More seats for commuters on North Berwick line

The introduction of brand-new class 385 electric trains from December will deliver an improved experience for East Lothian commuters.

The key improvements at a glance:

  • Half of North Berwick to Edinburgh services will have 6 carriages
  • 08:07 from Prestonpans to Edinburgh will now have 4 carriages
  • 07:55 from North Berwick to Edinburgh will now have 6 carriages
  • 17:43 from Haymarket to North Berwick will now have 6 carriages
  • More than 1,500 additional seats each day between North Berwick and Edinburgh

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity said:

“These changes mark the first significant phase of timetable improvements on Scotland’s railways with £475 million being invested in rolling stock during this franchise, introducing faster, longer, greener trains.”

North Berwick station up for top award

North Berwick station has been nominated as one of the best stations in Britain.

ScotRail has announced that North Berwick station has been shortlisted in the ‘Station of the Year’ category of the National Rail Awards 2018.

The East Lothian station will be judged against set criteria, including safety, infrastructure and customer-friendly presentation.

North Berwick station was reduced to a single platform in the 1960s and lost its traditional buildings in 1984.

However, it remains a pleasant and welcoming seaside terminus, thanks to the award-winning efforts of station adopters North Berwick in Bloom and to the work of station newsagent Craig McLaren who has produced a guide to the attractions of the town.

The National Rail Awards will be held on Thursday 13 September at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

James Ledgerwood, ScotRail’s Head of Economic & Community Development, said:

 “North Berwick station remains one of the most welcoming stations on our network, and we are absolutely delighted to see it shortlisted. 

“Making our stations a more pleasant and relaxing place to catch a train is a key part of our plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”

New electric train ready for North Berwick route

ScotRail will take another step forward in delivering faster journeys, more seats, and better services for customers with the introduction of a brand new Hitachi class 385 electric train to its North Berwick route.

Passengers travelling between North Berwick and Edinburgh will be able to experience the new six-carriage train from Monday, 10 September, as ScotRail continues its commitment to building the best railway Scotland has ever had.

17/07/18 – 18071706 – SCOTRAIL
MILLERHILL DEPOT – MUSSELBURGH
The new Class 385 trains are pictured at the Millerhill depot

This is the third of the new Hitachi trains to be introduced, with two of the new fleet already operating between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High.

The trains are part of ScotRail’s £475 million rolling stock investment, following the £858 million electrification of the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow by Network Rail.

Customers using the North Berwick route will now be able to use the class 385 train on as many as 15 services throughout the week, with a further 12 on Saturdays.

It’s the latest in a range of improvements to services in East Lothian, with many of the trains on the route already operating with six carriages, and the majority of peak-time trains expected to run with this increased capacity by the end of the year. Further class 385 trains are due to be introduced on the North Berwick line before the end of the year.

ScotRail’s Chief Operating Officer Angus Thom said:

“I am delighted that we are able to introduce another brand new Hitachi class 385 train, this time to the North Berwick route. We know that our customers will really notice the difference from Monday.

“This is another step forward for ScotRail as we continue our commitment to building the best railway Scotland has ever had.

“The introduction of these trains will benefit customers all across the country, as they will allow us to move existing trains on this route out across the network. This will help us to deliver faster journeys, more seats, and better services for our customers.”

Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail Bill Reeve said:

“This latest introduction of the class 385 fleet brings the benefits of our new electric trains to North Berwick and Dunbar services and is just the start of delivering more seats across peak services and improved facilities to passengers along this route.

“This is all part of an ongoing Scottish Government commitment to ensuring Scotland’s railways are a popular choice and demonstrates the real benefits of our extensive programme of electrification. Work continues to deliver the remainder of the fleet which, once in service, will increase overall seating capacity by more than 23% across the Scottish network.” 

Local parliamentarians to host Macmillan coffee morning

The county’s MSP and MP are hosting an event at the Loch Centre in Tranent as part of this year’s Macmillan ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ campaign.

Iain Gray MSP and Martin Whitfield MP will host a coffee morning with the assistance of Loch Centre staff, who are long-term supporters of the high profile annual fundraising event.

The event will take place on the official Macmillan world’s biggest coffee morning day, Friday 28th September, from 10 am to 11:30 am.

Iain Gray MSP said:

I have always supported and helped promote Macmillan’s world’s biggest coffee morning, including organising my own event in the past. Staff at the Loch Centre have supported the campaign for many years too, so I’m delighted that we’re joining up with them to host an event this year.

It’s open to everyone and I would like to encourage local people to bring home baking or just come along to the event on 28th September. We want to raise as much money as possible for Macmillan and all contributions will be welcome.”

Martin Whitfield MP said:

Macmillan’s world’s biggest coffee morning has become well established as one of the highest profile fundraising campaigns on the annual charity calendar. It’s a cause everyone can get behind and I’m delighted to be working with Iain and Enjoyleisure to support it this year.

These events are a great opportunity for communities to come together to enjoy a cake and a coffee whilst also raising funds to support Macmillan’s vital work. I look forward to a good turnout and hopefully raising lots of money on 28th September.”

Macmillan Cancer Support has been running the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for nearly 30 years and last year alone the campaign raised £27 million for the charity.

Anyone wishing to hold their own event in East Lothian can get advice and support from Macmillan. It couldn’t be more simple to get involved – all you need to do is get together with family, friends or colleagues over coffee and cake.

You can register now for your free fundraising pack via the website https://coffee.macmillan.org.uk/

Nominations open for the Inspiring Volunteering Awards 2018

Nominations are now open for the East Lothian Inspiring Volunteering Awards 2018! The Awards are organised by STRiVE, the Third Sector Interface for East Lothian, to recognise and celebrate the wide-ranging achievement and significant impact that volunteers make within our county.

This is your chance to tell STRiVE who makes a difference in your community. Take a look through the categories below and complete the nomination form to tell them why you think your volunteer or volunteer team should receive an Inspiring Volunteering Award.

Shortlisted nominees will be invited to the award ceremony in late November 2018 where each category winner will be presented with an award trophy and all runners-up will be presented with a certificate.

Nomination Categories:

1. Fundraising & Retail Volunteer of the Year

2. Health and Wellbeing Volunteer of the Year

3. Environmental and Education Volunteer of the Year

4. Volunteer Team of the Year

5. Young Volunteer of the Year (Under 25)

6. Outstanding Trustee of the Year

7. Lifelong Commitment to Volunteering

The closing date for nominations is 17 September 2018.

Nomination packs are attached in both Word and PDF formats. Please return forms by email to admin@strive.me.uk or print and post to: STRiVE, 56 High Street, Tranent, EH33 1HH.

Alternatively, hard copies of the forms will be available from the STRiVE office in Tranent.

Local project leads way on understanding adoption issues in schools

A pioneering project run here in East Lothian is helping to inform a national campaign on raising awareness around attachment issues for adopted and looked after children.

Iain Gray MSP met with representatives of Adoption UK at Holyrood to learn more about the Attachment Ambassadors’ Project which the charity has been running in the North Berwick schools cluster.

The project aims to raise awareness of attachment issues and early trauma which can put children at a significant disadvantage in schools unless handled with sensitivity, understanding and appropriate responses to challenging behaviour.

The project ran a series of workshops and training events for teachers, other school staff and parents, covering issues such as child development, inclusion and peer support. An in-service day conference on attachment, relationships and resilience was also attended by 130 teachers.

Six teachers, one in each cluster school, subsequently became Attachment Ambassadors, attending training provided by Adoption UK and receiving ongoing support in the form of group and 1 to 1 meetings.

Following the success of the project in the North Berwick cluster, the charity is planning to roll out the same project structure in schools in the Haddington and Lammermuir partnership area.

At the same time as this local project was being delivered, Adoption UK has been developing its Equal Chance campaign to make every school attachment-aware and raise awareness of the systemic changes needed to give adopted children the same chances as their peers.

The campaign launches on 27th June and Iain Gray MSP will host a reception at the Scottish Parliament on 4th September to highlight the campaign and its objectives to MSPs and the Scottish Government.

Iain Gray MSP said “I was pleased to meet with representatives of Adoption UK and find out more about its Attachment Ambassadors’ Project. The project has clearly been a big success in the North Berwick cluster, with teachers, other staff, parents and pupils themselves all benefiting from the training and support it has provided.

“We know that looked after and adopted children can face particular challenges at school, so it’s really positive to see East Lothian playing an important part in helping to increase understanding of children’s experience of attachment issues and how schools can better support them.

“The experience in schools in the North Berwick cluster shows that the project is not only beneficial for adopted children but that all children can benefit from increased awareness and understanding of attachment issues, relationships and resilience, as well as behaviour management approaches.

“I am sure that the Haddington cluster project will go on to be a similar success, and look forward to helping promote the charity’s Equal Chance campaign at their parliamentary reception later in the year.”

Fiona Aitken, Adoption UK’s Director, Scotland, said: “We are grateful to have received funding to continue our work in schools in East Lothian – our continued presence in the area allows us to offer ongoing support to teachers and schools who have implemented our Attachment Ambassador programme.  

“This programme, led by our education project manager and adoptive parent Kathy Allan, offers an opportunity for all children to benefit from school staff team’s increased knowledge and awareness of trauma and attachment issues.

“Our Equal Chance campaign is designed to offer adopted children the same chance as their peers in school, through programmes such as ours and encouragement of others to ensure their needs are better met and understood in their educational placement. Adopted and care experienced children are at a disadvantage due to their early experiences – we want to change their experiences of school to support them to achieve their potential.  

“We are delighted to be highlighting this campaign at our parliamentary event on 4th September, and very pleased to have the support of Mr Gray in the campaign and through the sponsorship of this event.

Helping It Happen Awards 2018

People across Scotland are being urged to highlight the work done by local estates and land-based businesses to help their surrounding communities flourish, as nominations for the Helping It Happen Awards 2018 get underway.

Following a successful inaugural year in 2017, Scottish Land & Estates has declared the Helping It Happen Awards 2018 open for business. The national Awards, which aim to recognise the role of estates, farms and rural businesses in enabling and supporting success in rural areas, will once again be sponsored by The MacRobert Trust, with entries being considered in the following nine categories:

  • Rural Business Award
  • Tourism Award
  • Rural Housing Award
  • Education Award
  • MacRobert Trust Award for Working with Communities
  • Conservation Award
  • The Iver Salvesen Green Business Award
  • Innovation in Farming Award
  • Enhancing Our Environment Award

To nominate, people are being asked to share how their local estate, farm or rural business has made a positive contribution to their area. Entries can be submitted here before the closing date of 13 July 2018.

Entries for the Helping it Happen Awards 2018 will be reviewed by an independent judging panel with three finalists selected in each category. The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony which will take place at The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh on 3 October 2018.

NFU Mutual’s Inspirational Young Person Award 2018

Entries and nominations are being sought for a new award that recognises the incredible talent and dedication being shown by Scotland’s young people within the food and drink sector.

This brand-new award is designed to bring out the inspirational stories of young people aged between 16 and 26 who own, work or study within businesses in the food and drink sector, and are driving success within the Scottish food and drink industry.

The winners of the ‘NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award 2018’ will be announced during Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight in September 2018 as part of the Year of Young People celebrations. The award aims to highlight not only the enormous contribution that young people make to Scotland’s food and drink businesses, but also the importance of the sector to the wider economy.

 

Enter here: http://fooddrinkfort.scot/get-involved/nfu-mutuals-inspirational-young-person-award-2018/ 

ScotRail Alliance to confirm improvements in East Lothian

The ScotRail Alliance will confirm how they are improving rail services for customers in East Lothian at a public meeting on Thursday evening (03 May).

The most recent figures show the level of service on the North Berwick route has improved in recent months, with 94.1 per cent of ScotRail trains meeting their target arrival time, having stopped at all scheduled stations. This is up by 10 per cent from the most challenging period last year.

And, over the past twelve weeks, just one in almost 3,000 services to run on the route missed a stop in order to prevent disruption spreading across the network.

More carriages are also heading to services in East Lothian: a number of trains on the route already have six carriages, following a trial early last year that has since been made permanent. By the end of the year, the majority of peak-time trains between North Berwick and Edinburgh are expected to have six carriages.

Once the new Hitachi Class 385 trains enter service, these will be introduced on the Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High route, followed by the North Berwick route.

This announcement comes ahead of a public meeting on rail services in East Lothian which will take place in Prestonpans Town Hall, on Thursday 3 May at 7pm where leaders from the ScotRail Alliance will meet customers, as well as Martin Whitfield MP and Iain Gray MSP.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail’s Head of Customer Operations, who will be at the meeting said:

“Along with ScotRail Alliance colleagues, I’m looking forward to meeting with our customers in Prestonpans, answering their questions about the service we provide and the improvements we will be making.

“We know that East Lothian is an exceptionally popular place to live, and there’s an ever-growing demand for our services to and from Edinburgh.

“With that in mind, we are doing all we can to ensure everyone has a comfortable journey. By the end of this year, even more of our customers will be able to benefit from longer trains with more seats and better services.”