by Keri Allan
21 Mar 2022
Progress on the Levenmouth Rail Link is moving ahead of plan as preparatory work at Thornton Junction North provided an early opportunity to put down the first new sections of rail.
In total, 19 kilometres of double track will be installed to create a branch line linking the town of Leven to the mainline passenger network for the first time in over 50 years.
Two new stations will also be constructed at Leven and Cameron Bridge in addition to electrification of the line.
The project, valued at 116.6 million GBP (141.7m euros | 153.3m USD), was first announced by Scottish Government Transport Minister, Graeme Dey, last summer and preparatory work started at the beginning of March.
Existing track sections within the first mile of the rail corridor were used to deliver the new ballast, sleepers and rails. The old track was then lifted and the top layers of ballast removed back to the track-bed’s formation level.
With all the materials already in place, it was simply a case of quickly reforming the track-bed.
Specialist equipment positioned the concrete sleepers in batches of seven, covering 72 metres an hour and creating the early chance to put down the first new rails.
Seven pairs of continuously welded rail sections, 240 metres in length, were positioned on the sleepers before being clipped into place to form the first mile of the future branch line.
“Even at this early point in the work, laying the first rails feels like a symbolic event.
“Using much of the existing track bed 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’s great that the project has got off to such a great start.”
Looking forward, station designs will be completed later this year and then planning applications made.
Completion of the project is planned for spring 2024.
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