Wiles Motor Services Ltd. was a well-loved local independent bus operator based in Port Seton.
Established by the late Terry Wiles in the 1920s, who also ran a café on the eastern edge of the town near the swimming pool immediately opposite the then main service 129 bus stand, it operated two services between Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton and Tranent until just after bus deregulation in the mid-1980s. These ran at hourly, and on Saturdays, half hourly intervals. Also on a few days a week some journeys were extended beyond Tranent to Ormiston, Crossroads school and up to Kidlaw until the mid-1950s. Upon Mr. Wiles’ retirement the business was transferred to Annette Gilroy and Tom Hood, both of whom worked for the original company which also operated private hires and school and mining contracts in both East Lothian and into Midlothian.
The bus is a Bedford OB, there being thousands of these built post war, with a Duple 29 seat coach body, registered SS7501 in March 1950. It originally entered service with Cleghorn of Haddington, and passed to Ian Glass of Haddington and was often used on the route from Haddington to Dunbar via Morham, Garvald, Stenton, and Pitcox. The bus was preserved in Wiles livery and can be seen today.
A sister identical vehicle registered SS7486 entered service with Stark’s of Dunbar in February 1950 and was operated by Eastern Scottish until 1967 following them acquiring Stark’s in 1964.
Artist: Lesley Innes
The Tranent to Cockenzie Waggonway was opened in 1722, and was possibly the first railway in Scotland. It originally had wooden rails and was powered by horses, doubtless Clydesdales, moving coal from the East Lothian coalfield from around Tranent to the salt pans at Cockenzie to the port at Port Seton.
In 1745 the Battle of Prestonpans was fought over the lines, and to this day the East Coast mainline which also traverses the Prestonpans battlefield is the only railway in Britain to cross any battlefield.
The wooden rails were replaced by iron rails in 1815, and in 1846 it was connected to the new mainline by the North British Railway and became a branch line which existed until 1968 with some of the original route still being used at that time. Part of the original line can still be traced today. The Waggonway Museum, West Harbour Road, Cockenzie, EH32 0HX is well worth a visit where the full story is told.
Artist: Thomas Ewing
PRESTONGRANGE HERITAGE AND MINING MUSEUM
The site of Prestongrange has a rich and varied industrial history. Coal was first mined by the monks of Newbattle Abbey in the 12th century and it subsequently developed with glass manufacture, a pottery, brickworks and a colliery with a harbour known as Morrison’s Haven to import materials and export goods. In order to pump water out of the coalmine, a huge Cornish Beam engine, operated by steam was installed and a Hoffman continuous Kiln was used for the pottery. Winding gear was put in place for the colliery and a power house was also built. The colliery was initially sunk in 1830, was nationalised in 1947 when the National Coal Board assumed responsibility, and closed in 1963.
Today the Museum is run by East Lothian Council (since 1992) but had been the National Mining Museum until the Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange was granted that status.
Today the site is a haven for wildlife in addition to the museum.
Artists: Preston Lodge High School Art Department
Mallard holds the record for the fastest steam locomotive in the world having achieved a speed of 126mph on 3rd July 1938 south of Grantham. It is depicted here passing through Prestonpans (which it did on a number of occasions) with a train from London, York and Newcastle. Note the original bridge over the tracks, this being replaced when the line was electrified. The engine was new in 1938 and formed part of the 35 strong A4 class (reduced to 34 when one was destroyed in WW2) designed by Sir H. Nigel Gresley CBE, born in Edinburgh in 1876, and upon nationalisation it was renumbered 60022 by British Railways.
Mallard is probably the second most famous steam locomotive in the world, second only to The Flying Scotsman, also designed by Gresley and also used on the line through Prestonpans.
The opportunity to depict Rupert the cat on the platform was too good to miss. Rupert frequented the station area for many years, and was loved by many locals and passengers and is remembered in Prestonpans by a statue funded by public subscription. Here we see him ‘at home’.
Artist: Lesley Innes
EAST LOTHIAN COMMUNITY RAIL PARTNERSHIP
Sustainable travel for all