The year to end of March 2017 has been another successful one for the Community Rail Partnership.

The saddest event however, albeit not in our financial year, was the death of Sheila Sinclair on 25th August this year. Sheila was our Secretary and that post is now vacant, although we are having discussions with Borders CRP about the appointment of a joint secretary subject to the approval of ScotRail. Of interest is that all CRPs in England and Wales have paid secretarial support arranged by ACoRP, but this does not automatically extend to Scotland. Arrangements are in hand to have Sheila’s name removed from the website and various posters, the latter by printing new ones.

During the year we have supported the following projects from an £8000 grant from ScotRail specifically for projects, and £2000 for administration in a revised, and much simpler and improved, funding arrangement, which will be topped up annually to these figures.

  • The principal project was the creation of a new website – – which cost £2762 and was designed wholly within East Lothian by Philip Immirzi and we are now part of the ‘Our locality’ family of websites and news is automatically fed to almost 60 other East Lothian concerns. There is a wealth of information on the website and recent updates have included ‘How to get to hospital’ using the train. We have become concerned that people have been paying £50 or more taking a taxi to St. John’s Hospital Livingston when using the train to Waverley and boarding one of eight buses and hour at the top of the Waverley steps takes you directly into the hospital grounds. There is also detailed information on bus services that serve all East Lothian stations with links to the bus timetables.
  • We also became aware of deterioration in the Prestonpans murals and under the terms of our original agreement, where the artist would restore these within a two years period, and this was implemented. However, we do not wish this to become a millstone round our neck financially, and until the future of the location of Prestonpans station is decided in line with the Scotland Route Study it is unlikely these will be restored again in the interim.
  • The success of the 2016 line guides, where we printed 5,000, and all were used up well before the end of the summer, resulted in us printing a slightly revised 2017 line guide, and doubling the print run to 10,000. These were distributed to 29 ScotRail stations throughout central Scotland, and also to all hotels and guest houses in East Lothian, plus libraries and other outlets. Those not distributed by EAE (part of the John Menzies group), well over 1000, have been totally exhausted. The cost of the 2017 line guides was £1648 all in – in other words 16.5p each.
  • We are negotiating with ScotRail to replace the historical poster removed at North Berwick station and also to have additional historical posters put up at all of our stations in additional to updated CRP posters.
  • Although falling into the current financial year, we supported the installation of a commemorative bench on Longniddry station costing £1257 in a joint venture with Longniddry Rotary Club.

Other issues:

  • Bus / rail co-ordination

There has been some progress with bus/rail co-ordination over the past year in that the previous mis-match of time required to change bus times vis-à-vis train times has been resolved in that the Scottish Traffic Commissioner has agreed to shorten the time required to give notice to alter bus times to ensure that alterations to train times can be matched with changes to bus times. In addition ScotRail have agreed to introduce a clock face timetable on the North Berwick service with effect from December 2018 thereby enabling the connectivity to be disability compliant. We are currently seeking a meeting with East Lothian Council to ensure that the relatively minor changes to their subsidised bus services can be agreed. The previous Council was fully supportive of this – the stance of the current Council is hoped to be similarly supportive.

Once North Berwick has been addressed, we shall then our attention to Longniddry and then Dunbar.

  • Ticketing issues and connecting trains

We have been aware, for some time, of the unsatisfactory position where passengers are physically unable to purchase tickets prior to travelling into Edinburgh due to the scarcity of, and in addition, unreliability of, ticket machines on the platform. As a result a very large proportion of passengers board trains without a ticket. All of those with an East Lothian concessionary card must do so, as these are not sold on the platform. It is regularly the case that the conductor fails to collect fares on the train resulting in queues of well in excess of 100 passengers having to pay fares at Waverley before being allowed off the platform. This has serious repercussions for onward journeys, especially if an advance ticket is involved, and time considerations where it can take up to half an hour to exit the platform.


We have raised this issue with ScotRail who are to promote their Smartcard but have also intimated that to address this problem they intend to fully ticket barrier Edinburgh Waverley station for both the East Lothian and Borders routes meaning that customers will have to purchase a ticket before boarding.


Passengers with onward connections and who have proof by showing a valid ticket, will be exempted from the queues and should make themselves known to the member of staff who will let them exit the platform to catch their connection.


  • Posters – white grippers


Passengers at North Berwick may have noticed that not only the CRP’s own poster, but also the historical poster have been removed by ScotRail and replaced by their own posters. We are working with ScotRail to have these re-instated and identified by specially coloured white poster grips. A reprint of the historical poster has been undertaken. It is also hoped that historical posters specific to the other stations will be produced in due course and exhibited at other stations.


Harry Barker

Chair, East Lothian Community Rail Partnership

25th September 2017.