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Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway

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Introduction
Local area
Chronology

Locations
St. Leonards
Duddingston
South Leith
Portobello (Old)
Niddrie
Fisherrow
Millerhill
Sherriffhall
Glenesk Junction
Dalkeith
Eskbank
Hardengreen Yard
Dalhousie

This site
Marquis of Lothian's Waggonway
North British Railway
Border Union Railway
Edinburgh and Hawick Railway
Peebles Railway
Edinburgh, Loanhead and Roslin Railway
Gifford and Garvald Railway
Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway

Other sites
ScotRail


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.

Survey c. 1818
Engineers Robert Stevenson (Survey)
James Jardine (Construction)
Act 26 May 1826
Contractor To be entered
Opened 4 July 1831 (Edinburgh to Eskbank)
October 1831 (Niddrie to Fisherrow)
July 1838 (Niddrie to Leith)
Closed To be entered
Clickable map of the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway

 
Monktonhall Colliery, now demolished


The new Newcraighall station on its opening day.


Local area 

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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).

Chronology 

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Description of route 

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From St. Leonards, Edinburgh, to Dalhousie. Branches were built to South Leith, Dalkeith and Fisherrow. 

St. Leonards  

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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.

Duddingston  

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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

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The left photograph shows the view looking west. The line to the left passes on to Niddrie and Millerhill yard.

The line in the foreground cuves round to Portobello.

To the far right another line existed, one of the spurs of the Lothian Lines.

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.

South Leith

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.

Portobello (Old)

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

Brunstane

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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 

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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.

Niddrie [2nd]

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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

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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.

Newcraighall

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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.

Fisherrow 

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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 

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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.

Sherriffhall 

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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.

Glenesk Junction  

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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. 

Dalkeith  

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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 Junction. 

Eskbank  

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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. 

Hardengreen Yard  
 
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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. 

Dalhousie  

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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.

Acknowledgements 

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