StARLink was delighted to participate in the first Mid Scotland & Fife Rail Forum at which we were joined by representatives from the Levenmouth Rail Campaign and Newburgh Train Station Campaign, along with campaigners for the Alloa-Dunfermline freight line upgrade.
The morning included an excellent presentation by David Prescott of Allan Rail Solutions; David is a rail industry expert with extensive knowledge of the field and learning from him as to where the various Fife Rail projects sit within the Scottish context of rail infrastructure development was of immense practical value – and generally presented an encouraging scenario for each campaign.
We discussed the transport appraisal (STAG) process – its strengths and weaknesses, the issues with which groups have been faced when trying to initiate it or progress beyond it to implementation and whether there exists an opportunity to amend or replace the STAG via the upcoming National Transport Strategy review.
The third topic of our focus group was that of engagement with other stakeholders, i.e., how the campaigning groups have to date worked with key stakeholders (including Transport Scotland, Fife Council and Network Rail), how this work could be improved and how each might better communicate and work with these agencies.
The Forum concluded by discussing “next steps” – the actions each group might take forward and how we envisage the agenda of a subsequent Fife rail forum.
Following on from the formal agenda we discussed how the various Fife campaigns dovetail as part of an overall Fife rail infrastructure improvement agenda, the benefits each can bring to the other and the possibility of a strategic implementation project incorporating all Fife rail proposals.
StARLink is indebted to Mark Ruskell MSP – Scottish Greens and his constituency team for organising and facilitating this excellent workshop.