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Granton Gas Works Station, Edinburgh

Buillt on a private branch line by the Edinburgh & Leith Gas Commissioners to serve their workers in an area of limited public transport.1902- 1942 

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336 West Granton Road, Granton, Edinburgh EH5 1PE

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About Granton Gas Works Station, Edinburgh

Granton Gas Works, designed by Chief Engineer and Manager, Walter Ralph Herring,had its own branch line and an elegant railway station. The gasworks began production of coal gas in 1902.

By the 1890s, the gas works at the Edinburgh Gas Works (New Street), the Leith Gas Works (Baltic Street) and the Portobello Gas Works (Pipe Street, Portobello) were operating at full capacity. The New Street and Portobello sites were hemmed in by other buildings and could not be expanded. At Leith it might have been possible to expand onto an adjacent site, but it was wisely concluded that a new works on a much larger site would allow for future growth.

Large quantities of coal were required for gas production;in the days before efficient road transport,good rail access was essential (by 1926, Granton Gas Works was consuming 200,000 tonnes of coal a year). The existing Edinburgh and Leith works both had rail access, but only from the North British Railway (NBR), and a factor in favour of Granton was access both from the NBR and its rival, the Caledonian Railway (CR). In addition, it was close to the sea so that supplies could be brought by boat to Granton Harbour (see entry) in the event of strikes on the railway. The ELCGC thought of building their own small harbour at Granton, but this did not go ahead.

Following negotiation with the 6th Duke of Buccleuch, a 106¼ acre site at Granton was purchased for £124,000. At the time, the site was not in either Edinburgh or Leith. Subsequent expansion of the city boundaries brought it into Edinburgh in 1900. Edinburgh and Leith subsequently amalgamated in 1920 and the gas undertaking passed to Edinburgh Corporation.

The main entrance was built on West Granton Road, where offices were also constructed. To the north of that were buildings containing the coal store and, adjacent to that, the retort house where the actual gas production took place. To the east of the retort house was the railway station. This building also contained the time office, where the workers were required to pass through turnstiles into and out of the works, as well as lavatories, bathrooms, and lockers for the men to store their outdoor clothing. A footbridge over the railway lines led to the works itself.

The station buildingis now part of the major redevelopment of the Edinburgh waterfront. Built between 1898-1904, with later 20th century alterations, the station has a Category B Listing.It is built in plain Edwardian classical design with Baroque pediment out of red brick with contrasting yellow brick and ashlar sandstone dressings. It has bays divided on all sides by giant yellow brick pilasters with fluted ashlar capitals and slightly projecting red brick pedestals with ashlar coping; red brick entablature above with ashlar architrave and eaves cornice. Yellow brick basket arches to ground floor windows; stone sills throughout. The interior contains a wide flight of stone steps leading down to ground floor from slightly higher entrance. A narrower curved stone staircase adjoins to the north of the present entrance - formerly the route taken by workers at the gasworks between the train that transported them here and the site itself.

September 2022 update
Spectacular restoration is nearly complete for a public opening - see article in Edinburgh Live



The Red Wheel heritage plaque was erected on 25th October  2022 - a formal unveiling ceremony will take place in due course.

October 2022 Update

A detailed article by Nick Deacon appeared in October 2022 edition of Railway Bylines magazine giving the history of the line with historic photographs of the station, locomotives and staff - some of which are reproduced here with our thanks. It is available for download here

11th March 2023 Update

The first phase of the redevelopment was opened.

The Red Wheel plaque was unveiled by NTT Vice President John Cameron CBE who declared Granton to be Britain’s largest private station and Scotland’s 30th Red Wheel, he commented that "too much of my British Railways career had been about closing things so what a pleasure it was to be helping open something - with the prospect of rails returning in the shape of Edinburgh Trams."
His speech followed those of Cllr Cammy Day, Edinburgh City Council Leader (and local member) and Ben Macpherson MSP and the cutting of a tape by one of the artists.

Completion of Granton Station Square marks the first major milestone of Edinburgh Council’s £1.3 billion redevelopment of Granton Waterfront. All locals were invited along to an opening party.
Council leader Cammy Day said “We’ve taken local people with us through every step of this process to reach this first major milestone. Seeing the refurbished Granton Station and iconic clock as well as the new square in all its glory feels very significant for the project."

At the launch event on Saturday 11th March , visitors were able to meet some local crafters, makers and organisations and take part in arts activities on the lawn. There were performances from Edinburgh College students and the Newhaven Community Choir.

The station building will be managed by social enterprise charity Wasps Studios, who work across Edinburgh and Scotland, to provide affordable workspace for artists and the creative industries. Wasps will be taking on the building shortly to start their internal fit out.

When opened the charity will be providing space to support around 40 jobs, as well as helping around 100 people each year with creative business development opportunities. Alongside this they will deliver a heritage programme for local people and railway enthusiasts on the unique history of the location as well as providing exhibition space to showcase local talent.

They’ll also host workshops and a series of outdoor and online events for locals, with the potential to attract thousands of visitors to the area.


Frontage of the station building



Station frontage

John Cameron unveils RW


John Cameron OBE studies photo of the original opening ceremony


July 2023 Update

The forecourt paving and landcaping is now complete - a wonderful example of restoring and repurposing a historic building for a bright future with a useful role in the community.

frontage and forecourt finished

Pavement with rail tracks

interpretation board - opening day photo

red wheel on building

By road: Off West Granton Road north of Edinburgh.

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