Edinburgh retro: 12 great photos looking back at the former Leith Central Station in its heyday

Former railway station was the inspiration for the Trainspotting title

Leith Central Station, situated between Leith Walk and Easter Road, operated from 1903 until 1952, with the large passenger hub offering four platforms around 15 feet above street level.

On the Leith Walk side, the station was entered by doors on the corner of Duke Street, leading to stairs up to the ticket office, waiting rooms and other passenger facilities which were situated at platform level, one storey above the street. Below these were retail premises on the Leith Walk and Duke Street sides of the Foot of the Walk, most notably the Central Bar, which still exists.

At the eastern side, the station was still as high above street level, however, the four platforms and many sidings contained within the station narrowed to cross Easter Road on a four-track bridge. Before crossing Easter Road, the train sheds finished just before the platform ends, around 45 yards from Easter Road. Between the glass panelled gable end of the train shed and the Easter Road bridge was Leith Central signal box. Also provided at that end of the station was an additional entrance. From almost underneath the Easter Road bridge, access was gained to the platforms by way of two stairways, meaning passengers did not have to make the long trip from the bottom of Easter Road to the foot of Leith Walk to catch their train.

Following its closure to passengers, the station was adapted to become a motive power depot from 1956 until 1971. It was finally closed completely in 1972, before being partially demolished in 1979.

In the 1980s, the derelict train station was notorious as a haven for drug addicts, and this inspired a key scene in the Trainspotting series of books by Irvine Welsh, when Begbie hears an alcoholic tramp shout that he must be there for train-spotting before he realises that the tramp is his father.

The large building was subsequently completely demolished and all that remains is the terminal building and clock tower. The site of the station platforms currently houses a children's soft-play centre, formerly Leith Waterworld, and a supermarket. The main building which housed the station offices, waiting room, the station clock and the shops at street level all still stand at the foot of Leith Walk.

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