The reopening of the Levenmouth Rail Link, which will mark the return of passenger rail services to the region for the first time since the 1960s, has presented ScotRail with an opportunity to revise its timetables to maximise benefits for new and existing customers across Fife.
Our response to ScotRail’s consultation on its proposed timetables can be found here.
Transform Scotland rail policy advisor Paul Tetlaw said:
“We wish to see rail carrying a greater modal share of the transport market in support of the Scottish Government’s welcome objective of reducing car mileage by 20% by the year 2030.
“To help achieve this, rail needs to offer an attractive and competitive alternative to the private car. That is, improved journey times – particularly for direct services between Leven and Edinburgh – must be improved. And, they must be delivered alongside a concerted marketing campaign.
“Moreover, for rail to offer serious competition to road transport between Edinburgh and Perth — and beyond to Inverness — there is a need for significant improvements to the rail offering either by timetable or infrastructure enhancements, or a combination of the two.”
Our key points:
- The area to be served by the new stations at Leven and Methil has a combined population of around 37,000 and so offers great potential to develop the rail market.
- For the interim timetable: the journey times proposed via Dunfermline are not attractive and consequently not a suitable way to launch and market the new services. Direct services between Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy are preferable.
- An improvement in the journey time of the direct services (closer to 1 hour) is needed to maximise marketing opportunities and build passenger numbers.
- In the long-term, alternate services via Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline (providing a half-hourly link between Leven and Edinburgh) is the most favourable option, giving both direct trains via Kirkcaldy whilst offering greater connectivity within Fife via Dunfermline.
- The decision to stable trains overnight at Leven and provide a crew depot is a wise choice as it reduces unnecessary train mileage and provides high quality employment opportunities locally.
- To maximise the patronage of the new services, a concerted marketing campaign is required – akin to that accompanying the launch of the Borders Railway.
- Although Dundee is well served, Perth suffers from seriously extended journey times and significant improvements to the rail offering are required.