TRANSPORT Scotland and Fife Council have been urged to progress with talks to provide a rail halt at Halbeath.

Fife MSP Alex Rowley made the call after discovering that no headway had been made between the two parties to advance the project.

Back in June 2017, Fife Council's new administration renewed its commitment to see a long-awaited rail terminal at Halbeath Park and Ride.

The proposed strategic SESplan, which is expected to be approved by Scottish Government ministers in the spring, also makes clear that provision of a new rail halt is key to delivering new homes in Dunfermline's eastern expansion.

Mr Rowley told the Press: "After meetings with Fife Council a couple of weeks ago, it became clear to me that nothing has moved forward.

"It's important that this facility is there and it's disappointing that there has been no funding committed by both Fife Council nor the Scottish Government.

"The idea of a park and ride there for both buses and trains is overwhelming and there is a clear case for it.

"If we are serious about encouraging people to use public transport then we have to put infrastructure in place.

"It's therefore disappointing that nothing has moved. I don't even think anything has been done to see the beginnings of work, nothing has been done to advance it at all.

"The initial funding would just be needed to see if it was plausible and what the impact would be."

The creation of Halbeath rail halt is also included in a list of strategic projects by the Scottish Government under the SESplan, which covers Edinburgh and South East Scotland.

However, the project has been earmarked as 'not committed'. Therefore, there is still a decision to be made as to whether a new rail station is provided.

It’s estimated that the facility would cost £7 million.

Mr Rowley continued: "It's important that Fife Council and Transport Scotland start having serious discussions about funding just to get it on the table.

"There might be gas pipes underneath the site, so we don't even know if it is possible.

"If it disappeared off the strategic plan then it would be a disaster but we need to be pushing the Scottish Government to have a timescale in place.

"What I do know is most people that speak to me say it seems mad that a train line runs past Halbeath Park and Ride yet it doesn't stop there. Here's an opportunity to make it into a great transport hub."

John Mitchell, service manager (sustainable transport and parking), said: "Fife Council is fully supportive of a new rail halt at Halbeath Park & Ride.

"It has been included within Fife Council’s submission to the Network Rail Scotland Route Strategy Consultation, and raised within discussions with Network Rail, Abellio ScotRail and Scottish Government as part of network improvements and future service considerations.

"SEStran is supportive of a rail halt at Halbeath, consequently, it is included within the Regional Transport Strategy. Fife Council and SEStran are willing to work with Transport Scotland to move this project forward.

"However, Transport Scotland, as rail authority, would be responsible for developing and implementing the rail halt."

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: "Future investment in public transport infrastructure will be considered through the second Strategic Transport Projects Review process.

"This will include working with regional partners to consider evidence bases and potential transport aspirations such as those set out for Halbeath in the Proposed SESPlan Strategic Development Plan.

"The Forth Replacement Crossing Public Transport Strategy will be reviewed as part of the project’s year 1 evaluation.

"A number of the identified interventions in the strategy have been successfully constructed whilst others are now being reconsidered in light of up to date traffic information and alternative emerging strategies such as the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal."