Hovercraft Trials

Portobello - Kirkcaldy

Background

A 12-day trial service, Monday to Saturday, between Portobello, Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy, Fife is to begin on July 16, 2007.

A 28-metre BHT130 hovercraft, built in the Isle of Wight and capable of 35 knots, is to be used for the trial, providing an hourly service between Portobello (Edinburgh) and Kirkcaldy, about 11 miles to the north, across the Firth of Forth in Fife.  The journey time is 20 minutes each way.

If successful, Stagecoach hope to introduce a permanent service, probably beginning in 2008, possibly using two hovercrafts.

 

Hovercraft Trials - Day 1

July 16, 2007

Hovercraft approaching Portobello, during the first day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 16, 2007

Hovercraft departing from Portobello, during the first day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 16, 2007

Hovercraft departing from Portobello, during the first day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 16, 2007

Day 1

The first day of the trials was popular, despite some of the early trips being fairly empty and the weather somewhat stormy.

All the afternoon trips were fully booked.  An extra service from Kirkcaldy was added at the end of the day so that those still in the queue at Kirkcaldy when the 6pm service left could return to Portobello by hovercraft, rather than by bus.

Over 2,300 people travelled on the hovercraft on the first day of the trials.

 

Hovercraft Trials - Day 2

July 17, 2007

Hovercraft approaching Portobello, during the second day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 17, 2007

Hovercraft approaching Portobello, during the second day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 17, 2007

Hovercraft approaching Portobello, during the second day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 17, 2007

Hovercraft manoeuvers into postion at Portobello, during the second day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 17, 2007

Hovercraft manoeuvers into postion at Portobello, during the second day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 17, 2007

Another full load of passengers boards the hovercraft at Portobello, during the second day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 17, 2007

Cyclists  wait for the route along the promenade to be opened up again, during the second day of trials for the Portobello-Kirkcaldy service  -  July 17, 2007

Day 2

The second day of the trials was even more popular than day one.

Even though the hovercraft made an extra trip at lunchtime to enable more people to cross the Forth, all tickets for the day for journeys from Portobello to Kirkcaldy was sold out by 2pm.

Almost 3,000 people travelled on the hovercraft on the second day of the trials.

 

Hovercraft Trials - Week 1

Stagecoach announced results for week 1 of the 2-week trial:

-  16,116 passengers had travelled on the 148 crossings.

-   the average crossing time had been under 18 minutes.

-   the number of commuters had doubled after the introduction of a priority booking line.

Edinburgh Evening News:  July 24, 2007

 

Hovercraft Trials - Week 2

Stagecoach announced that:

-  They considered the 2-week to be a huge success.

- They hope to start a permanent hovercraft or ferry service between Kirkcaldy and Portobello within the next two years.

-  More than 35,000 passengers are expected to have used the service over the 2-week trial period.  (Metro, July 30, 2007 reported 'over 32,000'.)

-  Commuter numbers doubled in the second week.

Edinburgh Evening News: July 26, 2007, p9.

 

Portobello Regeneration Plan

Consultants, Cadell2, have made several proposals for the regeneration of Portobello, including:

-  Building a hovercraft terminal at the end of King's Road Portobello.  (Stagecoach say that it is too early to say whether or not such a terminal will be needed.)

-  Building 10-storey blocks of flats on the former Scottish Power site at Baileyfield.

-   Turning the Pitz five-a-side football pitches into housing.

All of these proposals have met with local opposition.

Edinburgh Evening News: July 25, 2007, p10.

 

Edinburgh Today

Edinburgh Transport Portobello

   

 

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