Class 380 EMU at Drem on its first day
Rail Action Group East of Scotland


Haddington Gallery

When photographs appear in this column, hovering your mouse pointer over the image will produce a larger version.


Our Chairman, Barrie Forrest BEM, at our first attendance at the Haddington Farmers Market on 26 March 2022.


One of three possible station sites - looking east from the Alderston Road Bridge. There is plenty of space for a single platform and car parking area. The trackbed is among the trees on the right.


One of the problems - the old trackbed goes over the entrance to the Gateside Estate.


Another problem where the trackbed takes a severe turn under the new bypass. This bridge would need to be re-built to accomodate the rail lines reaching our preferred station site.


The start of the track bed to Haddington at Longniddry. The ECML ovrehead equipment can be seen on the left.


Haddington Farmers Market

RAGES now have a stall at the monthly Haddington Farmers Market with an aim to raise the profile of the campaign for the re-instatement of a station in Haddington.  See photo on the right.

Our photographer reported that the stand was very well represented with Barrie, Tom Thorburn, Ian Bowman and Tom Dickson with flying visits from Russell Darling and Harald Vox.

There were pipe bands, folk music and our stand was visited by every shade of political party, even Anas Sarwar who was at the market showed a genuine interest in our cause which was evident by the long discussion he had with Tom and Barrie.

The market was very busy and the visitors to the market showed a lot of interest in our stand, we even got new members signing up with promises to join from others.

The market takes place on the last Saturday of the month.


New Campaign (as reported in the East Lothian Courier)

A campaign calling for the return of a railway station to Haddington has won the backing of East Lothian’s former MP.

Now, Martin Whitfield, Labour’s East Lothian candidate for the Scottish Parliament elections in May, has backed the campaign and launched a petition urging the Scottish Government to reinstate the Haddington branch line and open a new station in the town.

The petition, which has been backed by local Labour councillors Shamin Akhtar and John McMillan, refers to Haddington’s rapidly growing population and economic importance as the county town as the main rationale for developing rail access.

He said: “Haddington needs more investment in modern new infrastructure to support this growth and help cope with the increased population and demands on existing services.

“Reinstating the Haddington branch line and constructing a new rail station would help solve many of the town’s current transport problems as well as supporting economic growth.

“Projects like the Borders Railway have demonstrated what can be achieved to improve rail connectivity and I want to see the same level of investment in East Lothian.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman told the Courier: “Scottish Ministers are committed to ensuring the railway meets future growth needs and are willing to consider proposals for improvement works to current stations, new stations, or reopening existing ones, that arise from a positive transport appraisal which takes account of the impact on the wider rail network.

“East Lothian Council has been awarded a total of 90,000 through the Local Rail Development Fund (LRDF), to help them to carry out their East Lothian access study.

"This work will assess the transport needs and opportunities within East Lothian, and includes Haddington within the study remit.

"They have made their case for change which is the first of the three appraisals in the LRDF process, and East Lothian Council are currently producing their initial options appraisal, the second appraisal for this work.

"It is too premature to say whether Haddington station will be re-opened at this stage of the process, but if East Lothian Council’s appraisal provides a robust Strategic Business Case we will consider it for potential future funding through our rail pipeline process.”

Mr Whitfield called on people to sign the petition, which can be accessed via

Reinstatement of Haddington Rail Branch

On 24 January 2006 RAGES gave a presentation on possible sites for a re-opened Haddington rail station to the Haddington and District Community Council.  This was reported in a special newsletter.

The Community Council are very much in favour of a rail link being re-instated to the town.

Our then MSP took place in August 2006 when RAGES met with the then MSP for East Lothian, John Home Robertson, in Haddington and toured the possible sites for a station. A full report of this meeting can be found in The Rages Rag Issue 31.

Unfortunately, before the local councillors could be involved, the Scottish elections took place.

However, since then, the new councillor with the transport portfolio has been very active in promoting rail enhancements in East Lothian.

To date he has got RAGES involved in SEStran meetings with the MSPs and the possibility of the re-opening of Haddington branch is raised there.

It was also been raised again by our MSP at his meeting with the Minister for Transport, Stewart Stevenson.

At the meeting with the Minister on 13 March 2008, the case for re-opening the Haddington station was put forward with a short paper showing options for a station and facilities for park and ride. The Minister promised to look at the case. More details in The Rages Rag Issue 37.

In late 2009, RAGES wrote to East Lothian Council asking if a study could be undertaken to re-instate the branch. The reply was disappointing in that they noted insufficient funds to carry out such a study at this time.

In April 2011, the local rail meeting, hosted by East Lothian Council, agreed to find funds to undertake a technical feasibility study as to whether it would be possible to run extra trains on the existing rail network.

At a subsequent RAGES Committee Meeting, the re-opening was raised again when the three Haddington ward councillors were invited.  Unfortunately, only one was able to attend, but the case for re-opening was presented.  Michael Veitch, transport portfolio holder, also present suggested that local support would need to be strong before the Council could fund the feasibility study.  Further discussion would be held at the next Committee meeting when it was hoped that all three Haddington councillors would be able to attend.

The re-opening of the Haddington rail branch was discussed at the October 2012 local rail study meeting.  The Council is keen to gauge local opinion on the Haddington branch and also believes it is important to ascertain the view of the Scottish Government.  The local rail meeting was also of the opinion that it was not politic to dilute its current aim of the Edinburgh to Berwick local rail service with the Haddington aim.

A meeting was called by Cllr Veitch in November 2012 to discuss how to go forward with the Haddington rail re-opening.

One of the actions was for RAGES to raise the subject with the Haddington Vision group and to liaise with the community council on ways of gauging the interest of the residents.  However, the newly created Haddington Community Development Trust (CDT) has, as one of its concerns, the improvement of transport links in Haddington. 

The trust discussed this and Wallyford has been chosen as a bus/rail interchange point with these advantages over Drem or Longniddry:

In conjunction with the CDT we had already some surveys of commuters had been undertaken, and also had help from Knox Academy pupils in a further survey.

The results of these surveys gave Prentice Coaches confidence to start this new route in February 2014, as they believed there was a demand for a high quality fast transport link to Edinburgh. The combined journey took a little over 35 minutes from Haddington High Street to Waverley Station in Edinburgh.  The Rages Rag issue 61 reported on the service.

Despite the returned questionnaires (1400) saying that 25% of the respondents would definitely use the service, Prentice Coaches was forced to discontinue the service in August 2014 due to insufficient patronage.

RAGES is looking at other methods to promote its aim of a rail service to Haddington.

Further to the article in The Rages Rag issue 71, East Lothian Council has been awarded funding by Transport Scotland for a study to look at improving rail connections in East Lothian including Haddington and Tranent. It will investigate current trip generators and future commuting trends as well as proposing potential solutions.

RAGES is pleased to announce that we have a new representative for Haddington in Stewart Leslie. Stewart is a Haddington resident and has been a RAGES member since March 1999.

To provide feedback, on 13 March 2019 RAGES, met with the consultants, Peter Brett Associates appointed by East Lothian Council to develop the Scottish Transport Appraisal Group (STAG) Case for Change, primarily concerning the corridor through the west of the county, broadly following the A1 and the East Coast Main Line (ECML) from Haddington westwards, where the majority of journeys converge on the transport network.

A full report can be read at this link.

In May 2019, East Lothian Council published the following report: "East Lothian Access Study Stag Appraisal - Case for Change". 

Appendix J "Haddington Branch Line Survey" gives the current thinking.