The first new rails were laid on the new 19km Levenmouth Rail Link project, which will reconnect the area to the mainline passenger network for the first time in more than a half-century. Extensive preliminary work near Thornton Junction to the west of the route has resulted in an early chance to lay down the first new sections of rail on the project, which will eventually see the installation of 19km of double track to establish the branch line.
Existing track sections inside the first mile of the rail corridor were used to supply new ballast, sleepers, and rails, after which the old track was lifted, and the track-bed was promptly re-formed. The concrete sleepers were placed in batches of seven at a speed of 72 meters per hour, allowing for the early installation of the first of the new tracks.
Seven pairs of 240-metre-long continuously welded rail sections were positioned on the sleepers before being clipped into place to construct the first mile of the new Levenmouth branch line.
Comments on the Rail Link scheme
“Laying the first rails on the rail link is a huge milestone for this exciting work and great news for this neighborhood,” said Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s director of rail. The Levenmouth Rail Link will provide long-term connectivity for the villages of Leven, Methil, Cameron Bridge, and the surrounding area, attracting people to visit, live, work, and invest in those areas.
The derelict train route between Thornton Junction and Leven will be reopened, enabling convenient and comfortable services across Fife to Edinburgh, Dunfermline, and the larger rail network.”
“Even at this early stage in the project, laying the first tracks feels like a symbolic occasion,” said Joe Mulvenna, project manager for the Levenmouth Rail Link.
The project was able to move fast out of the blocks thanks to the use of much of the existing trackbed and considerable preparatory work. We can already see the scheme taking shape, but there is obviously a long way to go. With the first rails installed along the first mile, the focus will shift to other areas of the program, particularly work on some of the structures, but it is fantastic that the project has gotten off to such a good start.”
The Levenmouth rail link, also referred to as the Leven rail link is a railway line being developed in Fife, Scotland to connect Leven town and other Levenmouth conurbations with Thornton, while the Fife Circle Line joins at Thornton North Junction.
The project is being developed by Fife Council in partnership with the South East Scotland Transport Partnership (SESTRAN) while Network Rail is tasked with designing and constructing the rail link, the construction and preparation costs of which are approximately US$ 85.07M.
The project comprises the construction of a 19km of electrified double-track railway, with some new parts and others restored. Two new modern train stations will also be constructed at Cameron Bridge and Leven being part of the scheme.
The station at Cameron Bridge will be situated at the east of the A915 road while the Leven station will be constructed behind the Leven leisure centre. Leven station will have an entry from the north through an improved footpath located behind the leisure centre. The latter will also include a bus stop, a drop-off point for commuters, and an area for car parking with 90 slots.
Another parking space will be constructed optionally on the east part of the river. The station will also include bike storage areas and charging stations for electric automobiles.
Levenmouth rail link project to improve transportation in the host community
Upon completion, the Levenmouth rail link will permit two trains operation every hour to Edinburgh, one through Dunfermline and the other through Kirkcaldy. It is set to explore the possibility of travel optimizing and interchange of options between stations. The line will consist of electrified overhead wires which on initial services the electric units will be battery-operated.
The development is being implemented without impacting the leisure activities of the community. The railway link together with the other upgraded transportation connections will offer Leven a direct railway link to Edinburgh, enhancing the local economy. The line electrification will shorten travel time. The scheme is set to enable passengers to arrive in Edinburgh from Levenmouth in around 75 minutes
The Scottish Government revealed the design phase of the Levenmouth line in August.
Vegetation clearance and other preparatory works began.
The project’s public consultation was completed in January. In May, the line sleepers were delivered while the plans for the project got unveiled in June. The old tracks on the route were removed and either reused or recycled. The unwanted equipment was taken to a range of heritage railways, with some of the assets set to be reused in the building of the new railway line.
The track duties to remove the old disused track and unwanted infrastructure from the former branch line commenced in July. The removal of the disused track and excavation of the old ballast will facilitate the building of new lines early in 2022.
Levenmouth Rail Link project approved by Transport for Scotland
The Levenmouth Rail Link project which is estimated to cost US$152million has been approved by Transport for Scotland, the national transport agency of the country that is part of the United Kingdom. Network Rail Limited, the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway networks in Great Britain, has begun the construction works.
The works include the removal of the original trackbed, as well as other route preparation operations, prior to the reinstatement of the double-track railway and passenger services to Leven. Two fully accessible stations will also be built at Cameron Bridge and Leven as part of this massive project.
Diesel service will be the first to run on the line upon completion before it is converted to electric operation at the earliest possible opportunity. The electrification will be carried out as part of the Scottish Government’s decarbonization action plan, allowing for the quickest feasible transition to electric services, reducing future passenger inconvenience while ensuring that the work is carried out as efficiently as possible.
Expectations for the Levenmouth Rail Link project
The Levenmouth Rail Link project will benefit from active travel access infrastructure and provide enhanced connectivity to local communities. The use of the majority of the current double trackbed on the line will provide cost-effective capacity for passengers.
To maximize the benefit of this transformative investment for the Levenmouth area, an investigation into the possible options for freight and tourist/charter rail operations will be conducted as part of the project.
“The Levenmouth Rail Link demonstrates our ambition not just for improving and investing in Scotland’s Railway, but also for our commitment to communities, as new rail links bring many additional benefits such as connectivity to the wider economic area, allowing new journeys for work, education, and leisure,” said Bill Reeve, director of the rail, Transport Scotland.