WALLYFORD Railway Station has marked its 25th anniversary.

Opened on June 13, 1994, it now handles about 300,000 passengers per year or just under 6,000 each week.

John Yellowlees, from Prestonpans, a retired ScotRail employee who is now an honorary rail ambassador for the company, was at the opening and has shared his diary entry from the day with Courier readers this week.

It read: “The 11.37 Waverley-North Berwick EMU (electric multiple unit) was specially decorated for opening of Wallyford, where two coal trains passed during speeches by Paul Prescott, David Begg and Chris Green declaring open Railtrack Scotland’s first new station.

“Three greyhounds paraded on platform, then coaches to Sweethope Hotel, sitting next to Oliver Barratt and opposite Councillor John Clifford. Spoke also to Andrew Hajducki whose third book will deal with the Edinburgh-Berwick main line.”

The opening of Wallyford Station was celebrated in the evening at the greyhound track, which was to close a few years later.

The station was provisionally known as Musselburgh East but was opened as Wallyford. Funded by Lothian Regional Council, it was opened by its transportation convener David Begg.

Also present was Councillor George Wanless from Musselburgh, former chairman of East Lothian District Council, Paul Prescott of Railtrack, and Chris Green, ScotRail.

Harry Barker, chairman of East Lothian Community Rail Partnership, said this week: “Commuting to work in Edinburgh has always been a feature of our local transport scene but, unless you lived close to a railway station, the only public transport was by bus, which involved becoming embroiled in the Musselburgh traffic.

“Following the electrification of the East Coast Mainline to London and, at the same time, the line from Drem to North Berwick, paid for by the local council, East Lothian had for the first time an electric commuter railway. A station at Wallyford became a reality in an effort to reduce car commuting.

“With a journey time of around 10-12 minutes to Edinburgh, the station quickly became well used and now has around 300,000 passenger movements annually – that is nearly 6,000 per week.

“Its situation became ideal for a park and ride operation attracting car drivers from towns not served by rail such as Tranent and elsewhere.”

Alister Hadden, chairman of Wallyford Community Council, recalled how his wife Nancy, who was a local community councillor at the time, attended the opening of the station.

He said: “Wallyford Railway Station is another great asset and addition to Wallyford, with the numbers using it growing each year.

“They are now in the process of extending the railway platform to accommodate the commuters using the service.

“The station has also promoted the park and ride car park which has numerous buses going in and out.

“Musselburgh Area Partnership, in partnership with Sustrans, is improving the path network to the station for walkers and cyclists alike, making it very accessible from all directions.

“With so many new houses being built around Wallyford, it is a great asset to have in the village.”