Piling work to electrify Leven line begins: Thornton Junction-2

Tuesday 18 Oct 2022

Piling work to electrify Leven line begins

Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland

Work to lay the foundations that will pave the way for the electrification of the Levenmouth Rail Link is about to get underway.

The first phase of work between Thornton Junction and Haugh Mill Lade will see the project pile foundations for masts that will carry overhead wires in readiness for the introduction of quieter and more environmentally friendly electric trains.

Work to install the piles will begin on Monday October 24 and will last for circa three weeks as the first piles are inserted to the west of the rail corridor - mostly during day-time working. One night of overnight piling will be required for locations closest to Thornton Junction and this is scheduled for Saturday October 29.  

Further piling along the Levenmouth rail corridor is being programmed so that it works in tandem with other activities on the project, such as work on bridges and track laying.

Piling is an essential part of laying the foundations for the newly electrified railway and it is among the noisiest work activities on the railway and can be disruptive. Homes closest to the work sites have been notified by letter to make them aware of the possible noise.

While the work is being delivered as part of the reinstatement of the branch, electrification of the line to Leven is part of the wider electrification of the railway in Fife as part of the Scottish Government’s plan to decarbonise passenger services on the network by 2035.

Work on the Levenmouth Rail Link is scheduled to complete in spring 2024 and services will initially be in introduced using diesel trains. By this point however, the line will be future-proofed to enable the introduction of Battery Electric Multiple Units (BEMUs) to replace life-expired diesel units which will be phased out on completion of the wider Fife electrification project.

Sean Clemie, earthworks and structures lead for the project said: “The first piles going into the ground in the Thornton area is big for the project but also an important milestone for the wider aspirations to decarbonise the railway across Fife.

“With the first mile of the Leven branch already operational railway, we can use this to move the track-based piling rig to each location to sink the foundations and then insert the masts that will ultimately carry the overhead wires that will power the railway.

“The start of this phase of work is another sign that the project is really taking shape. It’s an exciting step forward for the team as we work towards delivering an electrified railway for Levenmouth and in creating an even greener, cleaner, and more reliable railway for Scotland.’’

Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors

Following successful completion of a range of preparatory activities the project to deliver the new Levenmouth Rail kicked off in March 2022.

Work includes:

  • 19 single track kilometres of new / reinstated railway. (Fully double tracked railway)
  • Two new modern accessible stations
  • Electrification of the line
  • Work with partners to optimise interchange options connecting stations
  • Opportunities in freight and tourist/charter connections

The investment value of the project is £116.6m

The programme is scheduled to complete in Spring 2024

Current Status:  

Work to upgrade Thornton North Junction was completed during a line closure on Sunday 6th March.  This enabled the connection onto what will be the Levenmouth branch line.

The project has completed the first mile of track, which has now been commissioned and being used to support construction of the subsequent phases of work on the project

Current work to the west of the route includes fencing, re-profiling of embankments, drainage and cabling and track works.  Bridge works are ongoing along the length of the rail corridor. 

  • Diversion of utilities has started on the Leven bridge and it is anticipated that preparatory work on the (Bawbee) Leven bridge will get underway in October/November to prepare for closing the road in early 2023.
  • Planning applications for both station developments on the line were submitted to Fife Council on Friday October 7

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