Edinburgh Waverley railway station

Edinburgh Waverley railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Edinburgh Waverley

caption = View from Scott Monument of Waverley Station roof, between Waverley Bridge (bottom right) and North Bridge, and Arthur's Seat in the background
code = EDB
manager = Network Rail
locale = Edinburgh
borough = City of Edinburgh
latitude = 55.9521
longitude = -3.1890
gridref = NT25757386
usage0405 = 14.220
usage0506 = 14.645
usage0607 = 15.286
platforms = 18
original = Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway, Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway and North British Railway
pregroup = North British Railway
postgroup = LNER
years = 1846
events = North Bridge built by NBR
years1 = 1846
events1 = General Station built by E&GR
years2 = 1847
events2 = Canal Street built by EL&NR
years3 = 1868
events3 = NBR demolished existing stations and replaced with Edinburgh Waverley

Edinburgh Waverley railway station, commonly referred to as just "Waverley" locally, is the main railway station in the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Covering an area of over 25 acres (101,000 m²) in the centre of the city, it is the second largest mainline railway station in the United Kingdom (in terms of area) —the largest being London Waterloo. It is the northern terminus of the East Coast Main Line, and is also the terminus of the Edinburgh branch of the West Coast Main Line. Edinburgh Waverley is the second busiest railway station in Scotland, with only Glasgow Central handling more passengers.


The station is located in a steep, narrow valley between the city's medieval Old Town and the 18th century New Town. Princes Street, the city's premier shopping street, runs along one side of the station. The valley is bridged by the 1897 North Bridge (a three-span iron and steel bridge, which passes high above the station's eastern section) and Waverley Bridge (which, by means of ramps, affords one of the main entrances to the station). This valley was formerly filled by a freshwater loch, the Nor Loch, but this was drained in the early 19th century.


Trains leave Waverley in two directions:
* Eastbound: Following a series of closures culminating in that of the Waverley Route in 1969, the only services departing from the east end of Waverley were East Coast Main Line expresses (primarily to London King's Cross and Birmingham New Street), and local stopping services to North Berwick and (until 1989) Dunbar. Recently, the Edinburgh Crossrail scheme has seen a short stub of the Waverley Route reopened to Newcraighall, and the forthcoming partial reopening of the Waverley Route proper will see trains running to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders.

* Westbound: the line passes through Princes Street Gardens to Haymarket Station. From here, lines lead north over the Forth Bridge, to Fife, Dundee, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness, west to Glasgow Queen Street station, Falkirk, Stirling and Dunblane, and south west to Glasgow Central and the West Coast Main Line via Carlisle. A short branch line runs westward from Newbridge Junction to Bathgate, which was re-opened in 1986 after being closed in 1956. This is currently the subject of an extension project to reconnect it with the Glasgow suburban network at Airdrie, opening up another route between Edinburgh and Glasgow.


A total of 24 platforms have existed at Waverley, but not more than 21 at any one time. Prior to incremental rationalisation of the east-end in the 1960s-80s there were 21 platforms. The main station was effectively a large 'island' with through lines on the outside and terminating platforms (at both ends) in between. In December 2006 a partial renumbering of platforms took place to reflect the construction of 3 new platforms.

At the north side of the station are the former Up Main through platforms. These are actually a single very long platform face with the tracks having a crossover to a parallel line in the centre, and are numbered 19 (west end) and 2 (formerly 1) (east end).

The east-end terminating platforms have undergone significant rationalisation. From north to south these comprised:
* former platforms 2/3, which were latterly used for parcels/mail traffic only and were removed in the 1980s when a new Royal Mail facility was built on their site;
* former platforms 4/5 were also retained for parcels/mail traffic until this ceased. Platform 5 was reopened to passengers in 2006 as the new platform 3;
* former platforms 6/7, of which only the latter survives (now numbered 4), and;
* former platforms 8/9, which were substantially shortened for use as a Motorail terminus (the infilled area becoming a car park). Since the demise of Motorail services these platforms are used only for locomotive stabling, although the numbers 5/6 were reserved for them in the 2006 renumbering.

The former Down Main through platforms 7 (east end) and 8 (west end) lie at the south side of the main station, and again comprise a single very long platform with a crossover in the centre. They are numbered 7 (formerly 10, east end) and 11 (west end).

At the west end, there has been little change to the terminating platforms, apart from widening of platforms (achieved by removing disused centre-road tracks). The platforms comprise (south-north) numbers 12/13, 14/15, 16/17 and bay platform 18. These were not affected by the 2006 platform renumbering scheme.

The only platforms outwith Waverley's overall roof are the former 'Suburban' platforms 8/9 (formerly 21/20), which comprise a lengthy island platform. These are located on the southern edge of the station, adjacent to the former freight depot (now a car park).

A need to increase capacity for through and west-end traffic led to three completely new platforms being built in 2006, on land formerly occupied by disused sidings and bypass lines within the main part of the station. Platform 10 is a through platform at the west end, facing platform 11. Platforms 1 and 20 are a single long through platform facing platforms 2 and 19.


With the growth of the city, and the construction of the "scientifically designed" New Town to the north, the Nor Loch became a fetid open sewer, something at odds with the city's modern Scottish Enlightenment aspirations. Works were undertaken to drain the loch and properly direct the city's sewerage, and by 1820 the loch was largely dry and the land was available for development. Much was used to build Princes Street Gardens, an extensive landscaped park. With the explosion of railway travel in Britain underway, three railway companies each built stations near one another in the valley, opening over the course of the 1840s. The collective name "Waverley", after the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott, was used for the three from around 1854. The three stations were North Bridge Station, which was opened in 1846 by the North British Railway, General Station, which was also opened in 1846 by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway. Canal Street station was opened in 1847 by the Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway, and served Leith via a long tunnel under the New Town. In 1868 the North British Railway company acquired the stations of its rivals, demolished all three, and closed the Canal Street tunnel. The present Victorian station was built on the site, and extended in the late 19th century. The North British Hotel (now The Balmoral) opened in 1902 as a railway hotel, and was operated as part of the station until the 1980s. Waverley has been in continual use since, under the auspices of the North British, later LNER, British Rail, Railtrack and latterly Network Rail.

From its opening, Waverley has been the principal railway station in Edinburgh. Formerly the city had a second major station, Princes Street, operated by the rival Caledonian Railway, but this was never as important as Waverley, and it was closed in 1965.

Current and future uses of the station

As at other large railway stations of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the railway company constructed a grand station hotel beside their station. The North British Hotel, situated adjacent to the station on Princes Street, opened in 1902. In 1983 British Rail sold it to the Forte hotel group. In 1988 Forte closed the hotel for a year to extensively remodel and update what had become something of a faded jewel. When it reopened it was rechristened The Balmoral Hotel (in what has proved to be an astute marketing move, despite the hotel being 115 miles from Balmoral Castle). It enjoys commanding views over central Edinburgh, and is one of the most luxurious (and expensive) hotels in the UK.

The station's large size and the unusual topography of its surroundings mean that it contains a large amount of valuable, centrally located land. The station's successive owners, British Rail, Railtrack and its current owner Network Rail have been criticised for underutilising the valuable city-centre spaces available within. Princes Mall (formerly the Waverley Shopping Centre), which occupies a column of space nestling between Waverley Station, Waverley Bridge, and Princes Street, opened in 1985.

During 2006 and 2007, parts of Edinburgh Waverley were extensively refurbished, including four new platforms, a new escalator entrance from Waverley Steps and the electrification of platforms 12 to 18 in preparation for electric trains coming from the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link and future lines in Scotland to be electrified.

First Transpennine Express services started on 11 December 2007 running services between Edinburgh Waverley and Manchester Airport railway station.







rail line
next =
previous = Jocks Lodge
route = North British Railway

NBR Main Line
col = NBR colour
rail line
next =
previous = Abbeyhill
route = North British Railway

Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway
col = NBR colour
rail line
next = Haymarket
previous =
route = North British Railway

Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
col = NBR colour


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Edinburgh railway station — Edinburgh, Scotland, like other major cities, has more than one railway station:Major stations*Edinburgh Waverley railway station *Haymarket railway stationMinor stations*Brunstane railway station *Curriehill railway station *Dalmeny railway… …   Wikipedia

  • Edinburgh Princes Street railway station — Princes Street station is not to be confused with former North British Railway s Waverley station, located at the east end of the Princes Street Gardens .Infobox UK disused station name = Edinburgh Princes Street other name = caption = The… …   Wikipedia

  • Railway station layout — A railway station is a place where trains make scheduled stops. Stations usually have one or more platforms constructed alongside a line of railway. However, railway stations come in many different configurations influenced by such factors as the …   Wikipedia

  • Newington (Edinburgh) railway station — Newington station Site of the former Newington station Location Place Newing …   Wikipedia

  • Duddingston & Craigmillar railway station — Duddingston Craigmillar The Edinburgh Suburban Railway passing under Duddingston Road West …   Wikipedia

  • Gorgie East railway station — Gorgie East Location Place Gorgie, Edinburgh Area City of Edinburgh Operations Pre grouping North British Railway …   Wikipedia

  • Morningside Road railway station — Morningside Road …   Wikipedia

  • Meadowbank Stadium railway station — Meadowbank Stadium Location Place Edinburgh Area Edinburgh Operations Original company British Rail …   Wikipedia

  • Leith Central railway station — Infobox UK disused station name = Leith Central caption = Leith Central Station line = North British Railway manager = North British Railway locale = Leith borough = City of Edinburgh latitude = longitude = gridref = years = 1 July 1903 events =… …   Wikipedia

  • Dunfermline Town railway station — For other uses, see Dunfermline railway station (disambiguation). Dunfermline Town St Margaret s Drive entra …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.