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British Industrial History

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Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway

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1825 February 16th. Business in Parliament. [1]

Sanctioned in 1826.[2]

The Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway received the royal assent on 26 May 1826 as a horse-drawn tramway to the Scotch gauge, of 4ft 6in, to link various coal mines to the south east of Edinburgh.

The original Act of Parliament authorised £10,125 of joint stock capital, and the main line was opened in part for traffic in July 1831. Further parts were opened in October, with passengers first being carried in July 1832.

Two further Acts were obtained; the first Act on 4 June 1829, raising £8,053, sanctioned the Leith Branch, running from Niddrie to Leith. The second Act, in 1834, raised £54,875, authorising further branches to Fisherrow and Musselburgh; and allowing a certain amount of passenger traffic by horse-drawn railway coaches.

The railway line started life as a horse-drawn, coal carrying, tramway linking a number of collieries to Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth. It initially ran between South Esk and St Leonards; some 8¼ miles in length. It opened on 4 July 1831 and was laid as a double track.

The final St Leonards section included a gravity-operated incline, which passed through a 572 yard (tunnel lit by gas lamps). The incline had a gradient of 1 in 30 and was worked by a stationary steam winding engine.

The branch to Fisherrow Harbour, Musselburgh, on the Firth of Forth, opened in October 1831

The Leith branch was partially opened in March 1835 and fully brought into use in July 1838.

Due to the success of the enterprise, the North British Railway had to pay £113,000 (Pound Sterling) for the line, with the sale being completed in October 1845. It was subsequently converted to standard gauge and reopened in July 1847.

Connections to other Lines

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Friday, Feb 18, 1825
  2. The Engineer 1924/11/21
  • [] Wikipedia