Falkirk man claims railway not needed

A third Herald correspondent, this time from Falkirk, claims that a St Andrews railway is not needed, and would cost more than other, longer rail enhancements.

John Macnab’s reference to the ‘present bus/rail coordination at Leuchars Station’ which he describes as ‘excellent’ will cause many a raised eyebrow from those who have alighted from a train only to see the rear lights of a bus speeding away from the stop towards St Andrews. But Mr Macnab actually thinks this should be held up as ‘an example in other situations where this amenity is desired.’ That is interesting because campaigners for the re-opening of the line to Alloa were firmly told that all they would get was a better bus-stop and yet, once the line was restored, it was used by four times as many people as was predicted, including many who had hitherto made the same journey by car.. There is no reason to believe that a line to St Andrews would be any less popular.

Messrs Mathieson, Birkett and Macnab are all missing the point; a new St Andrews railway is not primarily for the benefit of St Andreans, but to convey the hordes of tourists, students and commuters that every day drive cars into town in a more environmentally-friendly way, reducing both harmful emissions and traffic congestion in and around the town. Yes, there are many buses, mostly Dundee-St Andrews ones which deign to stop at Leuchars Station, although they won’t wait for trains even if they are just pulling up at the platform, and clearly are not designed for rail travellers because of the scant luggage space, but the great majority of rail passengers boarding and alighting at Leuchars, 90% of whom are going to and from St Andrews, eschew them for taxis and private cars; you cannot force people to use buses when they would rather drive, but the evidence from Alloa and elsewhere is that motorists will use a train if one is available.

Finally it cannot be emphasised enough that what is proposed is a rail service which will not require a change of train between St Andrews and Edinburgh, via the airport interchange it should be noted, and St Andrews and Dundee. As such, contrary to some of the assertions, journey times will be cut and travelling made easier, which will prove a most attractive option.