Railway would greatly mitigate effect of major road works

A St Andrews councillor has pointed out that severe traffic disruption on the main road to St Andrews would have been considerably less had there been a rail link to the town.

As reported in the
St Andrews Citizen and Fife Herald, essential work at Guardbridge on a 1930s crossing carrying the A91 over the River Eden is causing considerable delays to road traffic, delaying not just cars but also buses including those to the railway station at Leuchars. The work is complicated by the fact the fact that the Eden Estuary is a SSSI, so must be undertaken without allowing anything to fall into the river.

Cllr Jane Ann Liston noted,
These delays just highlight the folly of leaving St Andrews, one of the most popular destinations in Scotland, only accessible by road. The A91 between the town and Guardbridge is the busiest road in North East Fife, carrying the vast majority of commuters and leisure visitors, so even busy outwith peak hours. It is also the main bus route out of town, used by services to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Leuchars Railway station.

Even suggesting people consider using public transport instead of their cars is unlikely to help because the likely small reduction in the number of vehicles will be offset by the buses also being delayed by the tailbacks.

The prospect of such delays throughout the summer is alarming; we have all seen how when the sun comes out people flock to St Andrews in cars, causing congestion even when the road network is unimpeded.

It is of particular concern to me that rail passengers, frequently assured that there are 'plenty of buses' to Leuchars, will either be delayed and so miss trains or will have to catch an earlier bus and thus incur an extended journey time.

Furthermore, for the duration of the works, I would expect some motorists to opt for other roads in and out of St Andrews. I think I am right in saying that none of them is of the quality of the A91, in which case that means more cars using minor roads, and also an increased flow through small settlements such as Strathkinness is likely.

How much easier the situation would be to manage were St Andrews to have its own railway station!’