Portobello Station



to re-open Portobello Station

Capital Rail Action Group

Members of the Capital Rail Action Group are campaigning for a new station at Portobello, where services on the North Berwick and Edinburgh Crossrail lines would stop.  The journey to Waverley Station would take about five minutes.

The old station at Portobello closed following publication of the Beeching Report in  1963.  All that remains now is the Station Master's house at the foot of Station Brae..

Following a motion put forward by local councillor Maureen Child, the City of Edinburgh council is preparing a report to go before their transport and environment committee at the end of July.  **

Edinburgh Evening News:  June 23, 2009, P.19

** For further information about this report, please see 'Reply 3' below.

The Site of the Old Station

Thank you to John Wilson for sending me two recent photos of Station Brae, one showing the Station Master's House.  The house was at the foot of the brae;  the station was at the top of the brae.

Photo 1

Southfield Place and Station House
at the foot of Station Brae

   View of Station House and the foot of Station Brae from Southfield Place, Portobello ©

Photo 2

Looking up Station Brae towards
the site of the old Portobello Station

   Looking up Station Brae, Portobello, towards the site of the old Portobello Station ©




John Wilson

Slateford, Edinburgh

Portobello Station

Thank you to John Wilson who wrote, commenting that this article has now become out of date.

Acknowledgement:  John Wilson, Slateford, Edinburgh:  May 7, 2012

Updates Required

Yes, I think this page would probably benefit from being updated.  So far as I know, there are currently no plans for a station anywhere at Portobello.

I currently have a large volume of current and recent news about Edinburgh transport, including many comments on the trams, waiting to be added to the EdinPhoto web site, but in view of the number of emails currently arriving, I don't think there is much prospect of adding the transport info to the web site in the near future.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  May 8, 2012





David King

Trinity, Edinburgh

Thank you to David King for giving me more background information about the proposal, five years ago, to build a new station at Portobello.

David wrote

A New Portobello Station?

"When Portobello Station closed there were four tracks at that point, only two of which were served by the island platform – the other two were ‘fast’ lines for trains that did not stop there, mainly longer-distance services. These resolved themselves into two double tracks (East Coast route and Waverley route / Suburban) at Portobello East Junction, underneath the Hope Lane footbridge.

The junction was controlled by a signal box that, unusually, spanned the tracks. The four tracks were reduced to two when the line was re-aligned, about 1970 or so, I think, to remove the sharp curve that formerly took it round Portobello Marshalling Yard – it previously ran close to the fence behind the golf clubhouse. This allowed the easing of a speed restriction.

I think the possibility of providing a new Portobello station was looked at when the line to Brunstane and Newcraighall was re-opened to passengers but there was a ‘capacity issue’, i.e. having trains stopping there meant that they would be on that section of track for longer, and therefore fewer trains than were timetabled could be accommodated.

Building a new station would mean at least one new track, and probably require the fairly recently built wheel lathe to be re-located.  So I think the cost ruled out a station."

David King, Trinity, Edinburgh:  May 9, 2012




John Wilson

Slateford, Edinburgh

Council's Report

July 2009

Thank you to John Wilson for sending me a copy of the Report on a Rail Station at Portobello, prepared in July 2009 by Edinburgh Council’s Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee.

The Report referred to previous studies that had considered re-opening Portobello station.  They were:

- a study in 1998, during development of the Crossrail project, which had concluded that Portobello station could not realistically be built as part of that project, as it would incur significant capital cost, had low patronage and presented operational challenges on the East Coast Main Line

- a study by Atkins, which considered the re-opening of  Edinburgh South Suburban Railway to passengers.  Atkins noted that a station at Portobello would entail disruption to Craigentinny Depot (with sizeable remodelling costs), and that pedestrian access to the platforms (particularly DDA compliance) would be expensive. Atkins observed the station would be around 250m from Portobello High Street, and not suitable for Park and Ride.

The Report of July 2009 concluded that to comprehensively review the case for re-opening Portobello station, significant resources would need to be devoted to carrying out an updated feasibility study with costings.  It did not recommend that such a review should be carried out.

Thank you to John Wilson, Slateford, Edinburgh for sending me a copy of this report on  May 16, 2012