Case for St Andrews Railway made on BBC Radio Scotland

Starlink convenor Jane Ann Liston today made the case for a St Andrews railway in one and a half minutes in the soapbox slot on the John Beattie programme on BBC Radio Scotland.

Text of broadcast:

Since losing its station in 1969, St Andrews, one of Scotland’s main tourist resorts and its oldest university town, has been marooned from the rail network with the nearest station now nearly six miles away at Leuchars. With a population of around 20000 including 7000 students, it is one of the largest settlements in Scotland without a railway line.
St Andrews is of immense importance to the Scottish economy. As the Home of Golf, it regularly hosts tournaments, such as the Dunhill Championship being played this week and, most notably, The Open every 5 years. The town features amongst the top destinations of VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise & Trip Advisor, but it remains the only Scottish university town, and one of only a handful in Britain, without a station.
Every day thousands of commuters travel out, and even more come in, to St Andrews for work. Their journeys help to make the A91 between Guardbridge and St Andrews the busiest road in North East Fife, with the effects of this traffic felt ten miles away in Cupar. All these cars have to go somewhere but, having a mediaeval layout, St Andrews was never built for them. St Andrews needs the people, but not their parked cars, which are a visual blight upon its historic heart. Buses are clearly not an attractive option for car-drivers, even for the five or six miles to Leuchars, judging by the empty seats on the buses although the recently-expanded station car-park is filled to overflowing every day, but there are plenty of empty bus-seats. On the other hand, evidence suggests that a rail service could attract 70% of car users.
Five miles of railway line would bring St Andrews to within an hour’s travel of Edinburgh, 20 minutes from Dundee and would greatly ease the daily movement of large numbers of tourists, students and commuters. It would also benefit the environment by reducing car-generated emissions. With this basic infrastructure in place, even charter trains could visit the Home of Golf. Perhaps one day, visitors to the Open will be arriving in the Northern Belle hauled by the Flying Scotsman.