Portobello West Junction

Location type


Name and dates

Portobello West Junction (1858-1971)

Opened on the North British Railway.

Opened on the New Portobello Station (North British Railway).


This was the junction between the North British Railway main line and its short connecting curve which ran north to meet the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway's South Leith branch. The curve allowed trains from the east to join the branch and vice versa. It was opened to the west of Portobello [2nd] station.

The opening of this curve allowed the closure of the old alignment from north of Portobello south to what later became Niddrie West Junction (a stub at the southern end was retained). Portobello [1st] on this alignment was closed.

The South Leith branch closed in 1856 to allow the branch to be upgraded. It had been horse worked but after the rebuilding locomotives could be used.

The Baileyfield Switch and Crossing Works were to open sandwiched between the new curve and the former alignment.

Piershill Junction to Portobello East Junction was quadrupled in 1909 (goods lines being laid to the north of the existing lines) and the signal box was replaced.

In 1915 South Leith Junction was opened to the immediate east of Portobello West Junction on the South Leith branch. Here the Lothian Lines (North British Railway) began a long sweeping curve round the north side of Portobello Yard before turning south to Brunstane Park Junction where the lines split to reach various destinations.

This new junction led to an immediate important change with the South Leith branch no longer having direct access to the main line. Instead it either passed through Portobello Yard to reach the main line at Portobello East Junction or took the sweeping curve.

This new line allowed goods and minerals, particularly coal, to bypass the junctions at Portobello and pass over the main line without blocking it or incurring delay. It was part of a plan to improve access to the Leith Docks for the coal masters, who had been promoting their own independent railway due to the poor service they received from the North British. The line was single track.

The signal box was closed in 1971 and the main line at Portobello Junction is reached by running through the remains of Portobello Yard.



External links

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