The Government of Scotland has extended support to the proposed reopening of the Levenmouth rail link in Fife.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson confirmed the move after a meeting with council leaders and local community groups.

Estimated to cost around £70m, the project will now advance to the detailed design phase.

According to the Levenmouth Sustainable Transport Study, the proposed rail route will include stops at Leven and Cameron Bridge. It would be combined with improved bus services, along with walking and cycling facilities, to improve transport connectivity.

Matheson said: “The detailed appraisal work that has been carried out suggests that improved transport links, which give Leven a direct rail link to the capital, will lead to an enhanced local economy, bringing better access to employment and education and the potential for new investment.

“Easier and more sustainable travel options will make it easier for people to reach hospitals, schools and visit other areas of the country as well as giving better access to Levenmouth.”

Once operational, the Levenmouth rail link will connect the east of Fife with Edinburgh and Dundee, reported The Scotsman.

The rail line is expected to become operational in five years. Once the line becomes operational, travel from Leven to Edinburgh will take around 70-75 minutes.

Passenger services on the line were stopped around 50 years ago. However, it saw freight operations transporting coal until 2001.

In January, Network Rail awarded framework contracts to deliver a range of rail projects in Scotland over a period of five years. The contract winners include BAM Nuttall and QTS Group.