Past The Tracks
The Newburgh and North Fife Railway
The Newburgh and North Fife Railway was always unfortunately going to be one of Scotland's backwater railways. Originally proposed and authorised in 1897, the line ran from Glenburnie Junction just to the south of Newburgh, across the north of Fife to a junction just to the south of St Fort on the main Dundee to Edinburgh line. At Newburgh the existing station on the line from Ladybank to Perth was used, and the existing station at St Fort was also used. Intermediate stations where provided at Lindores, Luthrie and Kilmany.
The line opened to passengers in 1909 and was run by the Newburgh and North Fife Railway company until it was grouped into the LNER in 1923. Little is known about services on the line, but it would have been surprising if there where more than a handful of trains a day in both directions, even in the pre-war years. In 1951 local services in Fife where cut back, and the line lost it's passenger service. All of the stations on the line, apart from Newburgh and St Fort where closed to passengers on 10th February 1951. Newburgh station retained it's passenger services only a few more years until 19th September 1955 when the Perth to Ladybank line was closed to passengers. St Fort station however lasted considerable longer, only succumbing to closure on 6th September 1965.
The line remained in use for many years however as a freight only line, and it was only into the 1960's that further closures began. In 1960 the section of line from Glenburnie Junction to Lindores was closed to all traffic. The final death knell came on the 5th October 1964 when the remainder of the line from Lindores to St Fort was also closed to all traffic. Lifting of the line would have commenced not long after, and this small, insignificant railway passed into history.
However, despite or maybe even because it was such a backwater, there is still plenty to been seen today. The line was significant for the number of bridges along it's length - more than thirty in total and the vast majority of these survive to this day, albeit without the bridge spans and decking in most cases. In fact, in a couple of places, bridge abutments can seen sticking up from the middle of fields, with no sign at all of the trackbed for hundreds of meters on either side!
This helps to give the line it's own character, and despite having being a neglected railway throughout it's life, at least there are still some relics to remind us that not all railways where a roaring success, and that even the forgotten lines still have a story to tell all these years after closure.