Retired statistician defends expanded car-park proposals

John Newton, who has previously criticised the campaign as is his right, saying that there was no support for resinstating the railway, and it would add 21 more minutes to a journey from Edinburgh to Dundee or Aberdeen and anyway a line would take a long time to build and solutions were needed now. A better idea, he said, would be to rename Leuchars station St Andrews Parkway.

Well, renaming the station won’t shorten the distance between it and St Andrews. It would be very unusual to have a St Andrews Parkway station without a St Andrews Town one as well, as I believe is normally the case. It could also be described as misleading and is likely to increase the number of unfortunate souls arriving for the first time at ‘Leuchars for St Andrews’ and looking around for the golf courses, according to rail staff at Leuchars. Mr Newton makes great play of the extra time added to the journey by including St Andrews. It is true that an option might be for trains to branch off from Cupar to St Andrews, go back to Leuchars and thence to Dundee and Aberdeen but it is by no means certain that this would happen, nor that every train would follow this pattern. It would be up to the train operators. In any case, even if they did decide to run all trains that way, in effect diverting the East Coast Main Line, it is likely that improved rolling-stock would significantly reduce that time. It is disingenuous to speculate about such minute details of a St Andrews service while the principle is still under discussion and in any case when the time comes that will be a job for transport experts and engineers, not amateurs, not even, with all due respect, retired statisticians.