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.”

Insurer issues rural road warning as temperatures drop

  • More people killed on Scottish rural roads than urban roads
  • Drivers urged to adapt driving for countryside conditions
  • Insurer issues rural driving tips

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is warning people to take care on rural roads as it is revealed that there was a 23% rise in deaths on Scottish rural roads last year*.

As colder conditions and dark nights take hold, motorists are being urged to adapt their driving accordingly and to be aware of slow-moving farm vehicles and vulnerable road users such as horse riders, walkers and cyclists.

Although the number of people killed on Scottish urban roads decreased by 11% in 2016, fatalities on rural roads increased by 23% with more than three times as many people killed on rural roads than urban ones last year.

Martin Malone, Manager for NFU Mutual in Scotland said: “While the decrease in road fatalities in urban areas is welcome news, we are deeply concerned by the rise in deaths on our Scottish rural roads.”

Drivers sometimes fail to appreciate the hazards of rural roads, Martin warns: “Modern vehicles tend to insulate drivers from harsh conditions outside – but sophisticated braking systems won’t prevent a skid on an untreated road after a frost. Many rural roads aren’t gritted after a frost or snowfall so it’s vital to stay alert and adjust speed according to weather conditions.

“In the countryside, you never know if there will be a tractor, horses, or a walker round the next corner and every year NFU Mutual deals with claims resulting from  serious accidents involving farm vehicles being hit by fast-moving cars, lorries and motorcycles.”

NFU Mutual Rural Driving Tips:

Whether you’re a native of the countryside or an infrequent visitor, these tips for rural driving should help you stay safe and avoid the hazards.

  1. Plan your journey before you set off and give thought to locations that might be badly affected, such as flood prone areas, and monitor local weather forecasts.
  2. Stick to speed limits – rural roads require different driving skills – sharp bends, unexpected hazards and changing conditions can all catch out the unwary. Also, slow down on winding roads as many accidents occur from drivers taking sharp bends too quickly.
  3. Keep your windscreen, windows and mirrors clean and free of ice and ensure you have a supply of winter-ready screenwash.
  4. Avoid driving through flood water – driving through flood water is particularly risky as it is difficult to know how deep it is and what is hiding under the water’s surface.
  5. Be aware of mud and leaves on the road – both can be incredibly slippery in wet conditions and can cause vehicles to lose traction and skid.
  6. Make way for horses – anyone driving on a rural road should expect to often share it with horses and their riders, so drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary. If you do need to pass a horse then stay at least a car’s width away from them, pass slowly and don’t make any sudden noises or movements which might spook them.
  7. Watch out for wildlife – it is quite common for wild animals to appear on country roads and a natural instinct might be to swerve to avoid them, but this is dangerous. A broken fog light or dented bumper is better than a serious accident due to losing control of your vehicle. Larger animals, such as deer, present a bigger problem so braking to reduce the severity of the impact is advisable.
  8. Be prepared for livestock delays – farmers often need to use the roads to move livestock to and from their fields. If the road is blocked by livestock then the best thing to do is stop the car, turn off your engine and wait patiently.
  9. Be patient with farm vehicles –be patient behind tractors; they rarely travel long distances, but be prepared for them to turn into fields and farmyards and other less obvious turnings of which you may not be aware.
  10. Read between the white lines – paint and markings are added to the road where there is a history of collisions and fatalities. The more paint there is on the road, the more potential danger there is. Be aware and take extra care.
  11. For more tips on rural driving and to find out more about NFU Mutual’s breakdown cover, visit www.nfumutual.com

*Data taken from Scottish Government National Indicator: Deaths on Scotland’s Roads http://www.gov.scot/About/Performance/scotPerforms/indicator/roaddeaths

New services and improved timetables coming to East Lothian

(with effect from Sunday 23rd April)

NEW Service X5 North Berwick – Edinburgh

East Coast Buses new express service running Mondays to Fridays between North Berwick and the West End (Semple Street), with 7 return journeys during the day.

NEW Service 106 Musselburgh – Haddington/Dunbar

A new service running between Musselburgh and Dunbar in the early morning and late evenings, with buses running between Musselburgh Tesco and Haddington up to every hour during the day Monday to Saturday. Service 106 is timed to connect with service 107 in Haddington, making travel between Musselburgh and Dunbar easy.

NEW Services 104 and 113

Lothian Country Buses services are joining EastCoastbuses with the transfer of services 104 and 113 to our fleet, with service 113 extended Monday to Saturday to West Granton. Lothian Country Buses Single Tickets, Day Tickets and Fares Zones will be replaced by East Coast Buses Tickets & Fares Zones with great value m-tickets, Single Tickets Day Tickets and Season Tickets available. Lothian Country Buses Ridacards for Zones C&D will continue to be valid for travel.

NightHawk now going to Edinburgh City Centre

When East Coast Buses introduced NightHawk in November, it only ran from Edinburgh to North Berwick or Dunbar. Now from April 23rd, both NightHawk N106 and N124 will include return journeys.

Service 107 route change

This service now includes additional peak-time journeys and is extended from Dunbar High Street to the ASDA superstore on Spott Road.

Other changes

There will be some minor changes to services 124/X24 and our school routes (125/126/127).

Full timetables and routes will be published in April on eastcoastbuses.co.uk

East Coast Buses Christmas & New Year

East Coast Buses have put together a Christmas timetable to make sure you can travel around East Lothian as well as to and from Edinburgh this festive season.

Click here to open the Christmas timetable (PDF)

There will be special services running on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and 1 January and a Saturday service to help you get around on 24, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 December (please remember last evening services will depart earlier than normal on 24 and 31 December).

 

SCOTRAIL ALLIANCE PUBLISHES DETAILS OF PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLAN

  • Series of action plans to improve performance – including Golden Trains, Fleet Upgrades and Asset Improvement Programme
  • Performance has fallen 0.7% below expected levels in recent months to just under 90%
  • Publication comes as ScotRail Alliance steps up its ‘Ready for Autumn’ campaign

The ScotRail Alliance has published details on how they will improve train service performance.

The Performance Improvement Plan (click to open pdf) sets out actions that are being put in place to improve the reliability of trains and to ensure that the train infrastructure – including points, tracks and signals – is operating to its optimum efficiency.

The plan also covers improvements to the way train services are operated – including the identification, monitoring and protecting of ‘Golden Trains’. These are the services that, if delayed, have the biggest impact on the rest of the rest of the rail network.

The publication comes as the ScotRail Alliance steps up its work to prepare for Autumn – traditionally one of the most difficult periods for train operators across the UK – by rolling out its fleet of specialist trains to clean the tracks of falling vegetation.

Key points from the Performance Improvement Plan:

  • An £8m Asset Improvement Programme to replace or enhance key pieces of critical railway infrastructure in order to ensure that they are working at their absolute best
  • Specifically tailored upgrade programmes for key parts of the network such as Edinburgh and the Borders, Lanarkshire and Tayside
  • A programme of upgrades to trains to rectify the most common causes of faults
  • The identification, monitoring and protection of the ‘Golden Trains’ that, if delayed, have the biggest impact on the rest of the rail network
  • A programme to identify alterations to the way we operate our train timetable that will make our overall service more effective
  • Plans to improve the way we roster staff and diagram trains

ScotRail Alliance Infrastructure Director, David Dickson said: “We are not a just a company made up of metal boxes, wooden sleepers or concrete buildings. We have 7500 people working for us – and every single one of them is dedicated to doing the very best for our customers.

“Our railway is undergoing the biggest period of change and modernisation since the Victorian era. Over the course of the next year or so we will be completing huge projects to upgrade our infrastructure, electrifying large parts of the network and introducing new fleets of faster, longer greener and intercity trains.

“All of this work will transform rail travel in Scotland. We will have shorter journey times, better equipped trains and, crucially, a huge expansion in the number of services we run and the seats we are able to offer. When we complete this work, there will be a hundred thousand more seats available each and every weekday than there was at the start of the current Franchise.

“With this amount of change, there is inevitably some disruption. We are doing everything we can to minimise this – such as the work we did to keep people moving during the closure of the Queen Street Tunnel. However, there is no doubt that our performance in recent months, as a result of all of this work, has dipped slightly. The plan we are publishing today details how we bring it back to the level that our customers expect and that we want to deliver.”

On the plans to prepare for Autumn, David Dickson added: “Autumn is one of the most difficult periods for all rail operators across Britain. Leaves on the line has become a cliché over the years, but the problems that are caused by wet weather and vegetation are all too real.

“Leaf debris on the tracks can cause train wheels to slip – increasing breaking distances and making conditions more difficult for our drivers.

“We are committing a huge amount of time, effort and people to tackling these problems. The special trains we are deploying play a hugely important role in clearing tracks and keeping trains moving.”

RAGES: Write to your MSP

This note was circulated at the RAGES - Rail Action Group East of Scotland AGM. 

Reston and East Linton stations are within our grasp and we need you to keep up the pressure on your MSP and ultimately the Transport Minister, otherwise we face another 20 years of closed stations and no hope of trains ever returning to Berwickshire and East Lothian. 

Below is a style of Email or Letter for your MSP. Please send this to at least one of your elected representatives - or to all of them - so that they know that the people of Berwickshire and East Lothian are really in favour of our Stations returning.
-------------------------------------------------Suggested Email to South of Scotland MSPs:
Rachael.Hamilton.msp@parliament.scot; Iain.Gray.msp@parliament.scot; Joan.McAlpine.msp@parliament.scot; Emma.Harper.msp@parliament.scot; Paul.Wheelhouse.msp@parliament.scot; Brian.Whittle.msp@parliament.scot; Claudia.Beamish.msp@parliament.scot; Colin.Smyth.msp@parliament.scot; John.Lamont.msp@parliament.scot 

Dear (MSP Name) I am writing to ask you to lobby the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, to go ahead with the re-opening of our stations at Reston in Berwickshire and East Linton in East Lothian, where we have been campaigning for almost 20 years. A good business case has been made for both stations and both Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council are very supportive. We now need the Minister to prioritise these re-openings to enable our rural areas to grow and to benefit from all the advantages that a rail link brings. More information can be found at http://www.rages.org.uk/. Please help us overcome this final hurdle to get our stations Back on Track. (Your Name and Address)..................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................................

ScotRail enhances cycling parking at stations

To mark Cycle To Work Day 2016, ScotRail has announced further significant progress in its continuing programme to expand cycle parking at stations across the network.

Since the start of the current franchise, Abellio ScotRail has installed more than 600 additional cycle parking spaces. This is part of the train operator’s wider commitment to encourage sustainable access and smart, integrated travel across Scotland.

These new cycle spaces complement the Bike & Go scheme, currently available at 10 stations, allowing customers to travel by train and hire a bike at their destination to use around the area.

Edinburgh Haymarket, Largs and Linlithgow, where Bike & Go has also been introduced this year, are among the stations to have additional cycle parking installed – 66, 48 and 40 new spaces respectively.

The focus of this initiative is on making it easier for customers to have a sustainable commute, and to create more demand for cycling to busy commuter stations by providing improved facilities and connected travel opportunities.

Fourteen other stations have benefitted from new cycle spaces since April last year, including 32 at Drem and 10 at North Berwick

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I would like to ensure that as many people as possible can conveniently integrate journeys by rail and bike for their daily commute, or indeed any other journey. This is why a strong focus was made on specifying additional and enhanced cycling facilities at stations as part of the ScotRail franchise.

“Offering passengers more facilities like cycle spaces at stations is a core part of our vision to make the railway as accessible as possible and jointly supports the Scottish Government’s vision to increase the number of people using rail, and the proportion of journeys made by bike.”

Ian McConnell, ScotRail’s Programmes and Transformation Director said: “Travelling by train is already a great choice for the environment, but we’re committed to providing as many sustainable travel options as possible.

“More and more of our passengers are cycling to the station as part of their daily commute or for leisure travel, and we want to encourage more people to do the same.

“By investing in high quality cycle parking we aim to make it easy for customers to make healthy, sustainable choices for their journey to and from the station.

“And Bike & Go adds another option, where people don’t even need their own cycle. It’s a fantastic way for customers to complete their onward journey by bicycle.

“The easy-to-use bikes are ideal for business travellers, visitors and day-trippers.”

Daisy Narayanan, Deputy Director for Built Environment, Sustrans Scotland added: “We welcome this increase in cycle parking spaces by Abellio ScotRail to help encourage people to leave their bike at the station and use the train as part of their everyday journeys.

“Cycling is a great way for people of all age groups to increase their level of physical activity and improve their health and wellbeing.

“We are continuing to work in partnership with communities and organisations across Scotland to make journeys by foot, bicycle and public transport easier and simpler, and to help create vibrant, well-designed communities.”

More information on Bike & Go and ScotRail’s cycling initiatives can be found at scotrail.co.uk/cycling

Later Festival Train

ScotRail is currently running a later train for people travelling back to East Lothian from the Edinburgh festivals.

 

Until Sunday 28 August, a later train will run on Friday and Saturdays to North Berwick (with a bus connection at Drem to Dunbar). The train will depart Edinburgh Waverley at 00:06. The bus will depart Drem at 00:42.

See additional info at scotrail.co.uk/majorevents

East Coast Buses Fare & Timetable Info

What will the fares be?

The EastCoastbuses network is split up into zones – with tickets available for both single-zone and multi-zone journeys.

zone-map

 

Single tickets

Travel in 1 zone or 2 zones (if it includes city zone a)
Adult: £1.60
Child: £0.80

Travel in 2 or 3 zones
Adult: £2.60
Child: £1.30

Travel in 4 zones
Adult: £3.60
Child: £1.80

Travel in 5 zones
Adult: £4.60
Child: £2.30

Travel in 6 zones
Adult: £5.60
Child: £2.80

Adult single tickets are also available in the Transport for Edinburgh m-ticket app
county Day Ticket

(unlimited travel for one day in zones b-f on EastCoastbuses / Lothian Country Buses only)
Adult: £5.00
Child: £2.50
Family (up to 2 adults and 3 children): £12.00
countyPLUS Day Ticket

(unlimited travel for one day in zones a-f on EastCoastbuses / Lothian Country Buses only)
Adult: £7.50
Child: £3.50
Family (up to 2 adults and 3 children): £18.00
Network Day Ticket

(unlimited travel for one day in all zones on EastCoastbuses Lothian Country Buses, Lothian Buses day services, Airlink & Edinburgh Trams only)
Adult: £9.00
Child: £4.50

Please have the correct money ready as we cannot give change.
m-tickets

Adult Day & Family Tickets are available in the Transport for Edinburgh m-ticket app

Eligible Scottish National Entitlement Card holders travel free

When will my bus arrive?

Service 107

Dunbar – East Linton – Haddington – Edinburgh
hourly, 7 days per week (every 30 mins Mon-Fri at peak times)

Mon-Fri:
First departure from Dunbar at 0555
First departure from Edinburgh to Dunbar at 0715
Last bus from Edinburgh to Dunbar at 2244
Last bus from Dunbar to Edinburgh at 2115
Last bus from Dunbar to Haddington at 2359

Saturdays:
First departure from Dunbar at 0655
First departure from Edinburgh to Dunbar at 0740
Last bus from Edinburgh to Dunbar at 2244
Last bus from Dunbar to Edinburgh at 2115
Last bus from Dunbar to Haddington at 2359

Sundays:
First departure from Dunbar at 0743
First departure from Edinburgh to Dunbar at 0820
Last bus from Edinburgh to Dunbar at 2244
Last bus from Dunbar to Edinburgh at 2115
Last bus from Dunbar to Haddington at 2359

Service 124/X24

North Berwick – Gullane – Aberlady – Longniddry – Musselburgh – Edinburgh
Every 30 mins Monday-Saturday (every hour evenings and Sundays)

Mon-Fri:
First departure from North Berwick at 0547
First departure from Edinburgh to North Berwick at 0726
Last bus from Edinburgh to North Berwick at 2328
Last bus from North Berwick to Edinburgh at 2155
Last bus from North Berwick to Musselburgh at 2305

Saturdays:
First departure from North Berwick at 0623
First departure from Edinburgh to North Berwick at 0802
Last bus from Edinburgh to North Berwick at 2328
Last bus from North Berwick to Edinburgh at 2155
Last bus from North Berwick to Musselburgh at 2305

Sundays:
First departure from North Berwick at 0719
First departure from Edinburgh to North Berwick at 0902
Last bus from Edinburgh to North Berwick at 2328
Last bus from North Berwick to Edinburgh at 2155
Last bus from North Berwick to Musselburgh at 2305

Download the full timetable

Scotrail strike days!

UPDATE 16.6.16: See Scotrail’s dedicated travel advice site here: bit.ly/1UQfpyy

 

RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed a campaign of strike action and industrial action short of a strike over the extension of Driver Only Operation and Driver Controlled operation on Scotrail.

The action will commence as follows;

Strikes

•    0001 hours and 2359 hours Tuesday 21st June 2016
•    0001 hours and 2359 hours Thursday 23rd June 2016
•    0001 hours Saturday 25th June 2016 and 2359 hours Sunday 26th June 2016
•    0001 hours to 2359 hours Sunday 3rd July 2016
•    0001 hours to 2359 hours Sunday 10th July 2016
•    0001 hours to 2359 hours Sunday 17th July 2016

Action Short of a strike (Overtime Ban)

•    0001 hours and 2359 hours Wednesday 22nd June 2016
•    0001 hours and 2359 hours Friday 24th June 2016
•    0001 hours on Monday 27th June 2016 and 2359 hours Saturday 2nd July 2016
•    0001 hours on Monday 11th July 2016 and 2359 hours Saturday 16th July 2016
•    0001 hours on Monday 18th July 2016 and 2359 hours Saturday 16th July 2016

Read about the RMT campaign to keep guards on Scotrail trains here.