The Case for Abbeyhill
Network Rail Scotland, leading for Transport Scotland, propose, as part of the £1 billion Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP), to relay rails on the currently redundant double track bed to the north of the existing main lines heading east from the Calton tunnels – almost to the old Abbeyhill station site. This is to provide stabling sidings to accommodate trains which at the moment block up platform capacity at Waverley – some intercity sets, for example, sit in Waverley for over an hour upon arrival before they depart again.
An opportunity therefore exists to consider extending these sidings beyond the old station site to enable passenger trains to once more serve Abbeyhill.
Previous studies into the reopening of Abbeyhill station have been based on the assumption that a full reopening of the Edinburgh South Suburban Railway would be necessary. Various factors, including cost, have mitigated against this option.
Since now much of the infrastructure required for this proposal will be delivered by EGIP, reopening Abbeyhill station should be possible at low marginal cost – especially if also utilising dwell times for ScotRail trains currently terminating at Waverley.
Abbeyhill station is surrounded by the dense tenements of the Calton, Easter Road, London Road and Abbeyhill areas to the east of Edinburgh city centre. It is also close, as its name would suggest, to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.
The station site is also situated right below the busy main London Road with its many bus services offering connections eastwards and northwards. Passengers would be able to board the train at Abbeyhill for journeys to the west with easy interchange at Waverley for other onward rail journeys.
We believe this proposal represents a “once in a generation” opportunity to enhance rail facilities in this part of Edinburgh.