The Levenmouth rail line in Fife has taken a significant step towards becoming the next in Scotland to be re-opened after ministers agreed to re-examine the case for the route.
Transport minister Humza Yousaf has told MSPs the business case for the restoring the link should consider its wider benefits.
It follows a Fife Council study which did not prove the case.
The six-mile line would join the Fife Circle near Glenrothes with Thornton station, with new stations at Cameron Bridge and Leven, and a freight terminal for whisky at the Cameron Bridge distillery - the largest grain distillery in Europe.
It opened in 1854 but closed to passenger trains in 1969 and has been mothballed since the last coal trains ran on part of the line to Methil Power Station in 2001.
The 33,000-population urban area is the largest in Scotland without a rail line, with re-opening estimated by campaigners to cost some £56 million.
The minister's offer was made in a debate at Holyrood led by Mid-Fife and Glenrothes SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government's Transport Scotland agency said: "We all recognise the importance of strong evidence to support any proposal requiring substantial public investment and that it is the responsibility of those promoting schemes such as Levenmouth Rail Link to clearly set out the rationale for investment and demonstrate value for money can be achieved."
Mr Yousaf he said he had told Fife Council the agency would look at the business case again
He said: “To ensure we make the right decision for the people of Leven, I have written to the council to follow up my offer for Transport Scotland to assume responsibility to take forward this study.”