Hidden Fife: the abandoned railway buildings

The line of abandoned buildings lay on the other side of a field of stubble. Access to the buildings was an easy matter of wading through nettles, brambles and overgrowth and hopping through an open window.


So compared to the high octane exploits of bona fide urban explorers perilously racing gaps between trains to climb the Forth Bridge this was ruins exploration more like a Sunday afternoon post-roast lunch snooze. Frankly though, this is my level and I know my limits.


fife-railway-buildings-tyresEven so, climbing and jumping about piles of building materials and piles of concrete blocks creates the fleet-foot adrenaline of being in a place you shouldn’t be. The senses are sharpened and every noise crisply finger snaps the silence. A noise, building from a low murmur into a howling rattling crescendo, turns out to be a train rushing past only metres away yet unseen behind bushes, its violent velocity eventually settles back into an uneasy truce of silence. There are the shouts and voices of nearby workers suggesting that this abandoned zone edges into one of working activity, and a turn round the corner could be a blunder into an awkward conversation and the escort of shame. As always, creeping around is accompanied by the obligatory musical crackling of heavy boots walking over broken glass.

fife-railway-buildings-red-chairStilled caution is necessary. This place, its collapsed floors and empty sheds, could well be the repository for local dark secrets that will be guarded by silent eyes and hidden signals alerting to intrusion. Fragmented mosaics of paint peeling and dropping like curled leaves to the floor. Objects disassociated from normal meaning pose slightly sinister questions. Why is a baby walker abandoned amongst a carpet of broken glass in a disused railway building? Why was a red chair left so carefully aligned to the symmetry of a chamber’s internal walls? Dumped car tyres and shafts of light, wild plants slowly colonise interiors, Wild blackberries emerge out of mounds and piles of rubble and brickwork. They look luscious but probably best to avoid fruit with roots deeply immersed in rotting industrial soil.

The ramshackled buildings are anonymous shells at first, but gradually reveal their nature of railway-related workshops and offices with wooden partitions still intact, upturned furniture and smashed toilets.

The windows frame the Fife countryside. I exited one and walked over the fields, onwards to hidden churches and enigmatic priory ruins.






27 thoughts on “Hidden Fife: the abandoned railway buildings

    • Many thanks and I am glad you enjoyed the piece. I remember reading one of your posts earlier (the Erith one?) and it reminded me of walks years ago along the Thames. I remember the time when much of the south bank from Tower Bridge were dilapidated empty warehouses.

      Seems extraordinary now when you track development along the river today. And the Greenwich to the Thames Barrier walk used to have an end of the world feel about it.


    • Rajiv that’s really kind of you.

      There are some interesting ruins sites and facebook groups out there such as Abandoned Scotland, sleepycity.net, Ghost Town, Atlas Obscura, derelictlondon.net to name but a mere few. Beautiful photography and spectacular incursions into ruins and decay. Have a look if you are interested – they are the pros!


    • Thanks dobraszczyk – I have a really cheap camera so glad I manage to get a sense of the ruins across. My photography is not great but you can get away with it when the subject matter is so interesting.


    • Gah! That’s not the first time or the first post I have done that has referenced that film and I still have not seen it. Really need to pull my finger out on this one. Thanks for the comment.


  1. This is so cool . I am about to start a project looking at creating spaces in abandoned places and I would really like to have a look in here with all ideas I could use of railways etc. Would you be able to tel me where? or how I can get there ?



  2. Love the read, super interesting and I was wondering if I could get the location to see the place myself!
    Thanks again


  3. Alex; this is awesome

    I’ve been after an a abandoned building for a while for a portrait shoot I want to do and this looks like the ideal location.

    I hope the location is as mysterious as you make it sound. I just love it

    I am in Fife myself and wonder if you would be so kind as to reveal the location to me.



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