Ed South Sub: Petition to reopen Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway gains thousands of signatures
So far, the petition ‘Reopen stations on the Edinburgh Suburban & Southside Jnct Railway for Trains / TramTrains’ has gained over 3,500 signatures from supporters on change.org in its journey to provide a public cross city route via either train or tram trains across Edinburgh.
The petition claims it aims to provide "a voice for the line's potential users and quantify the support for full feasibility study and business case to be prepared for reopening the stations.”
It adds: “This study would assist in identifying routes for connections to either the Scotrail / National Rail and/or Edinburgh Trams network, maximising the impact of the City Centre Transformation and Net Zero Carbon 2030 objectives.”
The petition organiser ‘Ed SouthSub’ highlights that the current double track route, only open at the moment for freight and the occasional empty passenger services, passes through several shopping, education, healthcare and residential destinations which would be beneficial to the people of Edinburgh.
The news comes after Edinburgh City Council launched a consultation on the draft City Mobility Plan 2030 which rules out reopening stations on the Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway.
The line was opened in 1884, with passenger services withdrawn in 1962, however, it is still maintained by Network Rail Scotland.
The Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway (also known as the Edinburgh Suburban Line) was a railway company that built an east-west railway on the southern margin of Edinburgh primarily to facilitate the operation of heavy goods and mineral traffic across the city.
Although its route was rural at the time, suburban development quickly caught up and the passenger service operated on a circular basis through Edinburgh Waverley.
The petition suggests that the track could be used by TramTrains that join the Edinburgh Trams network from Haymarket providing routes to the Airport or Newhaven to South Edinburgh as well an east/west link across Edinburgh.
Another suggestion is to use Scotrail Trains on the tracks to connect South Edinburgh to the wider National Rail network. The petitions suggests this will reduce congestion on the A720/M8 whilst also providing east/west cross city journeys.
Ed SouthSub writes: “By using either Trains and TramTrains this route could still be used by the infrequent freight services that bypass Waverley Station.
"The TramTrain technology has been proven for decades in Karlsruhe, Germany and is already being used by Network Rail for the Sheffield to Rotherham TramTrain service.
"There is so much potential for joined up journeys that are off-street, reducing congestion, faster and allow more local connections to either the Edinburgh Trams or National Rail network.
"It means for Edinburgh South residents all journeys by rail are extended with bus connections to the city centre and less convenient than using a car."
The petition also suggests that the resurrection of the route would be a great opportunity to act on the Climate Emergency declared by Edinburgh, Scottish and UK governments in 2019.
Edinburgh City Council has been contacted for comment.