Newhaven is the only survivor of the five Caledonian Railway Stations
Newhaven was part of North Leith Parish, being situated north of the Water of Leith which divided Leith into north and south parishes. It was once a thriving fishing village and a centre for shipbuilding. King James IV wanted to build a Scottish navy, but the existing port of Leith proved unsuitable for large warships. In 1504 he created “Newhavin” (meaning literally “new harbour”) as a custom-built port, specifically for the construction of the warship Michael (popularly called the “Great Michael”). The ship was built between 1507 and 1511. Between 1572 and 1890, Newhaven was a major port for landing oysters. It also played a role in the whaling industry, recalled in the name “Whale Brae” at the north-most end of Newhaven Road. Newhaven was heavily redeveloped by Edinburgh’s town planners in the 1950s and 1960s by the eminent Scottish modern architect Sir Basil Spence. Newhaven is now part of the vibrant Leith business community and only two miles from the centre of Edinburgh.
In 1879, Newhaven Station was opened along with Craigleith, Murrayfield, Granton Road, and Leith North stations built for passenger traffic between North Leith and the Caley Station, Princes Street. The railway line was the last of the surburban lines to be closed in Edinburgh with the final train leaving the station on the 28th April 1962. Newhaven is the only survivor of the five Caledonian Railway Stations on the Leith branch line.
The station is of timber construction; built over the tracks, and supported by iron columns, with the platforms still there on the sides of the cycle path. The building evokes a feeling of nostalgia and passers-by express their delight in its restoration which began in May 2010 by Richard and Anne Arnot. The building’s appearance has been restored to that of its railway days. Internally, it is to be transformed into a modern office facility.
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