Author : Andrew Hajducki, Michael Jodeluk & Alan Simpson
Cover : Paperback
This book deal with the fascinating and often tortuous history of one of the least prosperous and most ill-fated of all of the small companies that struggled to complete the coastal loop from Thornton to Leuchars, the Anstruther & St Andrews Railway.
Opened in two stages between 1883 and 1887, this rather wandering 16 mile-long single track linked the terminus of the Leven & East of Fife Railway at the busy fishing port of Anstruther with the burgh of Crail and also served the villages of Kingsbarns and Boarhills.
From Boarhilols the line swung through ,a great arc and, passing through nowhere in particular, had remote stations at Stravithie and Mount Melville before beginning a fearsome descent to St Andrews where its flower-decked and spruce station was the meeting point with the branch from Leuchars.
The shareholders of the Anstruther & St Andrews eventually sold out to the North British Railway, and thereafter the line rose to new heights under them and the London & North Eastern Railway, even carrying a named train, the fabled Fife Coast Express. The combined effects of an economic recession and bus competition caused the four intermediate stations between Crail and St Andrews to close to passengers as early as 1930, but this sectioned survived to serve wartime airfields at Crail, Dunino and Stravithie. The post-war boom ended with rapidly falling revenues. Even the dieselisation of passenger services could nopt stop local people from turning their back on the line.
When, in the 1960s, the line was finally closed many regretted that Crail was no longer on the railway map and that it would never again be possible to sit at the front of a diesel unit and trundle through a beautiful rural landscape interspersed with sea views, farmland and the four mysterious stations that seemed to have fallen asleep under a wicked spell.
To those who remember the slow trains that trundled their way around the East Neuk, the Anstruther & St Andrews Railway was possibly the most fascinating and least visited part of the Fife Coast system and is still held in great affection.
The book is A5 format, 248 pages,, with more than 200 photographs, maps and illustrations.