Pencaitland | Transport

There was no change over time in methods of transport relative to Pencaitland parish. The trains had long gone – the passenger service in 1930, the one-a-day freight service in 1960; the line closed in 1964. On the buses, only service numbers had been changed for operational and administrative services as an attempt to make the public more aware of route numbering.

In 2000, bus services are provided by ‘First Bus’. This runs a service to Edinburgh, basically at hourly intervals, with additional services in the early morning, but with an inconvenient gap of an hour and a half after the early services and the need to change buses in the evening. There is also a subsidised service on a circular route embracing towns and villages including Pencaitland and which makes a link with Haddington. The community is well served by these buses.

From the 1990s, the Gaberlunzie bus, operated for East Lothian Council, was an experimental service which wandered into Pencaitland parish on occasional days, but because of the reasonable regular service buses from Pencaitland was rarely used, its real purpose being to link isolated villages or houses. Gaberlunzie is an old Scottish word meaning a wanderer or a ‘gentleman of the road’. The bus ‘wandered’ within a defined area.

Bus services were initially introduced in the 1930s, operated by Scottish Motor Traction who used the fleet name SMT. After privatisation, the operators were Scottish Omnibuses; not long after the war the fleet name was altered to ‘Scottish’ and shortly afterwards to ‘Eastern Scottish’, and latterly ‘SMT’ began to appear again. Scottish Omnibuses was bought by ‘First Bus’, which runs the major service from Pencaitland. Again, the service is very satisfactory.

As car usage increased, roads did improve. After 1945, petrol and other fuel were in short supply and new cars were not so readily available, but it was not long before cars were coming off the production lines in increasing numbers.

In Pencaitland parish, more and more residents found that the possession of a car was an asset not only for commuting but for business purposes; shopping became much easier, and in the rural areas the sense of isolation was eased and some of the outlying parts of the parish were made more accessible. Conversely, parking the car became increasingly difficult; many cars were parked in the street, as there was, for owners of older houses, often no space available in the curtilage of the house. There remained, however, a core of people (mostly elderly or handicapped) who had no access to a car.

A section of the 17-mile Pencaitland Railway Walk (the land was purchased by the then council in 1971) passes through the parish. The walk is classed as a bridle path, and is used also by cyclists; it is accessible at West Saltoun, Wester Pencaitland, Ormiston, Crossgatehall and Whitecraig, where it connects with the river Esk walkway.

There is one right-of-way from Pencaitland to Ormiston. In 2000, Winton estate has begun work on a network of paths through the estate.

There is public access along the Tyne to Nisbet.