THE newest chapter in the long history of Waverley Station began this week with the re-opening of the Market Street entrance following a £7 million refurbishment.
The station has seen many phases of construction since its official opening in 1854, when three separate stations on the site were amalgamated to make one. Between 1869 and 1874 the station was extended, with a new roof also added. The station was then rebuilt between 1892 and 1900 and has been in continual use since.
Though at first glance it may seem as though the picture featured here was taken in that era, on closer inspection the cars parked outside the station give away the fact this is actually a much more recent photo, taken in December 1986. This 95-year-old steam locomotive, called Maude, was taking part in the popular “Santa Special” circuit, where a Scottish Railway Preservation Society member dressed as Santa Claus would give out Christmas presents to every child on board the train.
Although Waverley has been seen as the principal Edinburgh railway station since it began operating, between 1870 and 1965 a second major station was operated on the west end of Princes Street by rival Caledonian Railway. Demolished in 1970, the Caledonian Hilton is all that remains of the once bustling station, which had boasted seven platforms and an 850ft-long roof.
In terms of area, Waverley Station is the second largest in the UK, beaten only by London Waterloo. Outside of London it is the fifth-busiest station in the UK, and in Scotland it is the second busiest. Waverley handles about 19.2 million passengers a year, beaten only by Glasgow Central.