RE-OPENING the Dunfermline to Alloa railway and a rail tunnel under the Forth are part of a £22 billion plan put forward by the Scottish Green Party.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Mark Ruskell has welcomed his party's Rail for All programme which, he says, would build a modern, zero-carbon network which is affordable and accessible to all.

“I’ve long been a champion of re-opening the Dunfermline to Alloa rail line, and this report shows there’s never been a better time to make this kind of investment," he said.

"There is huge public support for a green economic recovery from COVID, and we know investment in rail will create much-needed jobs in West Fife and provide a legacy for local communities.

“The key principle of the Rail for All programme is to make the rail network accessible to everyone, and the Dunfermline to Alloa line is an obvious missing link in the network in central Scotland.

"So far, the Scottish Government have only committed to exploring the re-opening of the line between Alloa and Longannet. It would be a huge missed opportunity to not continue the line onto Dunfermline and create a rail network that reconnects communities along the Forth."

Mr Ruskell said the idea of a tunnel, linking Kirkcaldy and Leith, would be a welcome boost for West Fife rail users and added that the proposals would create thousands of jobs while delivering infrastructure essential to tackling the climate emergency.

"Before the pandemic, the reliability of the existing service to Edinburgh was a constant headache for commuters, with late and overcrowded trains a daily reality," he said.

"Our Rail for All proposal also includes a new tunnel under the Forth, taking the inter-city trains from Dundee and Aberdeen off the Forth Rail Bridge. This will significantly reduce congestion on the bridge and at Haymarket, which will make a huge improvement to commuter services to West Fife.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the introduction of passenger services on the freight line east of Longannet to Dunfermline – and any potential additional stations – would be considered by the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

“Scottish Ministers are committed to ensuring the railway meets future growth needs for passengers and freight and are willing to consider proposals for new stations, or re-opening existing ones, that arise from a positive transport appraisal," said the spokesperson.

“Some of the suggested interventions are already being considered by the Scottish Government. Aspirational projects, such as the Firth of Forth Tunnel proposal by the Green Party, would be subject to the same scrutiny from the earliest stages to ensure they merited any serious consideration.

“The ongoing Strategic Transport Projects Review will help to deliver the vision, priorities and outcomes for transport set out in the National Transport Strategy published in February 2020. STPR2 will inform transport investment in Scotland for the next 20 years.”