batteries on the bridge for the time being.
 

Tobbes

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What commitment to electrifying the Forth Bridge? The press release doesn't mention electrifying either the bridge or any other existing lines. Other stuff has talked about electrifying from Haymarket to the south end of the bridge, and using batteries on the bridge for the time being.
The press release says "The return of rail services to Levenmouth moved a step closer today with confirmation by Transport Minister Graeme Dey that the line would be double tracked and electrified."

It just struck me as a bit odd to electrify from Thornton Junc to Leven without electrifying the Fife lines and the Forth Bridge.
 

snowball

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It just struck me as a bit odd to electrify from Thornton Junc to Leven without electrifying the Fife lines and the Forth Bridge.
Me too but I think it's been clear for a while that that's what's happening. Avoids the criticism of not electrifying before it's open that is constantly made about East-West Rail.
 

mcmad

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Its also a little economical to say the line is double tracked as the existing connection at the main line is staying as a single lead connection with the double track starting ~1/4 mile down the branch
 

lachlan

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Me too but I think it's been clear for a while that that's what's happening. Avoids the criticism of not electrifying before it's open that is constantly made about East-West Rail.
Some other electrification must be planned as otherwise no trains can take advantage of the wires between Glenrothes and Leven?

Regardless, it's refreshing to see some forward planning
 

gingertom

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Some other electrification must be planned as otherwise no trains can take advantage of the wires between Glenrothes and Leven?

Regardless, it's refreshing to see some forward planning
going to be used to charge batteries in the interim?
 

Yindee8191

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I presume the electrification is being done based on the assumption that the whole thing will have to be done at some point and that the ‘easy’ bits might as well be done now instead of everything getting done at the same time.
 

snowball

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I presume the electrification is being done based on the assumption that the whole thing will have to be done at some point and that the ‘easy’ bits might as well be done now instead of everything getting done at the same time.
Doing the easy bits first seems to be the current philosophy on Trans-Pennine as well.

Edited to add: the Forth bridge will doubtless take time to design a bespoke system that is technically and aesthetically acceptable and to get it through approval processes for listed building alterations and World Hertiage Site regulations. So stopping just before the bridge avoids delaying the scheme.
 
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Brissle Girl

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Is there are any insight as to how much (if any) of the main line south towards Edinburgh will be electrified as part of the project?
 

Meerkat

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Presumably the branch will have to be powered up, and unless they go really cheap that means that a big chunk of cost is taken out of electrifying toward Edinburgh, making the business case look better.
Seems odd to be loading that cost onto the Levenmouth project, unless it had a really great business case already or the electrification bit comes out of a separate electrification budget??
 

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