Edinburgh Transport

Types of Transport

   Advert om the Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directory  -  1853  -  General Steam Navigation Co
Ships to London

Shipping      1800s

The newspapers of the 17th century advertised ships sailing to from Leith, the port of Edinburgh, to destinations around the world - often sailing in fleets, departure times depending on the weather.

By the mid 19th century, there were steamships with regular timetables, advertising 'reduced fares'.

Granton Harbour had been build as an alternative departure point for London.  The Chain Pier at Newhaven offered local trips within the Firth of Forth.

   Map of the Two Great Post Roads from Edinburgh to London
Coach Routes

Coaches       1700s    1800s     Maps    Inns 

The newspapers of the early 18th century carried a few adverts for individual stagecoach journeys from Edinburgh. 

By the mid-18th century, a monthly service to London had been established, taking 10 days in summer and 12 in winter.

By the late 18th century the London Diligence was running a daily service to London - the fare 4 17s 0d.

Local coach services in and around Edinburgh did not  become established until the 19th century.

Barge on the Union Canal  -  1990s
Union Canal


The Union Canal opened in the early 19th century, extending from Fountainbridge in the centre of Edinburgh to Falkirk.  Prospects for development of the canal system were good, until the railways arrived.

In the 1890s, Edinburgh Photographic Society held outings to Almond Dell, travelling by decorated barge on the canal.

   Caledonian Railway train at Davidson's Mains Station
Davidson's Mains Station


Railways were opened from Edinburgh to:

1831:  Dalkeith

1836:  Granton

1842:  Glasgow

1842:  Berwick

1874:  Balerno

1879:  Newhaven & Leith

1884:  Edinburgh Southern Circle

Maps of Edinburgh in the late 19th century and early 20th century show many railway lines for goods and passenger traffic.

Here are some adverts for the introduction of new diesel multiple unit services to Edinburgh in 1958.

Many of Edinburgh's railway lines from the early 1900s have now been abandoned.   However, there are now plans to open some new stations.

Trams at Joppa - where the Edinburgh Cable Cars met the Musselburgh Electric Trams   
Trams at Joppa


Edinburgh's tramway system began, in 1871, with horse-drawn trams. 

These were replaced by cable trams from 1899 onwards, then by electric trams from 1919.

This site includes several maps of tram and bus routes in the early 1900s.

Charabancs at the National Galleries at the Foot of the Mound  -  close-up
Charabancs at The Mound - 1921


Edinburgh had a good network of horse-drawn bus routes by 1869.  These were soon to face competition from the tram system, introduced two years later, but views of Princes Street in the 1890s still feature many of the horse-drawn buses.

The first motor-bus service, from the Post Office to Haymarket was introduced as early as 1898.

Charabanc tours of Edinburgh were popular in the 1920s and 1930s.  Open top buses returned to give tours around Edinburgh around 1990 and are now a common site in the streets throughout the year.




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Trams - Central Edinburgh

Trams - Around Edinburgh