Glenrothes with Thornton Railway Station

(Gleann Rathais le Thornton)

An unstaffed railway halt at the eastern end of the Fife Circle Line, Glenrothes with Thornton Station (referred to in Gaelic as Gleann Rathais le Thornton) is located a quarter-mile (0.5 km) southeast of the village of Thornton and 1½ miles (2.5 km) south southwest of Coaltown of Balgonie in Fife. Thornton Junction Station was established a half-mile (0.8 km) northeast in the 1840s, where the Dunfermline Branch met the main section of the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway. This station closed in 1969 as passenger services were withdrawn beyond Cowdenbeath, leaving the line open only for coal trains. Meantime, the New Town of Glenrothes was growing rapidly to the northwest but, designed for cars rather than public transport, relied on a solitary existing railway station at Markinch. The Fife Circle opened in 1989 and this brought the demand for a new station closer to Thornton than the original, that could provide better linkages between the main administrative centres of Dunfermline, Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy. This new station opened in 1992, with the support of Fife Council. It is now operated by ScotRail and was used by 76,688 passengers in 2016, having shown a consistent rise in usage over the preceding seven years. There is a car park located to the south of the station with a capacity of fifty vehicles, and a bus stop nearby.

The track geometry here is unusual; although having two tracks and two platforms, these tracks diverge as they approach the mainline to the east, forming a triangular junction. The southern track (and Platform 1) is used by Fife Circle trains which turn south to Kirkcaldy, 3¾ miles (6 km) to the south southwest, whereas the less-used northern track is served by Platform 2, with trains proceeding to Markinch, 2¾ miles (4.5 km) to the north northeast. The converse is also true, thus both platforms are bi-directional. This pair of single-track lines merge into a normal double-track configuration just to the west of the station, before they proceed to Cardenden Railway Station, 5 miles (8 km) to the west southwest.

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