The Anonymous Widower

Scottish Government Approve £75m Levenmouth Rail Link

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

The plan seems to have been well-received by politicians and the media.

I’ve always thought this line to be a good candidate for reopening.

  • It is only five miles long.
  • It would serve Scotland’s largest town without a rail station.
  • There must be freight opportunities for freight, as the line could serve Scotland’s largest distillery.

There is more here on the Wikipedia entry for the Levenmouth Rail Link under Cost, Feasibility And Services.

Could The Levenmouth Rail Link Be Part Of A Bigger Picture?

The Fife Circle Line is an important route into Edinburgh for commuters, shoppers and visitors.

This map from Wikipedia shows the stations on the Fife Circle Line.


  • The route is not electrified.
  • A train starting in Edinburgh and going rund the loop would cover about sixty miles.
  • Trains have a frequency of four trains per hour (tph)

It would appear that it would be the sort of service that would be ideal for electric trains, like ScotRail’s Class 385 trains, where a fleet of perhaps eight trains could provide the current service.

But there is a big obstacle to electrification; the Forth Rail Bridge.

It would be a difficult engineering project, that would cause massive disruption and one that would probably be strongly opposed by the Heritage lobby.

This map from Wikipedia shows the proposed Levenmouth Rail Link.

Note how it connects to the Fife Circle Line at Glenrothes with Thorton and Kirkcaldy stations.

I estimate that the distance between Leven and Edinburgh stations would be about 31 miles.

Could Battery-Electric Trains Work To Glenrothes with Thorton And Leven?

Consider these  facts abut battery-electric trains.

  • Bombardier ran a battery-electric train on the 11.5 mile Mayflower Line in public service for three months, without a hitch in 2015.
  • Hitachi, Siemens, Stadler and Vivarail have sold battery-electric trains.
  • Hitachi are running battery-electric trains in Japan.
  • Ranges of upwards of fifty miles are being claimed.
  • Battery-electric trains are a quality experience for passengers.

.As the Edinburgh and Leven and dinburgh and Glenrothes with Thorton routes  are about thirty miles, I believe it is now possible to run battery-electric trains on these two routes.

  • They would be charged at the Edinburgh end using the existing electrification.
  • Charging stations would be needed at Leven and Glenrothes with Thornton.
  • Electrification could also be erected as far as Dalmeny station at the Edinburgh end, which would reduce the range on batteries by about seven miles.

There would be no difficult engineering and the Forth Rail Bridge would look the same as the day it was built!

Hitachi Plans To Run ScotRail Class 385 EMUs Beyond The Wires

I covered this in more detail in Hitachi Plans To Run ScotRail Class 385 EMUs Beyond The Wires.

Hitachi appear to be serious according to this article of the same name on Rail Engineer.

The article concludes with this paragraph.

Hitachi’s proposal to operate battery trains in Scotland is at an early stage. However, with their use being recommended by the rail decarbonisation task force and the Scottish Government about to pass new climate change legislation, it may not be long before battery trains are operating in Scotland.

Hitachi aren’t stupid and I doubt they could want for a better portfolio of launch routes, than some of those in Scotland.

  • Edinburgh and Leven over the Forth Rail Bridge.
  • Edinburgh and Grenrothes with Thornton over the Forth Rail Bridge.
  • The Borders Railway.

I also show in the related article, that Glasgow to Oban and Mallaig may be possible.

The Rail Network And Electrification To The West Of Edinburgh

This map shows the rail system to the West of Edinburgh.

All lines except for the route through South Gyle and Edinburgh Gateway stations are electrified.

Electrification as far as Dalmeny station, the addition of the new chord (shown in yellow) and fill in electrification to join the chord to the Glosgow wires would open up the possibilities of more routes between Edinburgh and Glasgow and a connection between Glasgow and the Fife Circle.

But battery-electric trains would be needed.

ScotRail has Options For More Class 385 Trains

This is said in the Wikipedia entry for the Class 385 trains.

10 unit optional follow up order after 2020.

So ScotRail seem to have a gateway to the future.

Will Battery-Electric Trains Be Good For Tourism?

I very much doubt, that they’ll be bad for it!


The announcement of the reinstatement of the Levenmouth Rail Link, could be be a collateral benefit of a decision to trial or even order some battery-electric Hitachi Class 385 trains.

August 9, 2019 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. Always good to hear about a new line opening up, but i wondered what the light pink line shown going out of Leven Station. Further instigation shows they are looking at the dock connection with a link to a possible new Ferry/Hover Craft.

    Comment by Mike Fox | August 9, 2019 | Reply

    • If the trains are operating on batteries, surely it’s a case of Have Track Will Travel.

      Comment by AnonW | August 9, 2019 | Reply

  2. How many of class 385 are delivered now?
    Will the last 3 cars be converted into a car with a battery and participate?
    There is no reality unless it is tested not only on a desk but also in the UK.
    In addition, since there are many DMUs of 1 or 2 in the UK, it is necessary to take countermeasures (2 Ver. Class 385.).

    Comment by Yy Hiro | August 9, 2019 | Reply

    • I feel that the best way to put batteries on an EMU site distribute them along the train. On most British Rail and Bombarsier designs it is possible to put 50-100 kWh under each car. If you take a figure of 3 kWh per vehicle-mile, that gives a range if between 17 and 33 miles. But the latest trains are more efficient and use regenerative braking to the batteries, so I suspect a train like a Class 319 could have a fifty mile battery range. I haven’t looked under a Class 385, so I don’t know how much space is there.

      It should also be noted that ScotRail have ten options for more Class 385 trains and that the data sheet on their web site for AT-200 trains says that battery power is an option. As Hitacho have said, a battery Class 385 train is possibility and it could already have been designed.

      Comment by AnonW | August 10, 2019 | Reply

      • “Battery power is an option” is new to me.
        I can’t wait until 2023.

        Comment by Yy Hiro | August 10, 2019

  3. […] Scottish Government Approve £75m Levenmouth Rail Link, I talked about using Class 385 trains with batteries on the Levenmouth Rail […]

    Pingback by Around The Fife Circle Line « The Anonymous Widower | September 2, 2019 | Reply

  4. […] Scottish Government Approve £75m Levenmouth Rail Link, I discussed the rebuilding of the Levenmouth Rail […]

    Pingback by ‘World First’: SGN Launches Bid For 300 Green Hydrogen Homes Project In Fife « The Anonymous Widower | May 21, 2020 | Reply

  5. […] Scottish Government Approve £75m Levenmouth Rail Link, I wrote about the five-mile long Levenmouth Rail Link, and how it could be run by battery […]

    Pingback by Electrification Plans For Line Between Fife And Clackmannanshire « The Anonymous Widower | September 6, 2020 | Reply

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