Edinburgh Princes Street railway station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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.
Edinburgh Princes Street
Caledonian Hilton.JPG
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian is the main surviving part of the former station complex
Place Edinburgh
Area Edinburgh
Original company Caledonian Railway
Post-grouping LMS
Platforms 7
2 May 1870 Temporary wooden station opened
1890 Partly destroyed by fire & building work on permanent station started
1893 Permanent station brought into use
1903 Hotel added
6 September 1965 Station closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
Portal icon UK Railways portal
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian from street level.

Princes Street Station was a mainline railway station which stood at the west end of Princes Street, in Edinburgh, Scotland, for almost 100 years. A temporary station was opened in 1870, with construction of the main station commencing in the 1890s. The station was closed completely in 1965 and largely demolished in 1969-70. Only its hotel remains, but it is no longer in railway ownership.

The Caledonian Railway[edit]

The Caledonian Railway company's main line reached Edinburgh, and was ceremonially opened on 15 February 1848.[1] Its initial Edinburgh terminus was located at Lothian Road.[1][2] The track was extended slightly and the temporary Lothian Road station, opened in 1848, was replaced in 1870 by another temporary station in Princes Street.[1][2]

Construction of the Princes Street terminus[edit]

The 1870 temporary Princes Street station was rebuilt, between 1890 and 1893 to become a grand station with seven platforms and an 850 ft long bayed roof.

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian (originally opened as Princes Street Station Hotel), a grand railway hotel, was eventually built above the main 3 archway entrances of the station and opened, after some construction delays, in 1903. The main entrance was then moved to Rutland Street. It was built in red sandstone in common with most Caledonian Railway buildings.

Mainline and suburban services[edit]

The mainline to London, via Carstairs, headed southwest from the station, which was later augmented with a number of suburban stops, Merchiston, Slateford, and Kingsknowe, and a branchline to Colinton and Balerno. The Caledonian railway company later added several other suburban lines serving the north and west of the city, including Barnton, Davidson's Mains, Granton, and Leith. By contrast the North British Railway's suburban lines mostly served the south and east of the city.


After nationalisation of the railways in 1948, it was considered logical to concentrate all rail services in Edinburgh on one station. With Waverley Station a short distance along Princes Street beyond Princes Street Gardens, by the 1960s Princes Street Station was seen as surplus to requirements. Although its street-level entrance was rather more convenient for travellers than that of Waverley (which is in a deep cutting and requires a steep climb to reach street level), the latter was much larger, more conveniently located within the city, and (crucially) had access to the East Coast Main Line. After closure of Princes Street, the west of the city would continue to be served by nearby Haymarket Station.

Local services were gradually withdrawn, starting with those to Balerno in 1943, followed by those to Barnton in 1951, Leith North in 1962,[3] and stopping trains on the main line to Carstairs in 1964. The remaining services to Glasgow Central, Stirling and English cities were then diverted to Waverley, allowing Princes Street Station to be closed in September 1965.[2] The station was demolished in 1969-70, with the West Approach Road being built along the track bed in the early 1970s. The hotel still operates on the site and has been renamed the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian. Part of the station space still remains within it and the grand entrance arch is still visible at the side of the hotel. The former Parcels Office survived, on Lothian Road between the hotel and the Western Approach Road, until a major office development was constructed on its site in the 1990s.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Nock (1961)
  2. ^ a b c Butt (1995), p. 88.
  3. ^ Dalton, Alastair (28 April 2012). "Fifty years after rail track fell silent, trams offer new lease of life". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 28 April 2012. 


Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Terminus   Caledonian Railway
CR Main Line
Line and station closed
Terminus   Caledonian Railway
Granton Branch
  Dalry Road
Line and station closed
Terminus   CR and NBR
Dalry Road Lines
  Dalry Road Lines to westbound
Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Line closed

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°56′57″N 3°12′27″W / 55.94917°N 3.20750°W / 55.94917; -3.20750