The Levenmouth Rail Link project will return connection for the town to the mainline passenger network for the first time in over 50 years.
The project has seen considerable preparations carried out around Thornton Junction which sits west of the route. The work has provided an early opportunity to lay the first new sections of track for the project which in due course will see 19km of double track installed making the branch line.
The current track sections for the first mile of the rail corridor have been used in order to deliver new ballast, sleepers and rails to the section needed.
Following the delivery of goods, the old track was lifted and the top layers of ballast were taken back to the formation level of the trackbed. As the materials were readily available the track-bed was able to be quickly put back in place.
Batches of seven concrete sleepers were put in place by Specialist plant covering an impressive 72 metres each hour and providing the chance to put down the first new rails ahead of schedule.
The work has seen seven pairs of continuously welded rail sections measuring 240m in length and were positioned on the sleepers before being clipped into position to create the first mile of the brand new Levenmouth branch line.
Bill Reeve, Director of Rail, Transport Scotland said:
“Laying the first rails on the new rail link is a tremendous milestone for this exciting project and great news for the local community.
“The Levenmouth Rail Link will provide sustainable connectivity for the communities of Leven, Methil, Cameron Bridge and the wider area, and will attract people to visit, live, work and invest in those communities.
“Our Programme for Government made a commitment to decarbonising Scotland’s Railway and growth in rail use is an essential part of decarbonising the total transport mix. This scheme will re-open the disused rail line between Thornton junction and Leven, providing convenient and comfortable services through Fife to Edinburgh, Dunfermline and the wider rail network.”
Joe Mulvenna, Project Manager for the Levenmouth Rail Link project said,
“Even at this early point in the work, laying the first rails feels like a symbolic event that will be warmly welcomed by all of the people who have worked hard to make this project a reality.
“Utilising much of the existing trackbed and extensive preparatory work has enabled the project to get quickly out of the blocks and we can already see the project taking shape but obviously there is still a long way to go.
“With the first rails down along the first mile, the focus will turn to other aspects of the programme – particularly work on some the structures – but it is great that the project has got off to such a great start.”