Books about Fife railways.


Fife's Lost Railways - Gordon Stansfield



This publication examines all the passenger lines in Fife which were subject to closure. A short history of each route is given, along with photographs of the lines in their heyday. A superb starting point for learning about the Kingdom's lost railway heritage.


 East of Thornton Junction - James K Corstorphine



This volume contains a highly-readable history of the Fife Coast Line which ran from Leven to St Andrews and eventually to Dundee. The final section of the line was closed in 1969, yet today it is hard to imagine why such a popular destination for tourists, students and golfers was deprived of its rail service. Roads in this region aren't great and surely a coastal railway would do good business today. There has been talk of reopening the line from Kirkcaldy to Leven and these proposals are also examined in the book. Well worth reading but it's out of print and a second-hand copy on Amazon Marketplace will set you back £30. A much cheaper alternative is to borrow it from Fife Library Services, who have several copies in stock.


The Methil Branch Line Railway - James K Corstorphine



A 50-page account of one of Fife's lesser-known branch lines. The Thornton to Methil route carried passenger traffic via Buckhaven and also linked up with the complex of lines surrounding Methil Docks, formerly one of Scotland's busiest ports. Available for £3.50 plus postage from the Kingdom of Fife Railway Preservation Society


The East Fife Central Railway - Jim Rankin



A largely pictorial summary of one of Fife's most obscure railway lines. The East Fife Central Railway left the Fife Coast line near Leven and proceeded to Lochty, some 15 miles away. The line was for freight use only and this consisted mainly of largely agricultural produce. Despite the unlikely setting, business was good and the route was in operation from 1898 until 1964, when the Beeching Axe intervened. Following closure, a short section re-emerged as the Lochty Private Railway, which ran as a heritage route until 1992. The book is available, priced £4.50, from the Kingdom Railway Preservation Society website.


Early Railways of West Fife: An Industrial and Social Commentary - AW Brotchie & Harry Jack



This volume chronicles the development of horse-drawn and rope-hauled waggonways in Fife and their later forays into locomotive traction. Three principal systems are examined: Elgin, Halbeath and Fordell. The book goes into meticulous detail about the proposal, construction, operation and decommisioning of these early railways. The impact on local industry and society plays a central role in the tale, which could appeal to a readership beyond those interested purely in transport matters. This is a fantastic book, no doubt about it, but your enjoyment of it will depend upon the extent to which you are prepared to immerse yourself in the subject matter. Those seeking a more general outline of the early railway projects may find it heavy going.


Now out of print, second-hand prices start at a whopping £45 on Amazon. It is however available from the Fife Library catalogue.