Leith South Yard

Location type


Name and dates

Leith South Yard (1881-)

Opened on the Lothian Lines (North British Railway).


This marshalling yard was developed to the north of the South Leith branch to the east of the station on reclaimed land. The yard served the Leith Docks. It is approached from the east, from Portobello, and fans out over a wide area between Seafield Road and Marine Esplanade.

At the time of writing the yard is largely out of use except for very infrequent permanent way depot use.

The yard was developed after the opening of the Leith Edinburgh Dock in 1881. Before this the Leith Albert Dock was served by quayside lines which joined directly to the railway network east of South Leith station. With increasing coal export (and a single track line) marshalling was needed. The line was doubled but dock acreage increased greatly particularly with the opening of the Leith Imperial Dock in 1898.

Lines north and west of Albert Road were owned by the Leith Harbour and Dock Commissioners Railway, now Forth Ports (at time of writing, 2018).

Stages of development are

1869 Leith Albert Dock opened. Quayside lines opened from just east of South Leith.
1881 Leith Edinburgh Dock opened. First part of yard laid out alongside line.
1898 Leith Imperial Dock opened. Yard expanded on north side with a second group of sidings.
1900 South Leith branch doubled about this time.
1903 Leith New Lines (Caledonian Railway) opened to Seafield Yard [CR] laid out directly to the north of the existing North British Railway yard. Separate connection to Leith Imperial Dock. Approached by viaduct over Seafield Road and the existing lines.
1916 Lothian Lines (North British Railway) opened due to coal owners pressure to improve export of coal. Additional third group of sidings and connection laid in and Meadows Yard laid out further east.

The yard did not have a locomotive shed (the nearby Seafield Yard [CR] did have one) but it did have a turntable at the east end (Leith South Turntable [NB]).

The yard contracted from the 1950s onwards. The yard was cut back in 1963 with the completed opening of Millerhill Marshalling Yard (British Railways). The Caledonian Railway lines and Seafield Yard [CR] closed in 1966.

After a century and a half of exporting coal, coal was imported through Leith Edinburgh Dock in the 2000s for Cockenzie Power Station.

Rationalisation every few years since has left three groups of sidings, those in the south being Leith South Goods and those in the north being Leith South Yard, the southern group formerly serving Leith Edinburgh Dock (partly infilled), and a northern group serving the north side of Leith Edinburgh Dock and the breakwater north of Leith Imperial Dock. Ordnance Survey now only show the northern group.


Forth Ports - Leith


Sidings underused freight facility

External links

NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Nearby stations
South Leith
Port of Leith [Tram]
The Shore [Tram]
Leith Central
Foot of the Walk [Tram]
Easter Road Park Halt
Leith Walk [CR]
North Leith
Meadowbank Stadium
Balfour Street [Tram]
Junction Bridge
Easter Road
Jock^s Lodge
Ocean Terminal [Tram]
Seafield Yard [CR]
Seafield Shed [CR]
Leith South Timber Yard
Leith South Turntable [NB]
Leith South Grain Store
Seafield Viaduct
Seafield Level Crossing
Seafield Road Junction
Leith Rope Works
Seafield Junction [CR]
Leith East Goods
Leith South Goods
Edinburgh and Leith Glass Works
Crawford^s Biscuit Factory
Albert Road Level Crossing
Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.


A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Scotland - The Lowlands and the Borders v. 6 (Regional railway history series)

An Illustrated History of Edinburgh's Railways

Drem to Edinburgh: Including Gullane, Haddington, Tranent, Musselburgh and Fisherrow Branches (Scottish Main Lines)

Edinburgh (Rail Centres)

Edinburgh (Rail Centres)

Galashiels to Edinburgh: Including the Lauder and Dalkeith Branches - the Waverley Route (Scml)

Waverley: Portrait of a Famous Route