The village has a small railway station, which is called Glenrothes with Thornton. Although situated at the south end of Thornton, it also serves the Glenrothes area. This rail halt was opened in May 1992, restoring a rail service to Thornton lost when its main line railway station closed in October 1969 as a consequence of the 1963 report by Dr Richard Beeching on the Reshaping of British Railways (the Beeching Report).
The village is well served by local buses, operated by Stagecoach in Fife and running between Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes. However, express services between those towns bypass Thornton.
During the first part of the 20th century, Thornton railway station was situated on the Aberdeen to London main line to the east of the village, at the end of Station Road. To the west, alongside the Dunfermline line, was built the largest railway marshalling yard in Scotland during the 1950s. Though much reduced, this yard is still in use for rail freight services.
In 1957 the Rothes Pit was opened to mine the coal in the rural hinterland surrounding the village. This coal mine was tied very closely to the development of the new town of Glenrothes to the north. The planned long-term benefits were to be huge, and were to be the driver for economic regeneration in central Fife. In 1961, 4 years after opening, the huge investment was written off and the mine run down because of unstemmable flooding. Ironically, miners who had worked in older deep pits in the area had forewarned against the development of the Rothes Pit for this very reason. The state-of-the art engineering and design was closed, leaving the huge enclosed concrete wheel-towers standing at Thornton for many years as a forlorn symbol of the collapse until 1993 when the towers where destroyed.
In season 2005-06, Thornton Amateurs won the Fife Amateur First Division at the first attempt, being promoted to the Premier Division where they currently play.
In season 2007-08, Thornton Hibs reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Junior Cup, only to be beaten 3-0 by Cumnock after extra time; the Hibs had been reduced to ten men, losing their goalkeeper, in the 89th minute when the score was 0-0.
The village holds a Highland Games annually every July.