Another lone dissenter

The full text of Mr Ken Reid's letter to the Courier is at:

7th letter down.

Mr Reid says:

'I write with reference to Ms Liston's letter supporting her one-person fight to get a railway station back in St Andrews.'

One-person fight? We have the backing of the Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council for a start, and most recently the
St Andrews Citizen and Fife Herald voiced their support. We have nearly 550 Facebook 'likes', not just from St Andrews but also from much further afield, plus endorsements from the University Chancellor, Principal and Rector, 2 former Presiding Officers of the Scottish Parliament and the authors of The Great Railway Conspiracy and The St Andrews Railway.

'Let us put aside the £70M that would be needed to install five miles of track and infrastructure, the three years plus of disruption that would ensue on the current road network while doing it and trying to get Fife Council to approve a new site for the railway terminus.'

Fine, though had we not put it aside I would have queried why Mr Reid thinks construction would take 3 years when the Borders line, 6 times as long, only took 2 years to build. Also that Tata Steel explained that because of the location of their optimised alignment, there would be very little disruption to road traffic, certainly nothing like that about to be experienced by Guardbridge for 8 weeks due to the installation of the University's new heating pipes.

'Why do we need it? The residents of St Andrews have an adequate railway station at Leuchars …'

Don't you think a destination as important as St Andrews deserves something a bit better than 'adequate'?

'… served by an excellent bus and taxi service.'

That'll be the buses seen accelerating up the by-pass as a train draws into the station. Quite. And what if you cannot afford a taxi?

'We in St Andrews are nearer to a mainline railway station than residents in many larger towns and cities across the UK.'

How many of these 'larger towns and cities' have universities, let alone of the stature of St Andrews, which is Scotland's Oxbridge. And how many are major tourist destinations and key sports venues? St Andrews is all three rolled into one small town marooned nearly 6 miles from the rail network. Also, if the buses and taxis are so satisfactory, how is it that the car-park at Leuchars is regularly overflowing, with up to 50 cars parked up Station Road, but the aforementioned buses have plenty of empty seats?

I don't doubt that Mr Reid is sincere in his belief. If he is perfectly happy with the status quo, then bully for him. However, the overflowing car-parks, both at Leuchars and in town, as well as the amount of traffic in and around the town suggest that the enforced change from trains to buses is simply not attractive enough to many people. Judging by the usage of the Alloa trains as well as the new Borders line, many of those motorists would transfer to the train, thus reducing traffic congestion and environmental pollution.

Mr Reid is apparently making the error that the principal reason for building a new St Andrews railway is to make travel out of the town easier for its citizens. Not so, although they would benefit greatly. The main reason is to enable those whose journeys into the town, whether for tourism, education or work, are essential for St Andrews to thrive, and to enable the turn to create more prosperity throughout Fife and the whole of the south east of Scotland, if not even further.