|Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway
Portions of this line remain open between
Duddingston and Millerhill and between South Leith and Portobello. The
line was known as the "Innocent Railway". It was mostly built
to convey domestic coal into Edinburgh.
The most notable feature of this line
was the Millerhill
Marshalling Yard which was built in the late 1950s. This yard has
been largely dismantled.
James Jardine (Construction)
1831 (Edinburgh to Eskbank)
October 1831 (Niddrie to Fisherrow)
July 1838 (Niddrie to Leith)
Monktonhall Colliery, now demolished
The new Newcraighall station on its opening
This line runs through the east of Edinburgh
to Niddrie (a former area of coalmining) to Leith (a major port), to Fisherrow
(once a port), and to South East (in an area of former coalmining).
Description of route
From St. Leonards, Edinburgh, to Dalhousie.
Branches were built to South Leith, Dalkeith and Fisherrow.
This was the first railway terminus in Edinburgh.
The site had a large fan-out of track and was retained after closure to passengers
as a freight depot. The site is now occupied by housing. At the south east of
the site there is a tunnel under the road.
The photograph to the left shows the site of
Duddingston station on the Edinburgh
Suburban and Southside Junction Railway. The station is closed. The trackbed
of the line from St. Leonards can be seen running from centre left of the picture
to join the existing railway at the top right. The view is looking East.
The photograph to the right shows the site
of a level crossing at Duddingston. The view looks West towards St Leonards.
The solum of the line has become a cycleway. The Railway bridge from which the
other photograph was taken is off to the left.
Niddrie West Junction
The left photograph shows the view looking
west. The line to the left passes on to Niddrie and Millerhill yard.
in the foreground cuves round to Portobello.
To the far right another line existed,
one of the spurs of the Lothian
A line ran from here to Fisherrow too - this
was possibly severed (OS maps disagree, some show a level crossing) when the North
British Railway Portobello to Niddrie link was built. A curve from the NBR's link line was put in to allow trains to run to Fisherrow and Musselburgh, these trains passing under the embankment of the mainline of the NBR. This short curve was taken out when the Newhailes curve opened from the mainline onto the Fisherrow line.
The junction between the E&DR's lines to Fisherrow and Dalhousie was the location of the Niddrie [1st] station also known as Niddrie Junction.
The Niddrie West to Wanton Wells alignment was replaced by the NBR with a new line immediately parallel to the north of the original E&DR alignment - this was attached to the North British's
line at Monktonhall Junction. For some of the length this followed the E&DR line.
A large yard once existed to the left. The original
course of the South Leith line ran behind the houses in the background of the
photograph on the right.
The line from South Leith to Portobello Junction
(on the North
British Railway) is still open for
freight. There was a locomotive shed here.
In 1903 the Leith
New Lines (Caledonian Railway) opened to South Leith with a junction at
Seafield (just to the East of South Leith). There as a two-road locomotive shed
on this line which the North British Railway rented from the Caldonian Railway
from 1917ish on.
The original section from Portobello to Niddrie
(the first section of the Leith branch) was closed in 1849, after its being
replaced by a section from Portobello East Junction to Niddrie opened by the
North British Railway. The route of the former line is now occupied by a road.
North British Portobello East to Niddrie Link Line
This new single platform station is built on
the Portobello East to Niddrie South Junction alignment. This section of the was
built by the North British Railway
to replace the Edinburgh and Dalkieth Railway's Portobello to Niddrie alignment.
So properly this location belongs to the North
British Railway page and in fact is included there too.
Niddrie North Junction
This photograph shows the view looking South.
The line to the left leads to Millerhill yard. The line in the foreground curves
round to Niddrie West Junction. The line from Portobello to Niddrie North Junction
and Niddrie South Junction was built by the North
British Railway as the line was extended on to Hawick.
This station was built by the North British on their link line from Portobello East to Niddrie. It was also known as Niddry. The station was located not far north of Niddrie South Junction. The station was built at a junction between the line south (still open) and a short NBR built curve onto the former E&DR Niddrie-Fisherrow branch. This curve was opened to allow trains from Edinburgh to reach Fisherrow and Musselburgh as the Newhailes curve was not built until 1858-1859 whereas the terminus at Musselburgh was open from 1847 to 1964. The station was closed around 1860, no doubt as a result of the opening of the Newhailes Curve and the closure of the short curve onto the Fisherrow Branch here at Niddrie. A replacement station, closer the the road, village and colliery was opened further south at Niddrie South Junction.
Niddrie South Junction
At Niddrie the lines from St Leonards, Leith,
Musselburgh and South Esk joined. The site is still a junction between the Edinburgh
Suburban and Southside Junction Railway and the route to Millerhill from
Portobello. Niddrie [3rd] station was located here.
This was the site of the second Niddrie station,
the first being located at Niddrie West. To the south of the junction a new
station is being opened beside the site of the former Newcraighall Colliery.
The station will be called Newcraighall.
Nothing now remains of the station here. The
alignment of the approaching railway is now occupied by a road. The harbour
is still in used by yachts and other small craft today. Just to the south of the station the Musselburgh Branch headed off to the east.
Millerhill was the site of early coal-mining.
This was the terminus of a early waggonway which ran from here to the Edinburgh
road at Little France. Cairney station was located at the northern end of the former yard. Just south of the station the original course of the E&DR followed an alignment similar to the western edge of the much later yard before passing through Millerhill village, west of today's line, then going south past today's line before heading west to meet it near Sherrifhall. This odd alignment was probably due to connections with, or re-use of the earlier waggonway. The northern portion of the original route was retained in early NBR days for access to a colliery.
This photographs shows the extent of the Millerhill
Marshalling Yard in 1988. The view
is from the South end and faces North. The central main-line tracks were in
the process of being lifted. Compare this view with a 1998 view (the left photograph
below). In 1988 the original arrangement of the marshalling yard could still
be seen. Off to the left are the tracks for Monktonhall Colliery. Next
to the right were the reception sidings for the down yard; the hump for the
yard was located in the distance and the sorting sidings were beyond, to the
left in the far distance were a series of blind sidings which faced North. Next
was the main line track with loops on either side (one of the loops is being
lifted in the picture, the other tracks havce gone). Next was the up yard and
diesel locomotive depot, both of which are still open (the reception sidings,
located in the far distance and the hump were both removed by this date). The
sorting sidings here were slightly shorter than in the down yard, and this allowed
the up yard to be connected by a new link to the east coast mainline. There
is a triangular junction at the south end of the sorting sidings, the link for
junction to Millerhill junction being on the right. Before the yard was built
there were simply two tracks running through this area from Niddrie South Junction.
The North end of the yard is now accessed by a double track line from Niddrie
South Junction which becomes one track (where there was once a cross-over on
the double track main line to give access to the up yard) and then turns away
into the up yard.
The partial remains of the Millerhill Marshalling
yard remain, along with the Millerhill Diesel traction maintenance depot have
been electrified as part of the East Coast Main Line Electrification. At present
sidings remain at the South end for the Monktonhall colliery (now closed) and
tracks remain at Millerhill Junction where the Edinburgh,
Loanhead and Roslin Railway's line
to Glencorse (and later Bilston Glen colliery) diverged. The tracks on the Edinburgh
and Dalkeith route stop near the Edinburgh bypass. Also next to the junction
stands one of the station buildings from Millerhill station. A short section,
built by British Rail, connects the south end of the yard to Monktonhall Junction
on the North British Railway
section of the East Coast Main Line.
This photograph looks North towards the Edinburgh
bypass and Millerhill yard. Sherriffhall station was closed early on in the
Edinburgh and Dalkeith's history. A curve here was eased by the North British.
This was the junction for the branch to Dalkeith,
opened in 1839. The photograph looks north towards Edinburgh. The branch curved
away to the right, the junction facing Edinburgh.
The photograph shows the site of Dalkeith station
which is now a bus garage. The view looks East over the site. A waggonway continued
on from here towards Smeaton. Dalkeith was at the end of a branch from Glenesk
The site of this station is now choked with
trees. The platforms remain intact, as does the footbridge, and the recesses
where building once stood can be seen. Much of the site is covered in a mat
of vegetation. To the south of the site the solum becomes a proper walkway heading
south, heading north one can take up the official walkway which runs from Glenesk
Junction to Dalkeith. After closure of the Dalkeith branch to passengers the
station become known as Eskbank and Dalkeith. The Peebles
Railway started from Hardengreen Junction to the south of the station.
This site has been landscaped. However it is
possible to identify the former use of the site simply due to the flatness.
The photograph looks south towards Dalhousie. The yard once had sorting
sidings, a locomotive shed, the junction for the Peebles
Railway and a junction for Smeaton on the Macmerry
branch (North British Railway). This latter line was mothballed as a through
route in 1913. A tall signal box once overlooked the junction and yard.
This station was closed in 1908. A building
and platform remained at this site after closure. The building still stands
but the platforms have gone - probably before closure of the line. The post-box
at this station was made from some metal taken from "The Diver" the
locomotive from the train which fell from the Tay
Bridge when the bridge collapsed in 1879 (the locomotive was raised from
the seabed, re-built and used for many years after the accident). This letter-box
is now in The Heritage Centre, Bellingham.
The station stood to the north end of the Lothianbridge
viaduct. The ballast remains in good condition at this point. The station was
also known as South Esk. The line was continued south by the Marquis
of Lothian's Waggonway (in 1832), Edinburgh
and Hawick Railway (in 1847) and the Border
Union Railway (in 1862). Once continued on to Carlisle this line became
known as the "Waverley Route".
The original Lothianbridge viaduct was slightly
to the east of the exising one and some of the earthworks remain.
Alan Johnston, whose Uncle lived in the old
station, has pointed out that Dalhousie Station still stands.
Page created on 10/07/1997
Page last edited on: 11/09/2011
Contact: Ewan Crawford