Haddington | Transport

Rail | Bus | Car

In 1945, Haddington was served by its own railway station and numerous bus services. By 2000, with a greatly increased population, public transport is reduced to bus services only. In 1945 the 4.8 mile single-track branch line from Longniddry to Haddington ended at Haddington station, half a mile to the west of the town centre. Passengers had to change at Longniddry to a main line service to Edinburgh, the whole journey taking about 50 minutes. Bus services, travelling through the centre of the town, were both cheaper and more frequent, and use of the railway declined. The branch railway line was closed to passenger services in late 1949, although freight transport continued until 1968. The track-way was retained, in case it should be required in the future, but was eventually made into a footpath/cycle way.

By 1977-8, with more commuters travelling into Edinburgh, a park-and-ride scheme became an increasing necessity. Many people left their cars at one of the stations between Drem and Wallyford, and completed their journey to Waverley station by train. For those whose workplace was not near the station, bus or car provided a more convenient means of travel. The new dual carriageway between Edinburgh and Haddington, opened in 1996, has made road journeys much quicker, although in 2000 the planned extension of dual carriageway to Dunbar has not yet been constructed.

In the mid 1940s there were three buses per hour from Haddington to Edinburgh via Tranent, but although bus services also went from the town to Dunbar, North Berwick and Berwick-on-Tweed, as well as other smaller places, there was no bus station. Not many people owned cars. In the late 1950s smaller bus companies ceased to run, and their routes were not taken up by the large companies. A post-bus was suggested as a feeder service from the farmlands into Gifford. Bus services were de-regulated in 1985. The local council was powerless to influence regional council-supported buses. More recently, bus operators have changed, and in 2000 there is a commercial service from First Bus of three buses per hour to Edinburgh during most of each weekday, with extra, sometimes express buses at rush hours. The Sunday service is less frequent, and at any time the service to Dunbar is only hourly.

Other services from Haddington are provided by private companies with council support: Eve’s coaches go to North Berwick at two-hour intervals; also via the villages to Pencaitland and Tranent; and via the coast road at Aberlady to the shopping complex at Fort Kinnaird and on to the Eastern General Hospital; there is a minibus service from Berwick operated by Perryman; a post-bus goes to Stenton and Garvald, and another to Humbie; and the Gaberlunzie (Scots for a wanderer or gentleman of the road) will deviate to pick up passengers by request on different routes on certain days each week. Buses also run within the town between outlying areas and the High Street. Local coach firms hire buses to take groups on visits to places of interest throughout Scotland and beyond.

Car ownership has increased greatly during the period from 1945-2000, and the majority of people probably now have access to one. There are also two taxi firms in Haddington.

Parking in Haddington has been much increased in the 1990s, with a large central park adjacent to the Tesco store. The council have good parking facilities beside their new John Muir building, and have also commandeered the former small public car park at Haddington House for the use of councillors who now have their offices in this historic building. There is also a small car park at the junction of Mill Wynd and Poldrate, and another small park in Newton Port for those attending the surgery.

The most popular of the walks around Haddington are probably those by the river Tyne. The route along the north bank goes from Gowl Close at the Victoria Bridge to the Stevenson footbridge, with a right of way extending to the road to Bolton. A right of way also goes from the west entrance of Amisfield Park to the east and, by crossing the Abbey Bridge, the walker can return to Haddington by a path, in parts in poor condition, along the north bank of the river. A number of other paths exist in the parish, including the Railway Walk to Longniddry. There are no recognised bridleways.

Transport in the Parish of Haddington by Wendy Lund