It’s not quite what you’d expect from the daily commute. A potter in the signal box, weavers in the waiting rooms, a jeweller in the ticket office. And yet this is no surrealist vision, but the reality along the rather idyllic Fife railway line that runs between North Queensferry and Cupar, a direct result of Scotrail’s “Adopt a Station” scheme.

The scheme runs throughout Scotland, aiming to reuse railway buildings no longer needed, or indeed cared for, filling them with community ventures. But whilst it has spawned libraries and cafes, nowhere else has a line been so overrun by artists. It is, as this year’s Open Weekend of all the studios tucked away on the railway line shows, a true Art Line.

The first artist to come was Kirsty Lorenz, who did up the old station restaurant at Ladybank, now a studio where she paints Scottish wildflowers and gives community classes. Featured on TV some years ago, her studio was seen by Kinghorn-based artists Lynette and Douglas Gray, who travelled up to Ladybank to talk to Lorenz about how she did it.

It was during one of many subsequent conversations that they first came up with the very vague –says Gray - idea for a linked open day for studios along the line. “It was just one word, Artline, to begin with,” she says. “A joke, almost.” But then it became a reality, and after their first year in 2016, “everyone wanted to keep it going,” says Gray. Scotrail agreed, and has, along with other bodies, funded it ever since.

When Gray and I speak on the phone she is mid-way between a photoshoot at Aberdour station and an interview on Kingdom FM. “It’s one thing having everything in place, but getting the word out is another,” says Gray, cheerfully.

At Kinghorn, Gray will man the artists’ studios upstairs – a former railway flat - where she and her husband Douglas Gray have adjoining studios. “I’m planning to do a few demonstrations, perhaps on how to paint with Japanese brushes,” says Gray, “and then people can have a go,” she adds, although she says its hard to plan exactly as she’ll have to be on hand to take people round her painter husband’s studio, a minefield of spirits and wet oil paintings.

Finished paintings will be on display in the ground floor exhibition space, a former waiting room from which the Grays excavated a large quantity of salt, then “dried the place out” before restoring it.

There are many such tales of restoration along the Artline, as there are elsewhere. Individual buildings, adopted by community groups and individual artists, funded by charities and other bodies supporting the arts, painstakingly cleared out, made safe in some cases, the original features of these Victorian buildings restored or reinstated. You don’t have to read about it- you can ask the artists themselves.

At Burntisland, whose gardens have also been adopted and are a sea of red poppies in the summer, jewellers in the restored station building include Grace Girvan, who makes spare and beautiful silver and enamel jewellery embedded with sliver-thin skimming stones found whilst beach combing. Fellow jewellers Ebba Goring and Sally Grant will also open their studios, alongside weaver Susie Redman who, says Gray, will undoubtedly have her loom in action for the weekend.

At Inverkeithing, poet Maureen Sangster will read from ConverStations, a book of poems set around the Fife Circle line, alongside artist Sheena Berry’s illustrations. At Kirkcaldy, there are new exhibitions in the Art Gallery, adjacent to the station. At the other end of the line is Cupar, whose museum and local history heritage centre on the platform has many objects dating back to Pictish times, alongside a new exhibition, Work and War Horses, 1914 – 1918, on loan from the Royal Highland Show Society. The beauty of it is that you can pick where you stop – with a day return you can hop on and off as many times as you like, as long as you don’t leave the station. For railway enthusiasts keen to see the restored structures, for art lovers or those interested in looking around working artists’ studios, this should be a rather idyllic way to spend a day on the rails.

The Artline: Open Doors Weekend. North Queensferry to Cupar and stations en route, Fife. 5-6 May, Sat and Sun, 10am – 4pm (Kirkcaldy Art Gallery, 9.30am (12noon Sun) – 4pm

Don't miss

Australian artist Kate Scardifield spent 5 weeks fossicking in some of Scotland's rich local archives in preparation for this touring exhibition of work rooted in the ideas of Scottish Astronomer and sometime Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane. The exhibition changes in each location, the current incarnation the result of work in the Scott Gallery for an exhibition celebrating the rich cultural links between Scotland and Australia.

Ley Lines, Scott Gallery, Hawick Museum, Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick, 01450 364747, Until 18 May, Mon - Fri, 10am - 12pm/1pm - 5pm; Sat -Sun, 2pm - 5pm

Critics Choice

For the first time in its 500 year history, Surgeons’ Hall, the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, will mount an exhibition of contemporary art alongside the cases of preserved hearts, the anatomical anomalies, the diseased organs. The focus will be on Zhang Yanzi, an award-winning Chinese artist and Professor at China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, who spent some time in 2017 at the museum, studying the collection in depth. The results will be on display at the Museum until November.

Yanzi’s new work deals in healing, energy and human existence, which allies with an interest in things medical which has coloured much of her recent output. Much of it is interdisciplinary, and whilst she works in a number of media her basis is in ink, a traditional art form which she translates in an entirely contemporary fashion. Her “Secret Path” paintings, currently being installed, are inspired by a notebook of lectures in the museum’s collection, as is her “Capillaries” installation, which will extend downwards from the ceiling.

Perhaps the most striking, and displayed not in the exhibition space but within the Playfair Gallery itself, is the 64 metre long “Qi”, a “river of ink on silk…illustrating the energy which flows through the body through the analogy of the flowing river,” says Henrietta Tsui-Leung, CEO of Gallerie Ora-Ora in Hong Kong, which has organized the exhibition with Surgeons Hall. It is part, she says, of the need for contemporary art to form a response against the “real artefacts of life and death.”

A Quest for Healing, Surgeons’ Hall Museums, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, 0131 527 1711, Until 4 Nov, Daily 10am – 5pm, Entry to Surgeon’s Hall (£7/£4) recommended for those aged 10+ only.