Edinburgh - Granton

North British Railway

1842 - 1925

Edinburgh Railways  -  Edinburgh to Granton


Please scroll down the page, or click on one of the links below:

1.  Scotland Street Tunnel

2.  Rodney Street Tunnel

3.  Granton Harbour

4.  Granton Gas Works



Scotland Street Tunnel

1847:  Scotland Street Tunnel tunnel was built under Scotland Street in 1847.  It was on the railway line from Edinburgh Canal Street station in Princes Street to Granton Harbour. 

The tunnel had a gradient of 1 in 27.  A stationery engine was used to rope-haul the trains up the line through the tunnel.

1868:  The railway through Scotland Street tunnel was abandoned when a new line to Trinity and Granton Harbour came into use.  The line left  North Bridge station heading to the east, then swung round to the north through Abbeyhill station and headed for Trinity station.

1887:  Scotland Street tunnel was converted for mushroom growing in 1887 [Railscot website]. 5

Ed McKenna writes:

"The 1889/90 Post Office Directory states that the Scottish Mushroom Company was a tenant at Scotland Street Station at that time.

I have read, somewhere, that one line of rails was left in the tunnel so that wagon loads of horse manure could be transported in to feed the mushroom beds and remove the spent beds.

The 1914/15 Post Office Directory gives the name of the tenant as The Edinburgh Mushroom Co. Ltd.

The enterprise was abandoned, date unknown, when the beds became contaminated with some sort of disease.  Production ceased in 1929.

1940s: The tunnel served as an air raid shelter for part of Central Edinburgh during World War II.  The remains of the air raid shelter apparently still exist in the middle of the tunnel.  See the thumbnail images at the bottom of this page.

1967:     Scotland Street Yard continued to operate as a coal depot until 1967  4

1960s:   Scotland Street tunnel was uses for storing new cars in the 1960s.

1970s:   The most recent use that I know of for the tunnel was for growing mushrooms in the dark damp conditions.  I read a reference to this in the press, probably around the 1970s.

2009 Update

The Scotland Street tunnel came into the news again in 2009 when it was announced that plans have been submitted to remove the brickwork from the northern end of the tunnel.

The intention would be to allow the tunnel to be used by community groups. Edinburgh World Heritage has provided 5,000 funding for the initial work to be carried out by a range of community groups and local police officers under the name, 'Friends of King George and Scotland Yards'.

Edinburgh Evening News:  September 2, 2009, p.10

Here are three photos of Scotland Street Tunnel, taken in 2006:

Scotland Street Tunnel  -  World War 2 brigk buildings  -  photographed 2006     Scotland Street Tunnel  -  The southern end of the Tunnel  -  Photographed 2006     Scotland Street Tunnel  -  World War 2 sign  -  photographed 2006

 Railway Ferry

    Engraving  -  Granton Harbour
Granton Harbour and Railway

1850: Burntisland  - The railway from Edinburgh to Granton was extended  to the north using the world's first railway ferry to transport wagons (for goods only) across the Firth of Forth from Granton to Burntisland in Fife.  This was the world's first Railway Ferry.  It commenced on 3 February 1850.    2



Rodney Street Tunnel

Please click on the link below to see a photograph of an engine emerging from Rodney Street Tunnel into Scotland Street Goods Yard in 1904, and to read more about this tunnel:

An engine emerges from the southern end of Rodney Street Tunnel  -  1904



Granton Harbour

Middle Pier

Granton Station  -  Where and when?
Granton Station  -  Middle Pier

1925:  The passenger railway service continued to run from Edinburgh to Middle Pier at Granton Harbour until 1925, when it was discontinued, despite protests.    4

The railway to Granton via Canonmills and Trinity stations actually ended on Middle Pier Granton.  This is not obvious from my outline map above, but can clearly be seen on old maps of the area.

1870 Map


This map also shows the Caledonian Railway approaching Granton from the west and ending beside the old custom house, close to Granton Square beside where Waugh's scrap yard now stands:

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  The entrance to William Waugh's scrap yard at West Harbour Road, Granton  -  25 August 2002

 Railway Ferry

    Engraving  -  Granton Harbour
Granton Harbour and Railway

1850:   Granton to Burntisland

The railway from Edinburgh to Granton was extended  to the north using the world's first railway ferry to transport wagons (for goods only) across the Firth of Forth  to Burntisland in Fife.

This was the world's first Railway Ferry.  It commenced on 3 February 1850.    2



Granton Gas Works

The line from Edinburgh to Granton was extended to Granton Gas Works in 1902, also providing a link with the Caledonian line to Princes Street station.  The gasworks are at the join of the blue and red lines to the west of Granton on the map above.

The service to Granton Gas Works was a private service for Gas Works employees.  The passenger service terminated in 1942 .

The freight service to Granton Gas Works terminated in 1986    4

Edinburgh's second railway was operated by the Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway Company.  It opened between Canonmills and Newhaven and was later extended in both directions until it provided a link between Edinburgh and Perth.

1842:  Canonmills to Newhaven: -  The Edinburgh, Leith & Granton Railway Company opened a  horse-drawn railway between Canonmills  and Trinity.   

Later, Canonmills station became Scotland Street station, and a new station, named Trinity, was built close to the former Newhaven station to replace it.  2

Trinity and Newhaven stations were on raised ground overlooking Newhaven Chain Pier in the Firth of Forth - a site that became popular for early morning bathing in the 19th century.

1846:  Canonmills to Granton:  -  The Edinburgh-Trinity horse-drawn line was extended to Granton Harbour. 

Granton Pier had opened in 1838.  Ferries operated across the Firth of Forth between Granton and Fife.

1847:  Canal Street to Granton:  -  The line from Scotland Street station was extended to the south towards Edinburgh, rope-hauled through a newly constructed tunnel under Scotland Street, leading up a 1 in 28 incline to Canal Street station.

The route to the north between Scotland Street station and Granton, locomotives were introduced to replace the horses.  2



1:  'Yesterday's Railways: Edinburgh'  Publ: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society.    ISBN 0 9508595 0 8

2.  Edinburgh Transport -  The Early Years  [DGL Hunter]

3.  'The Last Trains  -  Edinburgh & SE Scotland'  Moorfoot Publishing, 1979
ISBN 0 906606 01 2

4   Patrick Hutton, Edinburgh

5   Ed McKenna.  Ed has been researching an article on the Scotland Street Tunnel for the North British Railway Study Group Journal  [Sep 2007]



STATIONS mentioned on the EDINBURGH RAILWAYS pages






Blackford Hill



Canal Street




Craiglockhart Road



Dalry Road

Davidson's Mains

Duddingston & Craigmillar


East Pilton




Granton Gas Works

Granton Road




Leith Central

Leith Citadel

Leith North

Lothian Road


Morningside Road


Newhaven (Cal)

Newhaven (NB)



North Bridge





Princes Street


Scotland Street


St Leonard's






 Map of some of Edinburgh's Railways since 1831