CLACKMANNAN and Kincardine could host "pop-up" railway stations in a bid to assess demand for permanent future stops in the area, an MSP has suggested.

Calls to have the Alloa-Fife line re-opened for passenger use have increased following the closure of Longannet Power Station, but the project remains on the drawing board.

However, as the Scottish Government sets aside a £2million pipeline fund to see whether certain areas of the network could support a full-time stop, Green MSP Mark Ruskell has highlighted Clacks as one county which should be considered.

He told the Advertiser: "The Alloa-Kincardine-Dunfermline rail line is currently mothballed, but is a front runner to be brought back into use to serve communities once again.

"In our discussions with the Scottish Government we have focussed in on this line and the potential for new stations including Clackmannan and Kincardine.

"Much work is still needed, but by establishing pop-up stations, the market for permanent facilities could be tested. It’s worth considering this approach alongside the more conventional business case development.

"Stirling to Alloa has been very successful, but it took a long time to develop and no new rail re-opening projects have being planned in Scotland since 2006. That’s why we need to go further and establish a fund that can accelerate the work to bring these projects forward."

As previously reported, the idea of a permanent halt in Clackmannan is warmly welcomed by residents in the town.

Kincardine, meanwhile, is currently undergoing a period of transformation as it looks to deal with the effects of Longannet's closure.

But it has been argued that re-opening the Alloa-Fife line for passenger use would help residents in those areas to consider employment in other parts of the country, for students to consider attending college or university where they otherwise wouldn't, and for more people to visit the towns.

Mr Ruskell added: “Pop-up stations would be another step towards reversing the legacy of the transport policies of the 1960s when rail lines were ripped up and the car was king.

“They would enable market testing of new stations and allow more robust business cases to be developed.

“It takes a long time for an idea to turn into a proposal, and for appraisals and feasibility studies to be approved.

”Local communities can now put their proposals forward, and temporary stations would be one of many practical options to progress ideas.”

Consultants Allan Rail, headed by former Transport Scotland official David Prescott, are looking to establish as many as 20 pop-up stations across the country.

Network Rail has previously built temporary stations, typically involving scaffolding, portable waiting rooms and a gravel car park.

A spokesperson for campaigners Railfuture said: “Getting any sort of new rail project off the ground is still frustratingly expensive and bureaucratic, so we welcome any moves to kick-start and ease this process.

“Network Rail has shown how it’s possible to open temporary stations at short notice, so it makes sense to try using pop-up stations to test demand.

“There are numerous examples in other industries of new products and services being test-driven, so why should the railways be any different?”

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “We are supportive of the development of new and innovative initiatives which deliver benefits for passengers, freight customers and local communities. We are aware of this proposal and are giving it consideration.”