Reinstatement of Haddington Rail Branch
On 24 January 2006 RAGES gave a presentation on possible sites for a re-opened Haddington rail station to the Haddington and District Community Council. This was reported in a special newsletter.
The Community Council are very much in favour of a rail link being
re-instated to the town.
Our then MSP took place in August 2006 when RAGES met with the then MSP
for East Lothian, John Home Robertson, in Haddington and toured the
possible sites for a station. A full report of this meeting can be found
in The Rages Rag Issue 31.
Unfortunately, before the local councillors could be involved, the
Scottish elections took place.
However, since then, the new councillor with the transport portfolio has
been very active in promoting rail enhancements in East Lothian.
To date he has got RAGES involved in SEStran meetings with the MSPs and
the possibility of the re-opening of Haddington branch is raised there.
It was also been raised again by our MSP at his meeting with the
Minister for Transport, Stewart Stevenson.
At the meeting with the Minister on 13 March 2008, the case for
re-opening the Haddington station was put forward with a short paper
showing options for a station and facilities for park and ride. The
Minister promised to look at the case. More details in
The Rages Rag
In late 2009, RAGES wrote to East Lothian Council asking if a study could be undertaken to re-instate the branch. The reply was disappointing in that they noted insufficient funds to carry out such a study at this time.
In April 2011, the local rail meeting, hosted by East Lothian Council, agreed to find funds to undertake a technical feasibility study as to whether it would be possible to run extra trains on the existing rail network.
At a subsequent RAGES Committee Meeting, the re-opening was raised again when the three Haddington ward councillors were invited. Unfortunately, only one was able to attend, but the case for re-opening was presented. Michael Veitch, transport portfolio holder, also present suggested that local support would need to be strong before the Council could fund the feasibility study. Further discussion would be held at the next Committee meeting when it was hoped that all three Haddington councillors would be able to attend.
The re-opening of the Haddington rail branch was discussed at the October 2012 local rail study meeting. The Council is keen to gauge local opinion on the Haddington branch and also believes it is important to ascertain the view of the Scottish Government. The local rail meeting was also of the opinion that it was not politic to dilute its current aim of the Edinburgh to Berwick local rail service with the Haddington aim.
A meeting was called by Cllr Veitch in November 2012 to discuss how to go forward with the Haddington rail re-opening.
One of the actions was for RAGES to raise the subject with the Haddington Vision group and to liaise with the community council on ways of gauging the interest of the residents. However, the newly created Haddington Community Development Trust (CDT) has, as one of its concerns, the improvement of transport links in Haddington.
The trust discussed this and Wallyford has been chosen as a bus/rail interchange point with these advantages over Drem or Longniddry:
In conjunction with the CDT we had already some surveys of
commuters had been undertaken, and also had help from Knox Academy pupils in a further
The results of these surveys gave Prentice Coaches confidence to start this new route in February 2014, as they believed there was a demand for a high quality fast transport link to Edinburgh. The combined journey took a little over 35 minutes from Haddington High Street to Waverley Station in Edinburgh. The Rages Rag issue 61 reported on the service.
Despite the returned questionnaires (1400) saying that 25% of the respondents would definitely use the service, Prentice Coaches was forced to discontinue the service in August 2014 due to insufficient patronage.
RAGES is looking at other methods to promote its
aim of a rail service to Haddington.