WEST FIFE is missing out on a welcome boost to the local economy without a midnight train service from Edinburgh. 

Last week, the Press launched a campaign for a midnight train home from Edinburgh on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Our call has been backed by politicians and readers alike and now local businesses have also backed our campaign.

They say tourists are put off from staying overnight in Fife once they realise transport to the area is less than ideal. 

The Edinburgh accommodation market is full to bursting and West Fife could be ready to capitalise on that. 

But, with the last service from the capital currently 11.20pm, that’s a barrier to visitors staying here and West Fife cashing in on the revenue they could bring. 

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor David Barratt has seen first-hand what ScotRail’s constrained timetable does to business this side of the Forth. 

Prior to being elected, he used Air B&B to rent his spare room in Inverkeithing. 

He said: “In the short time I hosted using Air B&B, it was not uncommon to have a booking cancelled after visitors heading for Edinburgh realised the logistical challenge of working around the last train home. 

“Sitting on the Dunfermline and West Fife Tourist Association, I know hotels in the area work hard for the trade they get and could easily accommodate more. 

“It’s not long since the Queens Hotel in Inverkeithing received planning permission to be converted into flats. 

“This is in contrast to the market in Edinburgh where new hotels are springing up. We should be doing everything possible to encourage visitors to consider Fife. 

“The (Press) campaign for a midnight service is a key step in opening Fife up and will help boost the local economy.” 

Other businesses believe that more needs to be done by the Scottish Government to promote Dunfermline and making transport options more attractive would be one way to implement that. 

Jim O’Rourke, owner of Pitreavie Guest House, on Aberdour Road, Dunfermline, said: “Anyone with a bit of common sense would tell you that this is a good idea. 

“The Scottish Government should be pushing for later transport. 

“We have noticed more people wanting to stay in Fife but it seems to me that Edinburgh is being promoted more than Dunfermline. 

“We are inundated with people who want to come here because of Outlander and other shows but they want to visit Edinburgh too. 

“Having a midnight train could only be a good thing.”

During the Fringe Festival, locals and tourists benefitted from an extra rail service just before midnight and it proved popular. 

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in North Queensferry saw many guests taking advantage of the late-night train. 

Manager Stuart Douglas said: “I think it would be a great addition to this area. 

“I know a lot of my staff say you really can’t go out for a night out in Edinburgh with the trains and guests were definitely using it over the Fringe, so I think it would probably make a difference for everyone. 

“We certainly would support the campaign. 

“We had a lot of people wanting to stay at the hotel when they realised there was a later train and they could stay here for less. It’s an easy option. 

“It gives people just that bit of extra time that makes a big difference.”

Pamela Fernandes, owner of the Garvock House Hotel, said: “I think it would not only be beneficial for locals but it would encourage people staying in Edinburgh to come to this area. 

“It gives everyone more flexibility and we would certainly welcome anything that encourages people to stay in Fife.”