Southern Suburban Railway

(South Suburban Railway, Southern District Railway)

A railway line which loops through the southern districts of Edinburgh, the Southern Suburban Railway (or South Suburban Railway) was opened by the Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway Company in 1884 but soon incorporated into the North British Railway. Part of the Edinburgh Suburban Line, which was surveyed by Sir Thomas Bouch (1822-80), although he died before construction began by John Waddell & Sons in 1881. The line connects with the mainline at Haymarket Junction and at junctions between Brunstane and Newcraighall. There is also a junction with the Caledonian Railway at Slateford. From Craigmillar, it exploited the existing St. Leonard's Branch of the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway (or Innocent Railway) which was built in 1831 to bring coal into the city but was soon also servicing Usher's Park Brewery. While the westernmost section of that branch is now closed, the remainder is now regarded as part of the Southern Suburban line which, from Haymarket Junction to Brunstane, is 7 miles (11 km) is in length.

There were once stations at Gorgie, Craiglockhart, Morningside, Blackford, Newington and Duddingston, and the railway undoubtedly contributed to the southern expansion of the city. There were goods sidings at Morningside and Newington, which were used to bring domestic coal into the city and transporting farm produce. Although the line closed to passengers in 1962, it remains an important freight artery, allowing the busy Haymarket and Waverley Stations in the centre of Edinburgh to be bypassed, and providing a diversion when there are difficulties on the mainline.

Several schemes have been put forward to restore passenger services, but given the circular nature of the line, its utility for bringing people into the centre of Edinburgh has to be questioned.

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