Granton Pier

Location type


Names and dates

Granton Pier (1845-1917)
Granton Pier (1919-1925)

Opened on the Edinburgh, Leith and Granton Railway.


This pier opened in 1838, the 28th of June which was the coronation of Queen Victoria (see Queen's Bridge). It was fully opened in 1844 by which time it was 1700 ft long with berths for 10 steamers.

In 1847 the Edinburgh and Northern Railway, having taken over the Edinburgh, Leith and Granton Railway and Granton Harbour Company operated ferry service to Burntisland, began its ferry service from Granton to Burntisland Albert Pier in Fife, 5 miles to the north across the Firth of Forth. The railway reached Granton in 1847. (The company had acquired powers for a Ferry-Port-on-Craig to Broughty Pier ferry in 1846).

From 1849 The first train ferry in the world came into operation. The linkspans for the slips at Granton and Burntisland were designed by Thomas Bouch, engineer to the railway company.

Approval for Granton Pier was given in 1845 for the Granton Harbour Company.

Railway Owned Ferry Route

By taking over the existing Granton Harbour Company ferry route three active passenger vessels came into railway ownership in in 1847:
1846-1875 PS Granton 1846-1875 PS Burntisland 1847-1879 PS Forth to which further vessels were added by the railway company:
1847-1890 PS Auld Reekie 1847-1890 PS Thane of Fife [II] 1848-1878 PS Express

Train Ferry

The company became the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway in 1849. In addition a new low water pier at Granton was begun. The slip was on the east side of the pier, with sidings approaching from the south on a curve from the east. Granton station was on the pier to the immediate west.

Transfer of passengers between train and steamer was relatively trivial. Transshipment of goods, particularly coal, was awkward. This led to the invention of the train ferry.

For the train ferry ^goods boats^, fitted with rails, were added:
1849-1890 PS Leviathan (the very first train ferry)
1850-1888 PS Robert Napier 1858-1882 PS Carrier 1861-1890 PS Balbirnie
Due to the slope of the slip it was equipped with a stationary engine to haul wagons off the boats.

North British Railway Company (Forth)

The fleet was acquired, along with the Edinburgh and Northern Railway, by the North British Railway in 1862. The company operated its Forth fleet under the name ^North British Railway Company (Forth)^.

To the fleet the NBR(F) added:
1865-1890 PS Kinloch 1867-1890 PS Nymph (built 1851 for Mersey)

In 1867 the NBR(F) took over the Queensferry ferry, which would ultimately be replaced by the Forth Bridge in 1890. (Ferries dedicated to the Queensferry passage are not listed here.)

1875 PS Granton and PS Burntisland withdrawn.

1876-1893 PS John Stirling introduced (to replace PS Forth)

First Tay Bridge

The Tay Bridge [1st] opened in 1878.

1878 PS Express withdrawn.

1879-1937 PS William Muir introduced (after the opening of the Tay Bridge [1st] increased traffic)

Tay Bridge Disaster

The Tay Bridge [1st] fell in 1879.

1879 PS Forth withdrawn.

1881-1890 PS Midlothian introduced.

1882 PS Carrier withdrawn.

Second Tay Bridge

The replacement Tay Bridge opened in 1887.

1888 PS Robert Napier withdrawn.

Forth Bridge

In 1890 the Forth Bridge opened which led to the withdrawal of most ferries, PS William Muir being an exception.

1890 PS Auld Reekie, PS Thane of Fife [II] , PS Leviathan, PS Balbirnie, PS Kinloch, PS Nymph and PS Midlothian withdrawn. 1893 PS John Stirling withdrawn.


The NBR(F) was grouped into the LNER in 1923.

1937 PS William Muir withdrawn.

1936-1947 TSS Thane of Fife [III] introduced (built 1910 and acquired to replace PS William Muir)

Services were withdrawn in 1940 with the Second World War when the Granton Harbour became a minesweeper base.

In 1946 Parliament approved the abandonment of the Granton to Burntisland ferry service.


Slip Pier


Granton Slip Granton Middle Pier Victoria Jetty


  /  /1850Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway
World^s first train ferry, designed by Thomas Bouch, operates from Granton Pier (by Granton station) to Burntisland Pier [1st] (near Burntisland [1st]).
  /  /1868PS Dandie Dinmont [I]
Transferred to operate the Granton Pier to Burntisland Pier [1st] service. (Sometimes also operating between Tayport and Broughty Pier.)
  /03/1940Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway
Ferry service from Granton Pier suspended.