St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan - Railfuture Scotland submission

St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan - Objection and Comments

Railfuture Scotland is disappointed that Fife Council has downgraded
its proposals for improving public transport into St Andrews.
The previous Fife Structure Plan had indicated . . 'that land will be
safeguarded for a [St Andrews] railway and station',  whereas the current
Structure Plan merely proposes 'a transport link between St Andrews
and the rail network' in the new Fife Structure Plan, and this new St Andrews
and East Fife Local Plan makes unsatisfactory and vague references to unspecified
'improved integrated public transport feeder
services between St Andrews and Leuchars rail station'; also
accompanied by abstract, and virtually meaningless phraseology . .
'routes for public transport rapid transit corridors and
interchange with other networks.'

In our view this ignores the body of evidence which shows that rail
is the form of public transport which has invariably has
demonstrated an ability to deliver the highest modal shift from

Experience from transport operators, and supported by a wide
spectrum of user satisfaction, confirms that and also that imposed,
or enforced changes in modes of transport during any journey, from
origin to destination, significantly reduces the number of
passengers willing to use that public transport service.

Fife Council's change of Structure Plan policy is all the more
inexplicable because the Local Plan very
specifically acknowledges
that 'the lack of a direct
rail link [my emphasis] into St
Andrews' is a notable 'missing link' in the transport network.

In addition this curious removal of specific reference
to restoration of a
rail link, directly into St Andrews weakens
your reference to . . 'further developing St Andrews as a
high quality tourist destination'

Railfuture Scotland would challenge the apparent equating of the
disruption caused by building a new railway with that of a new road.
We accept that during construction of either a road or rail line
there would be 'significant negative environmental impact'. But the
in terms of future sustainabilty and minimising the amount of long
term intrusion, the width of a relatively narrow railway corridor is
very significantly less than a new road. This is particularly
significant aspect of land-use in the case of St Andrews and the
need to make maximum utilisation of the relatively scarce amount of
valuable urban land.

Completing this 'missing link' in the Scottish rail network between
St Andrews and Leuchars (main line)would deliver very significant social,
economic and environmental benefits, within the St Andrews urban
area, and its wider regional catchment area, which constructing a
road would not.

In terms of promoting sustainable transport, a key objective of both
the Scottish and United Kingdom Governments, the potential for very
significant modal shift from the car achieved by a restored
rail link as already outlined above is a major factor in favour of a
rail, rather than an additional road link into St Andrews.

Given that the negative factors in constructing new roads such as the Cupar
Relief Road and the St Andrews Link Road are not considered in this
Plan to be of any great account, it is not clear why, and also
unacceptable that they should selectively be used as an argument
against building a St Andrews
railway ?

It is a widely perceived deficiency, from sampling of public
opinion, that a tourist destination of the importance of St Andrews
still lacks a direct rail service. This negative perception is also
reinforced by public awareness that St Andrews is also the only Scottish
university town without the travel benefits of such a link.

The addition to the town of another thousand houses, and
the additional travel movements generated, merely highlights the
current 'transport deficiency' felt for outward travel from St
Andrews and those who travel into St Andrews for employment,
education or tourist/leisure purposes etc. And strengthens the case
for restoration of a direct rail link into the St Andrews urban

It should be noted that opting for apparently cheaper systems such as
guided busways can be a false economy. The total cost may turn out to be
not be much different from that of a [heavy] rail route, as now as the proponents of the Cambridge-St Ives 'guided busway' are now finding out.

We would contend that the quality and perception of a 'guided
busway' service is not likely to be significantly different
from traditional bus services using conventional 'bus lanes' on
normal roads. The modal shift from the private car for such
'improved' bus services has tended to average only around 5-6%
compared to nearly 20% for new
rail services wherever they have been

Indeed, the experience of new/restored rail services has invariably
seen generated patronage levels far exceeding the initial
theoretical modelling 'estimate' used as basis for such investment.

* The 1986 Edinburgh-Bathgate line is now carrying over four times
the number of 
  passengers originally 'estimated' and formed the impetus for further
 restorating the 14 mile 'missing link' between Bathgate as double track
electrified line (opening 2011)
* Prestwick International Rail station (1994) now carries 30%
of all surface arrivals/
depatures (compared to previous estimates that 'negligible'
numbers would use such a station.
* Larkhall-Hamilton/Anniesland-Maryhill lines (reopened 2005) are
now carrying around 40% more passengers than originally 'estimated'
* Alloa-Stirling line (reopened 2008) is now carrying about 400,000
passengers per annum
against a 'pessimistic [theoretical] estimate' of just 155,000
* Ebbw Vale - Cardiff line (reopened 2008) is now carrying around
1,000,000 passengers per annum, against an 'estimate' of just
400,000 by 2012! This higher than 'anticipated'
passenger demand is all the more remarkable, given the current economic
* Laurencekirk station (May 2009) was carrying 80% more passengers in its first weeks
after reopening, and current trends now indicating an annual usage of around 65,000
passengers per annum, against a theoretical 'estimate' of just 36,000.

There is no reason to suppose that a restored rail service to St
Andrews would not, in practice follow a similar upsurge of
passsenger demand - far higher than any 'predictions' obtained from
abstact theoretical modelling techniques

Railfuture Scotland therefore calls on Fife Council to include a railway to St
Andrews, enabling both southward and northward travel. And, very
significantly, includes should incorporate infrastructure link/s on to the main line 
to allow potential for
through-running, amongst its supported strategic
transport improvements, and to identify.

This is an eminently reasonable request to safeguard a necessary future rail route, or routes. Other recent railway reopenings/restoration projects (especially in the case of the
Waverley line from Edinburgh to Galashiels/Tweedbank) have revealed that failure to 
safeguard a rail corridor and subsequent need to remove/overcome adverse developments has needlessly pushed up the basic cost of reopening. 

We would therefore urge you ask you to apply the necessary foresight which will allow easy and cost-effective restoration of rail link into St Andrews.

K A Sutherland
Railfuture Scotland
12A Dirleton Gate
Glasgow G61 1NP