The St Andrews Partnership has made a plea to Fife Council and TayPlan to push forward proposals for a train station in St Andrews.

They hope to convince SESTRAN, the regional transport authority, to include a St Andrews station in their plans.  The partnership has also called for the appropriate authorities to investigate the viability of such a station.  They want, “answers once and for all to a debate which has rumbled on for decades.”

Until 1969 St Andrews was linked to the rail system.  At present however, the closest station is at Leuchars which must be reached by bus or car.

An investigation by Tata Steel last year concluded that railway links from a St Andrews station to both Edinburgh and Dundee would operate at a profit.  It called on the Scottish Government to look into this issue.

The need for a railway link to St Andrews has long been a source of debate.  StARlink (St Andrews Rail Link) has been campaigning for a station since 1989.  They argue that the town can not cope with the current levels of traffic; with increasing levels of tourism and numbers of students suggesting that the situation will only get worse.  They further stress that there is not enough car parking space and that what there is ruins the attractive nature of the town centre.

With house prices going up, StARlink has pointed out that many of the people who work in St Andrews live outside and commute into town – whilst many St Andrews residents travel the other way. St Andrews Partnership states that more than 2000 commuting journeys take place each day.  This causes large amounts of unwanted traffic.  A survey by StARlink shows that 70% of drivers would be willing to take the train instead if it was available.  A railway link would therefore alleviate both the traffic and parking problems, whilst benefiting the environment.

The University is another factor.  St Andrews is the only university in Scotland without direct access to a railway station and amongst only a few in the UK; these being Keele, Cranfield, Buckingham and Lampeter.

Tourism is also highlighted as a reason to bring back a train station. According to the St Andrews Partnership there are one million visitors to the town every year.  St Andrews is placed 7th in Visit Scotland’s list of top 10 destinations and 9th in Trip Advisor’s top 10 UK destinations. With increased traffic into the town during golf tournaments – the Open in particular placing stress on the roads – and festivals, more transport options are needed.

StARlink told the St Andrews Citizen: “The partnership has recognised the strategic importance of better transport links from St Andrews, and their potential to create economic prosperity for the whole of Fife, as well as the environmental benefits a railway would bring.  It is to be hoped that Fife Council and TayPlan will heed the request so that the proposal for a new railway can be further progressed without further delay.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. So far as I know, the English-language term is ‘railway station’ or, if that’s considered too much of a mouthful, ‘rail station’. Why use the USA expression ‘train station’?

    • Why is it always the brits that have a problem with using American terms, its like you have some sort of inferiority complex or something. Americans never care which term is used, in fact they barely distinguish. I had no clue that railway station was even a british term at all. Whatever gets the message across is good enough. Get over yourself.

  2. Actually, “train station” is widely used throughout the UK. Seriously, work on your nitpicking skills because that’s really clutching at straws.

  3. Some studies have concluded that a railway station (or train, I’m usually very picky, but this is an absolute none issue…) would be useful in St Andrews. Stop the press! Except that such a conclusion is blindingly obvious, in an ideal world.

    Rail investment is both very expensive and very time consuming. Look around the country; most current projects involve renovating existing stations and the electrification of existing lines, neither of which are as drastic as any plan for St Andrews. Even plans for new stations, which are few and far between, are on existing lines.

    Don’t get me wrong, this would be very nice. However, while it would be very easy to point out all the logistical problems with incorporating St Andrews into the rail network today, there is no point, because this won’t happen for decades, if ever.

  4. I don’t know how expensive it would be, and I don’t know how much residents would appreciate the noise of a train station and constant train next to their houses, particularly given the fuss kicked up about some far-off wind turbines recently. The answer to those musings probably aren’t positive, though. I reckon it’d put a lot of taxi drivers out of business too, there’d probably be less of a demand for bus drivers as well. Can’t see it happening really, as convenient as it would probably be!

    • Residents, of which I was one (probably less excitable than nowadays) thought nothing of the noise from trains next to their houses, even although the pre-diesel trains made much more noise. Besides the need for a place to site the ‘train station’, all the land over which the railway ran between Leuchars & St Andrews has been sold off, so securing fresh wayleave would cost a great deal.

      • Where would we put it? Not in the centre of town, and has been said, the original land has been parcelled off. Would it then make masses of difference? So far as the noise goes, I grew up near to a bridge where the trains came through, and all we suffered from was the attic shaking at odd moments. I’d never have noticed if that attic wasn’t my bedroom.

  5. This is yet another example of classic St Andrews distance snobbery. We do have direct access to a rail station, it just happens to be 5 miles away. Living in a small town, 5 miles seems like the other end of the earth, if you lived in a large you would think nothing of a 5-mile journey to the nearest rail station, especially if there were buses running every 10 minutes!

    • Sorry Lucy, but transport studies show you’re wrong and it’s not about snobbery. Railways have a far greater appeal than buses. Commuters who travel to work by car are reluctant to take a bus, but are keen to get on a train. Travel times to Dundee would be halved (outside congestion time!) and travel time to edinburgh and edinburgh airport would also be reduced, shorter than by bus and therefore competitive to cars. Having a population of 18000, of which 8000 are (frequently travelling) students, 2000 (even more travelling) members of university staff, plenty of jobs attracting people from surrounding communities, the railway to St Andrews is absolutely justified. Actually when it turns out a railway operates “at profit” it means it is very urgently needed. Only few lines operate at profit (even London-Edinburgh does not!!), only lines like Gatwick Express, so if St Andrews is on that level, it really is justified! Think of all the tourists in Edinburgh who are keen to have a day trip to St Andrews? The massive buses of Asian tourists crawling through Market Street? The masses of car during golf championships!?

    • You would have to wait for the bus, wait for the train its not as worthwhile. I do see a point in giving St Andrews a train station. It would increase growth of the town as well.

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