While that estimate would prove to be overly optimistic, the mood was upbeat at the October half-yearly meeting of the shareholders. At that point the section of the line between Leven and Largo viaduct was "approaching completion" and "if thought expedient, may be opened for goods traffic in the course of the winter" and perhaps the remaining portion "opened early in the ensuing spring". It was agreed that Mr Thomas Grainger the contractor "deserved every compliment which they could pay him for the energy and success with which he had prosecuted the works, notwithstanding the unfavourable state of the weather and other obstacles". The meeting discussed the urgent need for getting fish traffic from the eastern towns to southern markets more quickly. Another reason for getting part of the line open for goods as soon as possible was to allow the raw materials for the onward construction of the line itself to be brought over land, rather than by sea, as had been the case thus far. Following the meeting, the Directors walked over and inspected the line as far as Largo and were satisifed with progress (23 October Fife Herald).
Sadly, soon after this - on 30 October - there was a fatality. A George McKinlay, aged around 45, of Ross-shire, was killed instantly on the site of Largo viaduct. The Dundee Courier ran the story on 5 November, describing how "scaffolding is being put up, the wood of which is being raised by a crane. On the morning in question five "sleepers" were being lifted to the top, when at a height of about forty or fifty feet, the hook at the end of the chain suddenly gave way, and the load was precipitated on the unfortunate man who was passing below at the time for tools for some carpenters on the other side".
By January 1857, following an inspection of the line from Leven to Drummochy, it was reported that "it is intended to open this portion of the line for goods traffic on an early day" (22 Jan, Edinburgh Evening Courant). A temporary terminus was created to the west of the uncompleted viaduct, within Drummochy, and the first trains that ran to it apparently caused quite a stir among the locals. Another half-yearly shareholders meeting was reported upon in the 30 April Fife Herald, noting that the line had been open for goods up to Largo since 1 February and that the end of June was the target for the remainder of the line. The meeting also noted that the "traffic in fish was very extensive" and "greater than expectations" and that it was anticipated that trade in agriculture and minerals would be similarly good once the line was fully open.
The line finally opened on 11 August 1857 - some days after an unofficial opening.
"One bright summer morning her father came running to tell them to come out and see the train puffing and snorting as it made its way slowly along the track from Largo. One can imagine the excitement that the wonderful invention would arouse, and understand too the backwardness of the country folks in not coming forward to take advantage of the free railway ride offered by the railway company on the trial trip."