Inveresk | Transport

Railway | Footpaths

There is an ever-increasing volume of vehicular traffic passing through Inveresk Village, much of it with scant regard for the 30mph speed limit. A major reason behind the increase in traffic here has been the opening of the Edinburgh by-pass as vehicles now cut through Inveresk Village to the new road rather than go through the town centre, which itself is often gridlocked.

There has always been a bus service through Inveresk, though until recently it was infrequent (max of one per hour). At present there is a ‘bus war’ going on in the Lothians between Lothian Regional Transport and the First Bus company, both of which are offering a service every 15 minutes. This war – and the frequent service – will surely be short-lived.

Although Wallyford and Whitecraig are often spoken of together, transport links between the two have never been very good. Whitecraig naturally turns to nearby Dalkeith, and Wallyford to Musselburgh, and there are reasonably good public transport links to each. In 1986, the A1 by-pass bisected the landward part of the parish, further separating the two communities.

Despite calls for a Musselburgh by-pass since the 1960s, delays (and promises) continued through the 1970s. In 1978 the by-pass was scheduled to begin in 1982. It was eventually opened in December 1986. The 9.2km dual carriageway cost £9 million. Once the by-pass opened, Wallyford became a more desirable place to live; local traffic increased to such a level that traffic calming measures were introduced through the town.

In the mid 1950s Musselburgh had two railway stations, a terminus to a short branch from the East Coast Main Line in the town itself (see Inveresk – Musselburgh) and at Inveresk a through station on the main line. Inveresk was a near-perfect example of a Victorian country station. It boasted single storey stone buildings with a booking hall, ladies waiting room and shelter on the southbound side and a simple shelter and urinal serving the northbound platform. The gas-lit station was approached by a wide drive from the A6124 Musselburgh to Carberry road, which crossed the platforms by an over-bridge. There was also a stationmaster’s house, occupied latterly by a railway employee who had no connection with Inveresk. By 1960 the station was staffed from 8.30am to 4.30pm by a porter, who travelled up from Drem on the first train of the day.

The station was served by five trains a day in each direction, the majority of which were steam hauled Dunbar and Berwick-on-Tweed services, with the occasional North Berwick diesel multiple unit from the late 1950s. Passenger traffic was light – a few Edinburgh bound office workers and school children in the morning and evening rush hours. There was a goods yard on the north side of the line receiving modest volumes of coal traffic and despatching occasional consignments of sugar beet and other agricultural produce. In the summer months a steam locomotive and one parcels carriage travelled up to Edinburgh from Dunbar on Friday evenings, stopping at all stations en route to pick up racing pigeons. Inveresk received HM the Queen Mother on occasions when she was visiting her sister Lady Elphinstone of Carberry Tower. These visits ceased following Lady Elphinstone’s death in 1961 but remnants of royal standards were maintained. The garden was kept in reasonable order, planted with lupins; brasses were polished; the platform edge was neatly lined in white; and the station name picked out in stone on the south-facing embankment.

The last train steamed out to Berwick-on-Tweed (at 6.30 on 4 May 1964) and the buildings were demolished shortly thereafter. Aside from the entrance to the former station yard, now populated by houses, there is sadly no evidence of this relic of a bygone age.

Two new stations have been created roughly a mile either side of Inveresk. The ‘new’ Musselburgh station (opened 1988) serves the Stoneybank area. Wallyford (promised since 1989 and opened May 1994, costing £1million) is adjacent to Pinkie Braes (the ‘Wimpeys’) and Wallyford.

There is a well-maintained footpath/bridleway along the banks of the river Esk, which is much used by village residents and visitors for dog walks etc. In the 1990s the council and the Edinburgh green belt Trust carried out work on the seats and trees there. In 1999/2000 the riverbank walkway was severely damaged by flooding at the foot of Windy Wind (next to the new Cala houses in the Inveresk Gate development) and major structural repairs were carried out in 2001.