Edinburgh's South Suburban railway could be reborn but we need a bit more imagination – John McLellan

Its shiny tracks, freight services and overgrown platform remains make the South Suburban line seem an obvious answer to Edinburgh’s transport woes, and nearly 60 years after closure it’s the line that won’t die.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Passengers leaving the platform at Morningside Station, Edinburgh in 1961

Now the ghosts of those two dapper, be-hatted gents in the picture of Morningside Station which illustrates every story about the line could ride again, with the South Sub part of Transport Scotland’s review of strategic transport investment.

However, it will remain an impractical dream as long as the line is regarded as an opportunity for some sort of tram extension, or just a long and winding route to the city centre. But as a southern rail route which by-passes Waverley and Haymarket perhaps it does have a future.

Passenger projections depend on understanding post-Covid work patterns, and city population forecasts, but providing a rail link for an expanding South Edinburgh with employment opportunities in Edinburgh Park and around the Gateway station, as well as the rest of Scotland, must be worth examining.

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And because the line already integrates with the main lines, there would be no need to alter track layouts to accommodate tram connections.

Network Rail has not signalled much enthusiasm for re-opening it to passengers, but if they can plan a new station near East Linton, then why not something at Cameron Toll with a far bigger population on the doorstep?

It has been raised before but maybe its time has come. It just needs more imagination than putting on a Homburg and going back to the 50s.

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