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There has been a rail presence in the centre of Edinburgh since the early 1800's. Edinburgh and Glasgow Railways built their original terminal at the haymarket (1842), building it in a classic Georgean style. The main building still remains , altough the original train shed was disasembled in 1982 and removed to the Scotish Railway Preservation Society (Bo-ness re-errection).

In 1846 the line was extended, amidst protests, through Princes Street Gardens between the Old and New towns of Edinburgh, to sit close to the present day Waverley site. During the mid 1800’s there were approxomatly one hundred and fifty competing rail companies, who then merged to become five.

It was one of these five who built the current Waverley site between 1892-1899. The low rise design emphasising the adjacent former North British Hotel which opened in 1902.

The Waverley’s main competition at the time came from the Caledonian Railway. They built their west end Princes Street Station in 1894 again completed in 1899. Their station hotel was then completed in December 1903. At one point a system was used were the steam from the stations trains was re-cycled to heat the hotels' hot water supply. 

In its peak the Caledonian station was handling two hundred and fifty trains a day, but by the 1960’s Bus and Trams as well as Waverley’s continuing competition forced it to close. By the time it was closed in 1965 by British Rail who were now a single national company, it's platforms were being used more as a car park than for waiting for trains. The station itself was eventually demolished but the prestigious hotel still remains. In fact the Caledonian Hotel still remains one of only two five star hotels in Edinburgh.


Information © 1998-04 Firstcity Publications. Design © 2000 Douglas Mutch.