I frequently read and hear varying degrees of criticism – ranging from mild irritation to outright vitriol – in regard to ScotRail in general and in particular its service between North Berwick and Edinburgh.

Sure, things may go awry from time to time – staff shortages, mechanical breakdowns, weather, etc, stuff happens, although after six months trialling the service, not once has there been a cancellation of a service I had been planning to use, whilst occasional delays can be measured, in frequency and duration, on the fingers of one hand.

Having come somewhat late to the party, put off driving into Edinburgh most days due to seemingly never-ending roadworks, traffic congestion and exorbitant parking charges in the Capital, I have found the ScotRail service between North Berwick and Edinburgh to have been invariably punctual, reliable, clean, efficient and relatively inexpensive.

Travelling between Longniddry and Edinburgh by train is clearly not only the most environmentally sustainable solution but also the most time-efficient – 19 minutes compared to anything up to an hour by car – and cost-effective, costing just £3.85 return with a senior railcard, £5.80 without.

Making use of the free (extended) parking at Longniddry is a no-brainer, whilst parking in Edinburgh city centre currently costs £4.60 per hour – assuming a space can be found – meaning a two-hour sojourn in the Capital, including fuel can cost upwards of £15, four times more expensive than taking the train.

Complete with a takeaway coffee from the adjacent (first-class) Filling Station cafe, a complimentary copy of the Metro newspaper, free on-board wi-fi and unfailingly helpful, professional staff, what’s not to like about the hourly service to and from Edinburgh?

Two minor gripes can occasionally detract somewhat from the experience: first, the frequency with which tickets are neither checked nor sold onboard, or on exiting Waverley station on arrival, creating the potential for fare-dodging.

And, secondly, the apparent penchant for a significant minority of adolescents, the majority of them, it would appear, girls, to sit with their feet up on the seat opposite, a common practice never seemingly challenged by onboard ScotRail staff, begging the question, would their parents let them get away with wearing outdoor shoes on the sofa at home?

However, despite these minor grumbles, from here on in, I plan to continue to avoid the road traffic pain, let the train take the strain and proffer a rare vote of confidence for Scotland’s railway.

Mike Wilson

Lochhill Farm Cottages