Railways

Leith Stations

Edinburgh's Railway  -  Three Railway Stations in Leith

    peter.stubbs@edinphoto.org.uk

North Leith (Caledonian Railway)

on the map above was named

'Leith' until Aug 1, 1903, THEN
'North Leith' until April 7, 1952 THEN
'Leith North' until it closed to passengers on April 30, 1962

Leith Citadel (North British Railway)

on the map above was also known as North Leith

Four Passenger Stations

Trams, buses, the Caledonian Railway and the North British Railway all competed for passengers between Edinburgh and Leith.  All of Leith's railway stations have now closed, and the trams have vanished but are due to return in 2010.

Three of the passenger stations that once served Leith  are highlighted on the map above.

Leith's other passenger station was South Leith.  This lay to the east of Leith Citadel station. South Leith was the first station in Leith to open and the first to close to passengers.

Here are brief details of Leith's four stations, including a number of name changes:

1.    Leith Central Station

2.    North Leith or Leith Citadel Station

3.    Leith North Station

4.    South Leith Station

There were also goods stations in Leith, including South Leith Docks.

Main sources of information:

'Edinburgh's Railways' (WAC Smith +Paul Anderson):  Publ.  Irwell Press , 1995   ISBN 1- 87608-59-7

'Lost Railways of the Lothians'  (Gordon Stansfield):  Publ. Stenlake Publishing Ltd., 2003   ISBN 1 84033 270 0

'Rail Centres: Edinburgh' (A J Mullay):  Publ. Ian Allan Ltd, 1991   ISBN 0 7110 1983 5

'Yesterday's Railways: Edinburgh'  Publ: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society  ISBN 0 9508595 0 8

 

1.

Leith Central Station

Leith Walk

Opened:  1903 - North British Railway
Closed to passenger traffic:  1952 -  British Railways

Leith Central Station  -  1987

Leith Central Station was an impressive building overlooking the foot of Leith Walk.  It was the largest station built from scratch in Britain in the 20th century.

The station, with its platforms removed, was used as a servicing depot for diesel multiple units from their introduction in the Edinburgh area in 1957 until 1972.

The upper structure of the station, including the servicing depot, in the photograph above was demolished in 1989.  A Scotmid supermarket and Leith WaterWorld swimming pool were then built on the site.

Leith Central Station was the terminus for suburban trains from Waverly Station at the East End of Princes Street.

Stations on this 2-mile line were:

-  Waverley

-  Abbeyhill

-  Leith Central

Through trains also ran between Leith Central and Glasgow Central.

 

 

2.

North Leith Station

Commercial Street

Also known as

Leith Citadel Station

Opened:  1846 - Edinburgh Leith & Newhaven Railway
Closed to passenger traffic:  1947 -  LNER

History of the Station

  North Leith Station  -  1964

North Leith station was at Commercial Street, close to Leith Docks.

This was the Leith terminus of a branch from Canal Street Station at the east end of Princes Street via Scotland Street tunnel until 1868.

Later the line ran from Waverley Station via Abbeyhill to Leith, the stations on this 3-mile line were:

-  Waverley

-  Abbeyhill

-  Easter Road

-  Leith Walk

-  Powderhall (until 1917)

-  Bonnington

-  Junction Road

-  Leith Citadel.

Later, the line ran ran via Abbey Hill to Waverley Station.

An LNER Sentinel steam railcar was introduced on this line in 1929.

The North British Railway closed the station to passenger traffic in 1947.  It continued to be used for fish and other freight until the 1970s.

The Station Today

   View to the SE across Commercial Street, to the former Leith Citadel Station

   View to the SW across Commercial Street, to the former Leith Citadel Station

The former station is now used by Citadel Youth Centre. 

The building has been given a 'Category B Listing' by Historic Scotland, who describe it as

"Single storey classical former station offices fronting road; stylised order of acanthus leaves and harebells; cream ashlar sandstone  -, by Grainger and Miller, engineers, 1846."

 

3.

Leith North Station

''Caledonian Station, Leith"

Lindsay Road

Opened:  1879 - Caledonian Railway
Closed to passenger traffic:  1962 -  British Railways

Leith North Station  -  1962

Leith North station  was situated in Lindsay Road, close to the 'Ocean Terminal entrance' to Leith Docks, a short distance to the west of Leith Citadel station.  New housing was built, in the early 2000s, on the land where Leith North station used to stand.

The railway ran via Newhaven, Granton Road and Craigleith to Princes Street station at the West End of Princes Street. 

Princes Street Station also had lines running to the south through the Scottish Borders.  It closed in 1964.

Stations on this 5-mile line were:

-  Princes Street

-  Dalry Road

-  Murrayfield

-  Craigleith

-  East Pilton

-  Granton Road

-  Newhaven

-  Leith North

The station building survived into the 1990 when it was being used by a company hiring marquees.  The building has now (2006) been demolished to allow new apartments to be built around the entrance to Leith Docks, close to the Ocean Terminal shopping complex.

New station at Seafield

Never used for passenger traffic

The Caledonian Railway also built a branch from this line to Seafield.  The branch ran via new stations built at Newhaven, Ferry Road and  Leith Walk and ended close to South Leith Station. 

However, the line was never opened to passenger traffic.  The end of the line became Leith East Goods Station.  There were also sidings for goods traffic at Chancelot Mill, Rosebank, Leith Walk West and Restalrig.

 

4.

South Leith Station

Opened:  1831 - Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway
Closed to passenger traffic:  1905 -  North British Railway

Leith South Station  -  1962

South Leith station was Leith's earliest station, built in 1831.  The trains were originally horse-drawn.

The line ran along the Firth of Forth, joining the East Coast Main Line from Waverley Station 2 miles to the east at Portobello West Junction.  The line still (in 2006) carries freight traffic to Leith Docks.

Here are further details and recollections of South Leith station.

 

 

 

STATIONS mentioned on the EDINBURGH RAILWAYS pages

B

Balerno

Balgreen

Barnton

Berwick

Blackford Hill

Burntisland

C

Canal Street

Canonmills

Corstorphine

Craigleith

Craiglockhart Road

D

Dalkeith

Dalry Road

Davidson's Mains

Duddingston & Craigmillar

E

East Pilton

G

Glasgow

Gorgie

Granton Gas Works

Granton Road

H

Haymarket

L

Leith Central

Leith Citadel

Leith North

Lothian Road

M

Morningside Road

N

Newhaven (Cal)

Newhaven (NB)

Newington

Niddrie

North Bridge

P

Perth

Pinkhill

Portobello

Princes Street

S

Scotland Street

Sheriffhall

St Leonard's

T

Trinity

W

Waverley

Map

 Map of some of Edinburgh's Railways since 1831

 

 

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