Edinburgh Today

Edinburgh Waverley Station



Earlier Developments

Waverley Station was created in 1854 from three separate stations on adjacent sites:

-  North Bridge Station which was opened by the North British Railway in 1846

-  General Station, opened by the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway in 1846

- Canal Street Station, opened by the Edinburgh, Leith & Granton Railway in 1847.  This line, using a tunnel under Scotland Street closed in 1865.

Waverley Station was expanded, between 1892 and 1900, to enable it to cope with increased traffic following the opening of the Forth Rail Bridge.

Now the station is in need of further major redevelopment.  See below.

Possible Redevelopment Today

A choice of schemes

Several plans have been considered to enable Waverley Station to handle more passengers and trains.  It can currently cope with:

- 24 trains per hour leaving to the west, towards Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen

- 5 trains per hour leaving to the east, towards Berwick, Newcastle, London.

No decision has yet been made on the redevelopment of the station.  Two major schemes have been considered:

- The first scheme, at a cost of 380m, would provide extra platforms, increasing the station's capacity to 28 + 18 trains per hour.  This scheme would probably not provide sufficient capacity to include rail links to any new lines, such as the South Suburban line and the Scottish Borders line.

- The second scheme, at a cost of 440m+,  would entail more remodelling of the lines through the station, and would include building a shopping complex on top of the station.  This has been criticised because it could take away the open view from Princes Street looking towards Edinburgh Old Town.

Engraving in 'Modern Athens'  -  Edinburgh Old Town and North Bridge from Princes Street

Edinburgh Evening News  1 July 2003, p.9


Update:  2003

A More Modest Scheme

Possible schemes to redevelop Waverley Station, with new shopping developments on top of the station, are reported to have been shelved because the Strategic Rail Authority cannot afford them.

Instead, it is expected that a more modest scheme will go ahead at a cost of around 100m, providing one or two extra platforms and lifts or escalators between the station and Princes Street.  The station has already reached capacity, so several possible projects would be competing for use of any new platforms:

-  opening of a rail link to Edinburgh Airport

-  reinstatement of the Bathgate-Airdrie route

-  reopening of the Borders route

-  reopening of the Edinburgh South Suburban line

Edinburgh Evening News  15 September 2003, p.9

The more modest 100m development of Waverley Station is expected to be announced soon.  The scheme is expected to include lifts and escalators to Princes Street, but to provide only two additional through railway lines, rather than the nine extra lines in the earlier 400m scheme.

Edinburgh Evening News  15 March 2004, p.5

Flying Scotsman

Proposal for Museum

The owners of the Flying Scotsman, the famous LNER locomotive that was built 1923 and became the first steam locomotive to reach 100mph, had hoped to open a Flying Scotsman Museum at Waverley Station.

The locomotive has had an interesting history since being withdrawn from normal service in the UK.  It has toured Australia and USA.  It was 'rescued' by its latest owner in 1996, but has again run into financial difficulties.  Shares in Flying Scotsman PLC have now [November 2003] been suspended.

The lack of progress to date is disappointing.

The Herald, 4 November 03,  p.3


Update:  Oct 2005

Phase 1  -  to 2007

It is planned to spend 140m over the next two years:

 -   to create 3 new platforms within the next two years.

-    to build  a new entrance with escalators and a glass and steel canopy to replace the windy Waverley Steps entrance to the station from Princes Street.

Valentine's Postcard  - Waverley Steps  -  Posted 1936

Phase 2 -  to 2012

The number of trains using the station has increased by 50% over the past fifteen years.  There are now 576 per day.  

That's 570 per day more than on some of the lines that I have visited recently recently while photographing stations in the Scottish Highlands!  -  Peter Stubbs

It is claimed that further developments at Waverley Station are now urgently needed to prevent it reaching capacity by 2012.

In October 2005, Donald Anderson, leader of Edinburgh City Council, spoke of the need for over 500m funding from the Scottish Executive to enable phase 2 of the Waverley Station development to begin in 2006.

Three schemes are under discussion, costing up to 750m.  These include plans for more through platforms, a shopping centre above the station and possibly a transport interchange with buses.

Edinburgh Evening News  October 29, 2005, pp.5, 12

Phase 2 -  to be Abandoned

Phase 1 (above) is now well underway, but Phase 2 (above) is unlikely to happen.  Edinburgh council now consider Phase 2 not to be commercially viable.

There appear to be differences of opinion between Edinburgh Council which believes that the number of platforms now being created at Waverley Station will be sufficient to meet requirements until 2020 and Transport Scotland, the Scottish Executive's transport agency which believes that that this number will be sufficient only up to 2012.

Edinburgh Council has searched without success for over a year for sources of the 700m funding required to redevelop Waverley Station.  So it is expected that this project will be abandoned at next week's council meeting.

So instead of pursuing developments on top of the existing station building, the council has now asked Sir Terry Farrell to look into  developments around the perimeter of the station, possibly also creating new bridges linking Princes Street and St James Centre with the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh Evening News  October 29, 2005, pp.5, 12


Update:  Jan 2006


Phase 1

Work on Phase 1 of the redevelopment of Waverley Station is due to begin  on January 9, 2006.  The estimated cost of this phase is now 150m. 

This phase will include creating two new through platforms at the southern side of the station, close to Market Street, and an extra 'bay platform' for terminating trains.

Phase 1 also includes new lifts and escalators and a glass and steel canopy  over Waverley Steps.  95% of the work in phase 1 is due to be carried out at night and passengers are not expected to notice any impact on train journeys until the end of 2006.

Proposals  -  Phase 2

Decision Awaited

It is estimated that over 500m will be required for phase 2.  This is to include more new platforms, a much larger shopping centre and a transport interchange with buses and trams.

The Scottish Executive has not yet said whether or not it will be willing to release the funding for this stage.

Edinburgh Evening News  January 9, 2006:  p.11


Update:  Aug 2006

Phase 2 to be Abandoned

Following the news that the proposed 700m redevelopment of Waverley Station is now unlikely to proceed, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce has called for a second major station to be built in Edinburgh  -  a 'Parkway' station.  i.e. a station on the outskirts of town with a large car park, similar to Bristol Parkway Station built in the 1970s. 

Possible sites for an Edinburgh Parkway station are:

-  west of Sighthill, or more likely

-  east of Newcraighall.

Edinburgh Evening News  August 21, 2006:  p.4

Update:  Aug 2009

Market Street Entrance

Plans were announced today for a new 15m back entrance into Waverley station from Market Street.  The plans include a new glazed canopy leading to platforms eight and nine.  The work is due to be carried out between March and September 2011.

Planning officials have recommended approval of this plan.

130m Plan

This is the first stage of a 130m revamp of the station over the next four years, which will include:

-   gull wing platform canopies.

-  replacement of the 17,000 glass panels on the 34,000 sq. ft. station roof, 2014.


Edinburgh Evening News  August 29, 2009.  p.2