Kevin Buckle: Edinburgh’s lost railway could be restored

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A renewed call to look at reviving the Edinburgh Suburban & Southside Railway (ESSR) that used to circle the city, but hasn’t been in use since 1962, proved very popular on my social media this week.

It is something I’ve always known about and in fact on several occasions many years ago when there was a problem on the way returning to Edinburgh from Liverpool my train was diverted on to the line but I’d never considered why it was no longer in use.

The Edinburgh Suburban line was axed in the 1960s.

The Edinburgh Suburban line was axed in the 1960s.

The conversation had been started by Pete MacLeod, who tweets as @petemacleod84, and he makes many excellent arguments for its return. Unlike most lines abandoned in the Sixties it is still in place and used for freight transportation and the occasional passenger train diversion so its return is not the huge task you might think.

READ MORE: South Suburban rail line could carry passengers by 2021: MSP

The cost would be a tiny fraction of what was eventually spent on the trams though one plus from all the tram works is that one of the biggest issues – the fact that running more trains through Waverley would be a challenge to put it mildly – can be solved by the use of tram-trains connecting at Haymarket and travelling along Princes Street.

With the new city centre transformation plan due next May, the ESSR will no doubt be mentioned again and hopefully all the advantages and costs will be looked at more closely.

READ MORE: Tram-trains for Edinburgh South Suburban line backed by rail chief