Drem railway station

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Drem National Rail
Scottish Gaelic: An Druim
Place Drem
Local authority East Lothian
Coordinates 56°00′18″N 2°47′07″W / 56.0051°N 2.7854°W / 56.0051; -2.7854Coordinates: 56°00′18″N 2°47′07″W / 56.0051°N 2.7854°W / 56.0051; -2.7854
Grid reference NT510793
Station code DRM
Managed by First ScotRail
Number of platforms 2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  78,009
2005/06 Increase 80,563
2006/07 Increase 84,905
2007/08 Increase 99,735
2008/09 Increase 0.113 million
2009/10 Decrease 0.108 million
2010/11 Decrease 0.100 million
2011/12 Increase 0.106 million
2012/13 Increase 0.114 million
Original company North British Railway
Post-grouping LNER
22 June 1846 Opened[1]
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Drem from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Drem railway station serves the village of Drem in East Lothian, 5 miles (8 km) from the seaside town of North Berwick in Scotland. It is located on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) 18 miles (29 km) east of Edinburgh Waverley. Passenger services are provided on the First ScotRail North Berwick Line, and the junction where the North Berwick branch diverges from the ECML is a short distance to the east of the station.


The station was opened by the North British Railway on 22 June 1846, on the same date as the main line from Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed. The short branch towards North Berwick was opened by the NBR on 13 August 1849,[2] making the station a junction of some importance. The earthworks and bridges on the North Berwick line were built to accommodate double track, but only one track was ever laid and in its early years the line was not particularly successful. In 1856–57 the NBR attempted to cut costs by operating most of the branch passenger trains with horse traction. The horse-drawn carriage used, known as the 'Dandy Car', had originally been built for the NBR's Portobello to Leith branch, and was later used on the Port Carlisle branch. It is now in the National Railway Museum at York.

When the main line opened there was a small station at Ballencrief to the west of Drem, but this was very short-lived and closed to passengers on 1 November 1847. There was also an intermediate station on the North Berwick branch at Dirleton, which lasted until 1 February 1954.

Drem station consists of two platforms, with the main buildings being situated on the Up (eastbound) platform. At the west end of the station is an overbridge carrying a minor road to Athelstaneford. Both platforms originally extended further west through this bridge. The signal box was situated on the Down (westbound) side of the line immediately to the east of the station, opposite the original point of divergence of the North Berwick branch. There were trailing refuge sidings on the Up line west of the station and on the Down line to the east of it, whilst the station goods yard with a goods shed and five sidings was on the Up side east of the station.

In the days of steam locomotives, many of the North Berwick branch trains terminated at Drem and passengers had to change onto main line stopping services to continue their journeys. In 1958, diesel multiple units were introduced on the North Berwick services and most branch trains then ran right through to Edinburgh Waverley or Corstorphine. Some main line stopping services continued to be steam hauled until 4 May 1964, when they were largely discontinued (Inveresk, East Fortune and East Linton stations closing on that date). Thereafter, all North Berwick trains ran through to Edinburgh or beyond. A few peak-hour stopping trains from Edinburgh to Dunbar continued to operate until around 1990.

The Beeching Axe almost claimed Drem in 1968 when British Rail applied to close the branch, along with North Berwick, Drem, Longniddry and Prestonpans stations. This request was refused by the Minister of Transport on 19 September 1969, but from 4 January 1970 the local trains were reduced to a skeleton service. During the 1970s Eastern Scottish ran a feeder bus between East Linton and Drem for commuters, but this was not to last.

Local goods services also declined, starting with Ballencrief Siding (closing on 1 June 1959), followed by Dirleton Siding (1 June 1964) and North Berwick goods yard (1 January 1968). Drem goods yard then served as a central goods facility for much of East Lothian, lasting until 6 August 1979.

Drem signal box closed on 21 November 1977, when new signalling controlled from Edinburgh was commissioned. The track was remodelled such that the old Down Refuge siding became a refuge loop, whilst the junction of the North Berwick branch was moved further east, with the original branch track becoming an Up Refuge loop (replacing the old Up Refuge siding west of the station). One siding in the old goods yard was retained for use by engineering trains and the rest of the yard was redeveloped as the station car park.

Passenger services gradually recovered from their nadir in the 1970s, and by the late 1980s an hourly service to North Berwick had been restored. With the introduction of 'pay trains' on 27 May 1985, the station became unstaffed, and BR quickly moved to demolish the buildings. Contractors demolished the waiting room on the Down (Edinburgh) platform, but as the station was a Listed building the work was stopped and BR were required to construct a replica – the current waiting room is built to the original NBR design. The main line was electrified in 1990, and regular electric services on the branch began on 8 July 1991.

There is a local campaign to reopen East Linton station and to resume main line stopping services between Edinburgh and Dunbar, which would also serve Drem.[3]


All trains calling at the station are operated by First ScotRail and operate between North Berwick and Edinburgh. A few trains continue beyond Edinburgh to Glasgow Central. There is an hourly daytime service in each direction on weekdays with additional trains during peak hours. On Saturdays the service is half-hourly through the day, reducing to hourly in the evening. On Sundays an hourly service operates.

Main line trains operated by East Coast and CrossCountry pass through the station but do not stop, and the main line is also used by freight trains.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
North Berwick   First ScotRail
North Berwick Line
Historical railways
East Fortune
Line open; Station closed
  North British Railway
NBR Main Line
Line open; Station closed[4]
Line open; Station closed
  North British Railway
North Berwick Branch
  Junction with NBR Main Line




  1. ^ Butt (1995), page 82
  2. ^ North Berwick Town History – 19th Century. Retrieved 21 November 2008
  3. ^ "Rail Action Group, East of Scotland: RAGES". Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  4. ^ Hajducki (1992), page 14