Waverley station tours to mark new history book

Shift station manager Stuart Taylor with Ann Glen's book. Picture: Scott Taylor

Shift station manager Stuart Taylor with Ann Glen's book. Picture: Scott Taylor

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THE colourful history behind Waverley Station’s impressive location between Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns is being laid bare in a new book.

Historian and author Dr Ann Glen has penned the first stand-alone publication looking exclusively at Waverley’s past.

The 144-page book, Edinburgh Waverley: A Novel Railway Station, explains the reasons for the site’s unconventional layout and brings to life some of the characters once associated with the station.

Dr Glen will lead free tours around Waverley this weekend to mark her book’s publication and Edinburgh’s Doors Open Day. The hour-long tours will give visitors a rare insight into the inner workings of the ­station.

The author said few people knew that Waverley originally referred to three stations, not just the one that exists today.

She said: “The station had a complicated history involving three railway stations at one stage, with not all of them getting on as smoothly as one might hope in the circumstances. Out of that, the Waverley station emerged, notwithstanding the difficulties of the site.

“It’s really squashed in between Castle Rock, the crag and tail that follows down the Royal Mile and also what has become the territory of the New Town and Princes Street. Calton Hill also helps to jam it in. It is a very constricted site.”

Former railway engineer John Miller, who told a Scottish Parliament in the 1860s he had never been so “apprehensive” coming into any station as Waverley, is among the figures chronicled in the book.

Network Rail Scotland route managing director David Simpson said: “What fascinates me most is the stories of the individuals who are brought to life – both those who have had such a profound influence on the appearance and operation of the station and those who are simply passing through. The stories of courage and sacrifice demonstrated by railway workers in both world wars are also incredibly touching.”

Dr Glen’s book covers the evolution of the station from the 19th century through to the major overhaul carried out in the past three years. A refurbished glass roof unveiled earlier this year under a £130 million transformation being carried out by Network Rail is one of the most significant design changes.

Tour groups will be taken all over the station, including Waverley Steps, the Calton Road access and old dock platforms.

• Both tours on Saturday and Sunday run from 10am. Those wanting to take part can e-mail darren.gallagher@networkrail.co.uk, or meet at the information point on the main concourse. Edinburgh Waverley: A Novel Railway Station can be bought from WH Smith at Waverley Station or from Lily publications.