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The Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian

Transport

Throughout the period there has been a regular rail service between Edinburgh and North Berwick, stopping at Longniddry. This has become increasingly important as Longniddry's population of commuters has grown. In the 1940s and 1950s trains were pulled by steam engines, replaced in the 1960s by diesel units. The line was electrified c1990. This service makes it possible to travel to Edinburgh in only 20 minutes. In recent years however, the North Berwick-Edinburgh service has come to be perceived as uncomfortable and unreliable. More often than not coaches have been dirty and litter-strewn, with foul malfunctioning toilets. New, or newer, trains are now being gradually introduced so matters should improve.

A branch line to Haddington was closed to passenger traffic on 3 December 1949. Goods trains continued to run on the Haddington line till 1968 when the line was closed and the track removed.

From 1945 2000 there has been a bus service between North Berwick and Edinburgh, stopping at Longniddry. This service was originally run by SMT, which after several reorganisations and name changes is now merged in First Group. The route is served by new modern buses, but is still perceived as unreliable. Frequent changes of timetable, often with minimal publicity, have not helped. The antics of drunken youths on the 'last bus' do little to add to customer confidence.

In the 1980s, the route of some of the buses from Edinburgh to Seton Sands was extended to Longniddry. The frequency of this service was later cut back severely, and the route extended to Haddington. This service has now been taken over from First Group by Eve Coaches. Four buses run each way daily, except Sundays, through Longniddry between Haddington and the new Royal Infirmary on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

After the rail service to Haddington was closed, Wiles' Buses ran a service through Longniddry to Haddington until around the late 1960s. There is now only the infrequent and poorly publicised Eve Coaches service previously mentioned. Thus, Haddington with its employment opportunities, council offices, hospital, superstore, and wide range of shops, is actually quite difficult to reach from Longniddry, even though it is only six miles away.

Since many commuters living along the East Lothian coast travel by car, the A198 through Longniddry is very busy at certain times of the day. In summer, when hordes of motorists head for the coast from Edinburgh, there is a constant procession of cars through Longniddry. Many drivers seem quite oblivious to the speed limit, and crossing the Main Street can be a hazardous undertaking at times.

A 40mph speed limit was recently imposed on the stretch of the A198 from Longniddry Main Street to the east end of the dual carriageway, and this year (2001) traffic islands have been placed at strategic points.

A massive extension of parking facilities at Longniddry Station has made the concept of 'park and ride' more attractive. On the other hand, the opening of the Tranent/Musselburgh bypass has substantially cut driving time to Edinburgh.

Footpaths and rights of way: there is a right of way from the foot of Links Road across the golf course to the coast road. The Dean Wood, on the western boundary of the village, was acquired by the Woodland Trust, Scotland in 1996, and a public footpath has been constructed from one end of the wood to the other. A track runs through the fields from the Kiln Cottages to the foot of the Trabroun road, which, if not a right of way, is commonly treated as such. The line of an old right of way through Mitchell's Fields by the Baker's Wood was preserved as a surfaced path when the Glassel Park housing development was built.

Drives and tracks within Gosford Estate are officially only open to permit holders (although the legal basis for this is probably shaky). However, the attitude of the estate to walkers has traditionally been fairly relaxed, particularly on the section of driveway leading from the West Lodge. In recent years attitudes unfortunately seem to have hardened, following cases of theft and vandalism, and 'No Access' notices have started to appear.

East Lothian Council has created a railway walk from Longniddry to Haddington along the track bed of the old Haddington branch line (purchased 1978). This is an important wildlife corridor and nature reserve (admittedly of a fairly unspectacular kind), and is carefully maintained. It is open to walkers, cyclists, and horse-riders, and leads through some very pleasant countryside. There are parking facilities at each end, and at Cottyburn to the south-east of Longniddry, where there are also picnic tables.

The council has also put up signs along the foreshore indicating the John Muir Way. However, on its Longniddry section at least, this is not so much a path as an invitation to walk along the beach or the coast road.

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