The History of Leith

May 22, 2007

Leith Central Station

Leith Central Station was opened in1903 in a curious set of circumstances.

The argument between Leith and Edinburgh over the public transport system had resulted in Leith adopting electric trams while Edinburgh opted for cable traction. The result was that travelling from Leith to Edinburgh involved a change from one system to the other at Pilrig. This was inconvenient and time wasting. It was then suggested that this was a situation that the railways could cash in on. The North British Railway Company considered the idea but thought it could be costly However the Caledonian Railway Company stepped in and the Station was built.

The vast interior of the station occupied seven acres and all the property around the station became railway property. The mock renaissance fa�ade of the building was toped of by a clock and this is all that remains to this day of the station.

The early years were a success as a five minute journey to Waverly station called the “penny Jump” However after 1920 and the amalgamation of Leith and Edinburgh this traffic quickly died away and after the second World War it became a maintenance depot.

The station has now been demolished and Leith Waterworld and Scot-Mid Store now stand on the site where trains used to thunder past.

From “Leith Lives”

(The above article taken from “Leith Lives” has been corrected by Michael Laing in the following Comment:
“Leith Central station was built by the North British Railway, not the Caledonian. The Caledonian Railway’s competing line from Princes Street Station crossed Leith Walk and Easter Road a couple of hundred yards to the south, but it never opened to passenger traffic.” For this contribution to the site I would like to thank Mr Laing. JA)

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