Edinburgh Transport  -  Railways

Leith Central Station


Railway Photo, 1969  -  Is this Leith Central Station?

©  Terry Tracy, London                                                                                                                                           Photograph taken1969


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   Railway Photo, 1969  -  Is this Leith Central Station? ©





Terry Tracy


Thank you also to Terry Tracy for writing again and sending me the Leith Central Station**photograph above.  It includes .

** BUT Please also see my 'Question' below.

Terry wrote:

Leith Central Station

   Railway Photo, 1969  -  Is it Powderhall Station, Edinburgh? ©

"I've now found this  photo taken at Leith Central**  on 5 January 1969, the same day as I took this photo which I marked as being 'Powderhall Station'."

   Railway Photo, 1969  -  Is it Powderhall Station, Edinburgh? ©

The Last Tran to Carlisle

"On that day, I also travelled to Hawick taking pice, then home via the last train to Carlisle to run over the Riccarton Junction line."

Terry Tracy, London:  4 November 2016


Leith Central Station?

Was the photo at the top of this page taken at Leith Central station?  The building in the background looks quite different from other photos of Leith Central Station that I've seen, but it may be a part of the station that I am not familiar with.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  6 November 2016




John B

Powmill, Perth & Kinross, Scotland

Thank you to JB for sending me the following helpful reply, in response to the question that I asked above about the location of this photo:

   Railway Photo, 1969  -  Is it Powderhall Station, Edinburgh? ©

JB wrote:

Leith Central Station

"I think the location for this photograph could be the now-demolished embankment just east of the railway bridge which carried the line from Leith Central Station across Easter Road. 

   Railway Photo, 1969  -  Is it Powderhall Station, Edinburgh? ©

The view of the building in the background looks like the south-west elevation of the old school in Lochend Road.  It originally opened as Lochend Road School, later St Anthony’s and latterly an annexe for Leith Academy."

Google Street View

"The viewpoint would have been the un-named street, now redeveloped as the east-west section of Academy Park which would have been the access to a timber yard.  Google Street View shows dormer windows and Velux-style windows in the roof, although these could have been added after the date of the photograph. 

Similarly, the rectangular chimney-like structure to the front of the building could have been demolished.  The building has been converted into flats. "

OS Map

"However, there is one problem.  The spire that appears to be either behind or part of the building.  Looking at the alignment on this Ordnance Survey map, I don’t think the church spire at the junction of Easter Road and Lochend Road, which has a similar shape, would appear in the position shown in the photograph. 

I don’t recall whether the School building incorporated a spire, although the map does show a triangulation point on the building.  Historic Scotland's Canmore site has no online details of the building."

Further Investigation

"The original view on Google Street View is blocked by new buildings.  This is thee nearest alternative Google view to the north into the north-south section of Academy Park.

Note that, on the left, the new tenement building is situated between older tenements where the railway bridge crossed Easter Road.  The spire of the church at the junction of Easter Road and Lochend Road is visible through the trees."

 John B, Powmill, Perth & Kinross, Scotland:  8 November 2016




John B

Powmill, Perth & Kinross, Scotland

Thank you to John B for writing again.

John B wrote:

Leith Central Station

"I found some aerial photographs from 1958 on  the National Collection of Aerial Photography web site.

Several of the photos on that site including these two
           -  St Anthony's School, Photo 1

           -  St Anthony's School, Photo 2

show what appears to be a spire on the roof of the school building.

These photos are still not conclusive.  The spire is not distinctive, but a spire-like object is also evident in some other photographs in the series.

However, the object that appears to be on the school does not align with the church tower, so it is not the church spire.   The triangulation point on the map is offset towards Lochend Road, which tallies with the object in the photograph.

Also, there must have been a distinctive point on the building for Ordnance Survey to use as a triangulation point.   It now seems more probable that the school did originally have a spire, so it is the school that will be the building in the railway photograph."

 John B, Powmill, Perth & Kinross, Scotland:  8 November 2016




Mike Melrose

Greenbank, Edinburgh

Thank you to Mike Melrose who wrote

St Anthony's
 Secondary School Annexe

"I can confirm that the building with the spire in this photo is Leith St Andrew's Church.  

   Railway Photo, 1969  -  Is it Powderhall Station, Edinburgh? ©

I used to attend St Anthony's Secondary School annexe at the bottom of Lochend Road on the left hand side – now flats.

We used to look out from Mr McGravie’s English Classroom on the 2nd floor to see the trains in the sidings exactly where the photograph shows them."

Mike Melrose, Greenbank, Edinburgh:    9 November 2016 (2 emails)




John B

Powmill, Perth & Kinross, Scotland

John B replied again yesterday, after carrying out research into this photo.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to follow all the details of John's  research into this photo myself.  However, I've included his comments below, in case anybody else wishes to study them and perhaps respond to them.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  12 November 2016

John B wrote:

Leith Central Station Photo

   Railway Photo, 1969  -  Is it Powderhall Station, Edinburgh? ©

Church or School Spire in the Photo?

"Looking at the map and the satellite images on Google Earth, it would appear impossible to align the church spire and the school building to produce the view of the building shown in the railway photograph.  To align the church spire with the school would produce a view facing the south elevation of the building, and the the railway would then be almost parallel with line of sight and to the left to the viewer. 

An image of the school is depicted in a postcard photograph dated 1890 on the Capital Collections web site.  A spire can be seen clearly, and it is aligned to the left of the nearest dormer window overlooking Lochend Road.   This image from Google Street View shows the top of the church spire just visible, and only from a viewpoint further south, up hill, in Lochend Road than the position from where the postcard photograph was taken. Even then the church spire is aligned almost to the right of the same dormer window.  Moving north in Lochend Road to a point that gives roughly the same perspective as the postcard, the church spire is not visible.  

A book on Edinburgh states that the church spire was added in 1902.  The record for the church on the Historic Environment Scotland site also mentions an addition to the church in 1902, but does not specify the nature of the work.   If the dates are correct, then the church spire would not appear in the postcard photograph.

An architectural  description of the school when the building was designated in 1991 by Historic Environment Scotland  (under the address of the Leith Academy main building in Duke Street) does not mention a spire, although the modern brick chimney at the west elevation is described (I referred to that elevation as south-west in my previous e-mail). 

I'm sure that the school is the building in the railway photograph but also that the school building did incorporate a spire which has been demolished at some time after the railway photograph was taken."

 John B, Powmill, Perth & Kinross, Scotland:  8 November 2016




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