Burning Issue - Courier

Support for the campaign was expressed by Sir Menzies Campbell MP, saying,

'The case for Levenmouth is extremely strong and adds weight to the restoration of the St Andrews link ...... what we need now is a properly funded and commissioned study to establish the financial costs, to consider the problems of land acquisition and the likely passenger usage.'

Iain Smith MSP also backed the campaign,

'I am supportive of the idea that St Andrews should be properly linked to the network. studies must be carried out to determine the best and most effective way for this to be achieved. The advantages of a link to St Andrews are economically, environmentally and socially robust. Both tourism and the university will flourish with such a service. The idea of a link to Edinburgh in an hour or less is very appealing indeed. St Andrews is not only a national treasure but is also a vast economic generator for Scotland, and improving accessibility will only make it more so. Furthermore, a transport link of this nature would be a great benefit, not only to those who visit but also to those who live and work in the town.'

And Ted Brocklebank MSP said,

'I certainly think Fife Council needs to commission a report into the re-opening of the St Andrews line since St Andrews is the only university town in the UK (sic) without a line .... we should also examine the possibility of monorail, unmanned services between St Andrews and Leuchars.'

Patrick Laughlin, Manager of the St Andrews World Class initiative, said that public transport links to St Andrews were not as good as they should be for a town with such global aspirations, and high housing costs and low local unemployment rates mean more workers than ever before now live out of town, and called for a full strategic evaluation and costing of each of the options,
'as was done for the Waverley line.' And VisitScotland expressed support for any moves that could further boost the town's position, saying,

'VisitScotland recognises the importance of access from a tourism perspective and we would support something that could potentially provide growth for the local industry and local economy.'

Starlink convenor Jane Ann Liston made the case,

'Re-opening Leven is bound to further draw attention to the fact that St Andrews doesn't have a railway. I bet some MSPs at last week's debate were asking 'Where exactly is Leven/Levenmouth?' Not a problem that a debate about St Andrews would have had.

The case for St Andrews is quite the opposite from the Leven one; no infrastructure remaining but everyone's heard of the place. Leven is a deprived area requiring regeneration which needs good transport to get people out of it; St Andrews is an affluent area and contributer to the Fife and Scottish economies which primarily needs a better way to get people into it. I wonder if there might be a way in which the two projects could be linked, to the mutual benefit of both? Surely St Andrews being better-known could somehow attract support for Leven? After all, both towns lost their passenger services in the same year so it would be most appropriate were their reconnections to be linked together.

Since 1969 when the line closed there have been major changes in lifestyle and work patterns. Apart from the increase in car-ownership there has also been an increase in the length and time of the daily commute. In the 1960s the railway carried St Andreans to work in Dundee; today their trans-Tay successors have been joined by others going even further afield and by many more travelling into St Andrews from the rest of Fife, Tayside and beyond. And motorists will indeed use the train, given half a chance; a German study showed that while putting on a bus only enticed 7% of drivers out of their cars, running a rail service on the same route resulted in a 40% transfer from car to train. Think what a difference it would make to Cupar, where half of its town centre traffic is through-traffic, if 40% of the cars travelling through the county town to St Andrews were to be taken off the road!

Even in Scotland it has been shown that there is frequently an upsurge in passenger demand on new or re-opened services. such as Edinburgh-Bathgate, Prestwick Airport station, Edinburgh Park station and the Larkhall-Hamilton/Anniesland-Maryhill lines.
We all know that St Andrews is unique, but I see no reason why such a mecca for tourists, the Home of Golf and Scotland's first university town, should buck this particular trend.

Since the railway closed the bus service between Leuchars and St Andrews has improved beyond recognition but there is still only a trickle of alighting rail passengers stopping at the bus-stop compared with the vast majority striding purposefully towards the car-park. The best bus service would be one that connects with each train, waits for any late-running ones and is free to rail passengers. We have that during the Open with the Golflink yet even then a significantly smaller percentage use it at St Andrews than at Troon or Carnoustie. So if buses are simply not attractive enough to entice motorists out of their cars then it has to be a train. A service to the Home of Golf from Scotland's capital in an hour would be possible only by rail and once the infrastructure is in place one could even have special trains for particular events, such as the Flying Scotsman hauling the Orient Express to the Open at St Andrews.'