Athelstaneford | Transport

The village is only two miles from Drem station and arguably rural isolation was cut 155 years ago when the railway came through and opened the world to anyone who could walk to the station with a train fare, like John Muir’s family from Dunbar station in 1849. From the late 1990s, public policy was to encourage and enhance public transport and to reduce inward car commuting to Edinburgh but increasingly, Athelstaneford looked routinely to Edinburgh and beyond not just for work but for shopping and leisure. The attractions of the national road network accessed only four miles away on the A1 dual carriageway coupled with an intended further improved train service from Drem and the possibility of more housing developments continued to press on the identity of Athelstaneford.

In 1951 the valuation roll disclosed six ‘railway servants’ at Drem. By 2000, the signal box was demolished, the station open (i.e. unmanned) and the line electrified. East Fortune station had also closed in 1963.

There was a bus service still between Haddington and North Berwick. It was not as busy as when East Fortune hospital was going strong, and dependant on council subsidy, it ran some ten times a day, which compared remarkably with the eight journeys each way reported by Downie Thomson in 1953.