Glenfarg - possible effects upon NE Fife services

The text of the Press Release to the Citizen is as follows:

The Starlink campaign has broadly welcomed the suggested reinstatement of the Glenfarg rail line between Edinburgh and Perth. However, warnings were made about possible effects upon rail services within North East Fife, and upon Cupar and Leuchars in particular.

Starlink convenor Jane Ann Liston explained, 'The proposal, which it is claimed would reduce journeys times to Inverness and Aberdeen by 35 minutes, is an example of innovative thinking, which has been sadly lacking in the rail industry for the past few decades. Certainly, one big advantage of the Glenfarg route would be the avoidance of the kinked tunnel between Burntisland and Kinghorn, which requires all trains to slow down to something like 30 mph. It would also reduce traffic across the Tay Bridge which should free up capacity, firstly, allowing the handful of trains, which currently don't stop at Leuchars due to the High Girders restriction of only one train at a time, to do so and secondly, making it easier to fit in a new service to St Andrews (like Glenfarg, another ill-advised closure of the post-Beeching era).

However, as this idea is supposed to reduce journeys to Aberdeen as well as Inverness, there is a danger that the East Coast Main Line would effectively be routed away from Fife, and the effect would be especially pronounced in NE Fife. Being the stop for St Andrews, Leuchars is mobbed when an East Coast train arrives/departs, and ditto the CrossCountry services. Cupar is also served by the latter trains. If these services were to take the Glenfarg route, not only would gaps  appear in the timetable, presumably to be plugged by ScotRail, but it could mean the loss of direct cross-border services between Fife and England, affecting a significant number of passengers. Those bound for Leuchars might still have a faster journey changing at Dundee for a southbound train, but Cupar passengers probably would not. It should be remembered that Cupar has already been disadvantaged by longer journey times when the Edinburgh-Aberdeen and Edinburgh-Dundee services were split a few years ago.'

Ms Liston concluded, 'I'm sure these problems could be solved, but they must be recognised and factored in at the start. It will be interesting to see if the idea progresses further.'