"Here are three photos of Abbeyhill Station
and two of Piershill Station that I took in erly-1964. I'd heard
that the stations were closing, and decided to take a few record pictures,
using the only camera then available to me. Both stations closed to
passenger traffic on September 7, 1964."
The photos are not great quality, all having
been taken on 120 film with my old Kodak box camera, not long before I
eventually got my first 35mm camera.
"Abbeyhill station was built by the North
British Railway Company in 1869.
These photos might be of current interest, as
well as historical interest,
given that there have been proposals to reinstate a length of track
through the old Abbeyhill Station site to allow it to be used as a
turn-back siding/stabling point for Glasgow -Edinburgh train stock, to
relieve congestion in Waverley Station itself.
Can any of your contributors possibly provide
an update on this proposal? There also seems to have been some internet
discussion about the possibility of re-instating passenger services from
this stabling point, but I don't think they have come to much. That's
another one for your contributors to comment on!"
Although Abbeyhill station is similar in
appearance to Piershill, there are some noticeable differences. For
example, the Abbeyhill buildings don't have the ornamental roof finials or
the paned glass draught screens at each end of the buildings, as found at
This might be because Piershill station wasn't
built until 1891. It was the last of several stations that had been
opened and closed in the Piershill area during a time when the NBR small
station design standards may have changed.
Also, while Piershill, when built, was a
'semi-country' station on a raised embankment, with open areas - and
therefore exposure to the elements - to the east, north and west,
Abbeyhill was more urban, and sheltered from the elements, possibly making
the draught screens unnecessary."
As you'll see, Piershill station, for all its
small size, was quite well appointed, with waiting room fires on both
sides, and stylish features such as the elegant finials at each end of the
"This is a general view, looking north, with
the connection to the East Coast Main Line a couple of hundred yards
behind the camera. The building immediately above the short tunnel running
under London Road is the station's main entrance and ticket office. (Piershill's
ticket office was at ground level, below the level of the raised running
line and main station buildings, at the foot of covered staircases very
like those shown in this picture.).
I don't know the reason for the curved cutaway
of the Down side station canopy, but it may be because track relaying or
realignment, some time after the station was originally built, resulted in
the canopy coming into conflict with the new loading gauge, so creating a
need for appropriate re-profiling.
The stylish and varied designs of the parapets
and chimney stacks of the tenement block above and to the right of the
station are also interesting. (They contrast strongly with the present-day
ugly blue-green structure on the corner of London Road and Abbey Lane that
will now obscure the view of those old tenements from this viewpoint!)"
"This view through the tunnel at the north end
of Abbeyhill station shows the junction where the line to Granton and
Leith branched off to the left, while the right-hand line led to Lochend
Junction and the Leith Central and Piershill lines. The last-mentioned
eventually met the East Coast Main Line again just east of Piershill
"This is simply a picture of the station's
gradient board, showing the uphill gradient, increasing from 1-in-86 to
1-in-58, faced by trains immediately upon leaving the station for
(This was probably much loved by steam loco
drivers of the first Up trains starting away after a station stop, on icy
rails, on snowy, freezing winter mornings!)"
"In this photograph can be seen the
spectators' grandstand (just to the left of the left-hand station
building) and the terracing retaining wall (in the middle distance) of Old
Meadowbank speedway and stock-car racing track.
This, of course, was demolished in connection
with the building of the 1970 Commonwealth Games complex at Meadowbank.
The short-lived Commonwealth Games Halt was built not far past the
terracing retaining wall.
In the background are the still-existing
Marionville Road tenements, now opposite Meadowbank athletics track, and
the now-vanished western part of William Thyne's printing works."
"This shows a local two-car diesel multiple
unit, probably from Musselburgh, taking on (unusually) several passengers
heading for Waverley - under ten minutes away, with only one intermediate
stop, at Abbeyhill.
The junction with the East Coast Main Line is
only a couple of hundred yards down the line from the train, just across
the bridge over Smokey Brae.
The nearby 'Piershill Barracks' tenements can
be seen in the background on the right. St Margaret's locomotive
shed is out of shot, to the right of this picture, two minutes' walk
Laurie Thompson, Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire,
emails received: Sep 19+19+21, 2014