Since 1919, all passenger services arriving at Cowdenbeath have used the present-day station, which was opened in 1890 as part of a new alignment through the town and onwards to Kelty. This coincided with the opening of the Forth Road Bridge and, further north, the Glenfarg line, which provided an efficient corridor between Edinburgh and Perth (which sadly no longer exists).
Journeys between Cowdenbeath and Kelty previously followed a different path. The original Cowdenbeath station is referred to as Cowdenbeath (Old) by rail historians. It was situated on the eastern edge of town but no traces remain today. The tracks on the old loop remained in use for freight with the final section closing in the mid-1980s.
The old Cowdenbeath loop diverged from the present Fife Circle line at Cowdenbeath South Junction. The sign is still standing despite the fact that the tracks were lifted some 25 years ago.
Most of the trackbed leading towards the town centre has been converted into a public footpath. The bridge is situated just off the High Street.
The line served the NCB Central Workshops which were situated on the right of this picture.The Cowdenbeath pits were all gone by the end of the 60s but the workshops clung on for another 20 years. The tracks continued to Lumphinnans village but this part of the line is now buried under the Dora Golf Course. Beyond Lumphinnans, the line forked into sections for Lochgelly and Kelty.
An offshoot ran down to the High Street and over a level crossing to connect the No. 7 pit to the network.
Looking at the former level crossing from the other side of the High Street. The Fife Circle line passes overhead and the arch for the pit line is now used as a footpath. The road leads to Central Park, home of Cowdenbeath Football Club.
Lumphinnans Central Junction. This is the point where the old Cowdenbeath loop met the new alignment. The two systems were built 40 years apart which is why we have this unsual arrangement of stone and steel bridge parapets side by side. The stone bridge is now infilled.
View from the bridge towards Lochgelly. The original line to Kelty headed off to the left but can no longer be seen. The tracks were lifted back in the 60s and the landscape has reverted to agriculture. On the right is Lochgelly golf course.
Looking from the bridge back towards Cowdenbeath. The junction for Kelty and Kinross on the new alignment was located a few hundred yards further along from this point. Back to this picture, the old loop branched to the left and passed through a tunnel under the B981 at Lumphinnans but evidence of this stretch has been reclaimed by nature and the tunnel has been completely infilled.
Footnote - The old Cowdenbeath loop remained in use for freight until around 1984, latterly serving the Dora opencast mine. However, the 700-yard section between the B981 tunnel and Lumphinnans Central Junction was snipped out in 1966, upon closure of Lumphinnans Pit. Hence the loop effectively became a branch line. This must rank as one of the more bizarre railway closures of the 60s. A potentially useful through route was truncated for the sake of a trivially short section of track.