Road marking refreshment on A720 Edinburgh City Bypass


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Overnight works to refresh road markings on the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass are set to begin on Monday 7th August for 19 nights, not including Saturdays or Sundays.

Transport Scotland’s operating company BEAR Scotland will carry out the works.

For the safety of workers and road users, the A720 will be closed in phases with signed diversion routes in place.

The first week of the works will be completed between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00, with the remainder of the works completed between 20:30 and 06:00 each night.

Tommy Deans, BEAR Scotland’s Southeast Network Manager, said: “These road marking refreshments will improve their retro-reflectivity on the road, creating safer journeys for motorists.

“It is essential for the safety of the workforce that we close the carriageway, however we’ve scheduled the works during overnight hours to minimise any disruption.

“We thank motorists for their patience while our teams carry out these improvements.”

Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead before setting out by checking the Traffic Scotland website for up-to-date travel information and allowing extra time for their journey.

Consultation has taken place with relevant stakeholders in advance of these works to make them aware of the traffic management arrangements and to minimise any inconvenience.

Regulator calls for Network Rail Scotland to improve train performance and deliver its planned renewal works

Scot Rail - eskbank Station

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

The Office of Rail and Road’s annual assessment of Network Rail Scotland in 2022-2023 (Year 4 of Control Period 6) shows that, in what was a challenging year for the rail industry, Network Rail’s performance in Scotland was mixed.

Train performance worsened for both passenger and freight services and was affected by factors including industrial action and severe weather, such as flooding. Network Rail Scotland missed its performance target for the main passenger operator in Scotland, ScotRail, but achieved its target for the Caledonian Sleeper service. Network Rail Scotland also missed its target for freight performance, although this showed some improvement towards the end of the year.

ORR reports that Network Rail Scotland has worked with ScotRail to establish joint train service performance improvement plans and the regulator will continue to closely monitor delivery of these plans.

Network Rail Scotland fell behind in its work to renew the railway, delivering 69% of planned work, the lowest delivery of all the company’s regions. Despite this, Network Rail Scotland’s reliability remained the best of all Network Rail’s regions, being the only region to end the year above target. However, under-delivery of renewal work could lead to less reliable assets in the future. The regulator is scrutinising Network Rail Scotland’s future renewals plans.

Network Rail exceeded its efficiency target for the year, delivering £99 million in savings. However, its wider financial performance has been hit by costs of industrial action, payments to operators for poor train performance, and inflationary pressures.

During the year, ORR reviewed Network Rail’s delivery of recommendations made by Lord Robert Mair following the fatal Carmont derailment of 2020. The regulator considers Network Rail Scotland is making good progress with these recommendations – particularly those in relation to better weather forecasting and better management of drainage assets.

Feras Alshaker, Director, Planning & Performance said: 

“There is no doubt that the past year has been challenging for the rail industry, passengers and freight services. Our assessment is that Network Rail Scotland is delivering a safe network. But, working with ScotRail, it needs to deliver its train performance improvement plans and deliver for passengers. It must also carefully manage its financial pressures and deliver planned renewal work to make the railway in Scotland as reliable as possible in future years.”

Get ready, set and read!

Summer Reading Challenge 2023

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Young people in Midlothian are in for an exciting summer of reading and fun activities with the launch of the popular annual Summer Reading Challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national initiative that takes place each year in libraries across the UK. It encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read six books over the summer holidays and take part in fun activities that promote physical and mental wellbeing.

This year’s theme is ‘Ready, Set, Read!’. It has been developed in collaboration with the Youth Sport Trust and promotes teamwork and community.

Once participants have signed up for the challenge and started reading, they can collect stickers to add to a special Summer Reading Challenge collector card. All children who complete the challenge will receive a medal and a certificate and be entered into a prize draw. Prizes include vouchers for activities like tubing at the Hillend Snowsports Centre and family swim passes.

Libraries across Midlothian are running lots of free activities during the school holidays to link to the challenge. This includes arts and crafts and both indoor and outdoor events.

Cllr Ellen Scott, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education, Children Young People and Partnerships said:

“I am delighted to see the return of the Summer Reading Challenge. It is a great way to encourage children to read during the summer. Reading, we know, not only develops the imagination, improves literacy and knowledge – it opens up exciting new worlds. Our librarians are welcoming and absolutely passionate about passing on their love of reading to a new generation and best of all it is absolutely free! Go on – encourage your kids to take the Challenge!”

More information about the Summer Reading Challenge and how to sign-up is available at local library branches. Details of each branches events programme can be found on the Midlothian Council website.

Children have till Friday 26 August (the week after schools go back) to complete the challenge.