THE closure of Longannet power station last week drew a line under a century of coal-fired electricity production in Scotland.

The plant, which was in operation in Fife for 46 years, was the last of its generation.

For many of its employees, the switch off was an emotional end of an era. However, for rail campaigners in the region, it also signalled the end of an obstacle which had stood in the way of passenger rail services returning to West Fife.

They are calling on transport chiefs to fund the creation of a number of new passenger platforms along the Forth Circle, hogged for years by Longannet's coal trains.

By adding platforms at Crossford, Cairneyhill, Torryburn, Valleyfield, Culross and Kincardine, they believe the Forth Circle can be "transformed into a critical link from Dunfermline to Kincardine servicing the Fife villages with nominal expense".

The project would restore a direct link between the Fife Circle and the Alloa-Stirling lines, in turn opening up a neglected corner of Scotland to rail connections with Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Martin Keatings, the Cairneyhill resident who has petitioned the Scottish Parliament to back the development, described it as a "win-win" last year.

"The line is already there and the only barrier to it being used was Longannet," he said. "I’m asking ‘why not?’ The infrastructure is already in place, all that’s required is the platforms. It makes sense and would give all of us in the villages better links to transport."

Although Transport Scotland responded in December 2015 that the reopening of the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine line through to Dunfermline for passenger services "does not feature in the current investment programme", the agency added that the project was "likely to be considered" as part of a Fife Council-led appraisal into efforts to mitigate against the economic fallout of Longannet's closure.

The proposal comes against a backdrop of increasing calls for axed and disused lines around Scotland to be reinstated following the success of the new Borders Railway.

Passenger numbers for the Edinburgh-Tweedbank route have already outstripped projections with the railway carrying 500,000 in its first five months of operation - compared to the 650,000 forecasted for the first full year.

Rail campaigners were far from surprised that demand exceeded official expectations, however, and have insisted the Borders case simply highlights the appetite among commuters and leisure travellers for an expanded rail network.

Ironically, the Waverley Line - the basis for the new Borders Railway - was axed in 1969, the year before Longannet opened. And just as it reopens, Longannet closes - with both those actions now forming the basis of arguments to reverse various Beeching cuts.

In Levenmouth, campaigners want a five-mile track linking Leven and Thornton reinstated, while lobbyists in St Andrews are calling for Scotland's oldest university town and golfing jewel to rejoin the rail network for the first time since 1969.

The so-called 'StARLink' line would not only enable direct services from St Andrews to Edinburgh and Dundee, but - if the Forth Rail Link also became a reality - it would facilitate direct services between Glasgow and St Andrews.

If any of these links have the potential to replicate the Borders Railway's success, surely they are worth considering?