Portobello (NBR) railway station

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PlacePortobello, Edinburgh
AreaCity of Edinburgh
Coordinates55°56′58″N 3°07′04″W / 55.949454°N 3.117677°W / 55.949454; -3.117677Coordinates: 55°56′58″N 3°07′04″W / 55.949454°N 3.117677°W / 55.949454; -3.117677
Grid referenceNT303735
Original companyNorth British Railway
22 June 1846Opened[1]
7 September 1964Closed[1]
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain

Portobello railway station was located at Station Brae, off Southfield Place, in the Portobello area of Edinburgh (Scotland), with footpath access also from other directions. The station opened in 1846[1] by the North British Railway. There was an earlier Portobello station opened by the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway.[1]


A 1905 Railway Clearing House diagram of Edinburgh railways, with the SSJR (in blue along the bottom)

The station was rebuilt in 1887.[2][3]

During its lifetime, as rail services evolved, Portobello was served by most passenger trains running out of the east end of Waverley including stopping trains on the Berwick and Carlisle main lines and through trains to the various branches, e.g. Musselburgh, North Berwick, Gifford, Glencorse, Penicuik, Polton, Dalkeith, but excepting express and semi-fast long distance trains and a few limited stop residential trains (as they were then known), for example some North Berwick and Dunbar trains.

There was a service to South Leith from a separate platform. Following the opening of Leith Central in 1903, to which Edinburgh south suburban circle trains via Portobello ran, the South Leith service was rapidly run down and then withdrawn in 1905.

Although the station was accessible from residential areas in several directions, and not much more than 300 metres away from more densely populated High Street area, tram and bus services from the High Street to a range of destinations across the city centre abstracted traffic from the rail service. Until the end of operation some of those commuters for whom the service was convenient continued to travel home for lunch, a benefit from their season ticket purchase but of no financial benefit to the railway.


Portobello was not included in the list of stations proposed for closure in the "Reshaping of British Railways" report of March 1963 but was added later (as some other services and stations were), closing 7 September 1964.[1]

In the final two years of its existence services were provided mainly by trains to Corstorphine, Musselburgh and North Berwick. Portobello Station closed on and from Monday 7 September 1964 (when the Edinburgh-Musselburgh rail service was withdrawn with the closure also of Abbeyhill, Piershill, Joppa and Musselburgh stations).


A local campaigning group, the Capital Rail Action Group (CRAG), is running a campaign for Portobello Station to be re-opened to passenger services, as the station lies on the line served by Edinburgh Crossrail between Edinburgh Waverley and Brunstane. Journey times to Waverley have been estimated at 5 minutes, in contrast to the half-hour journey by bus.[4]

CRAG is also campaigning for the ESSJR south suburban railway which loops around Edinburgh's Southside back to Haymarket. The group proposes that it should be operated either as a commuter rail service or as a light rail system to form an extension of the Edinburgh Tram Network.[5] Following a petition submitted to the Scottish Parliament in 2007, the proposal was rejected in 2009 by transport planners due to anticipated cost.[6]



  1. ^ a b c d e Butt 1995, p. 189.
  2. ^ Mullay, A.J. (1991). Rail Centres: Edinburgh. p. 126.
  3. ^ Mekie, Margeorie (1999). Old Portobello. p. 4.
  4. ^ Marshall, Chris (23 June 2009). "Portobello station campaign builds up a head of steam". Edinburgh Evening News. Edinburgh. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Reopening the South Sub" (PDF). Transform Scotland. March 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Public Petitions Committee Official Report". Scottish Parliament. 27 January 2009. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2010.


Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Jocks Lodge   North British Railway
NBR Main Line
South Leith   North British Railway
Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway
Duddingston & Craigmillar   Edinburgh Suburban and
Southside Junction Railway

North British Railway
  connection with ES&SJR