Railways and Addiewell

How railways developed in the Addiewell area, yesterday and today

Photo:Steam train at Addiewell Station, 1910s (?)

Steam train at Addiewell Station, 1910s (?)

John Kelly. All rights reserved. S1. 245.

Photo:Addiewell Station, pre-1960s

Addiewell Station, pre-1960s

John Kelly. All rights reserved. S1. 50.

Addiewell Railway Station

Addiewell had a long wait for a station.  The new Caledonian line passed close by the village in 1869, and an Addiewell loop line led off it to serve the oil work and various surrounding mines.

However, passengers had to wait until July 1882 before a station opened just south of the village.  In the earliest days, trains via Addiewell went, not to Edinburgh Waverley, but to the terminus at Lothian Road.  Later this was moved to Princes Street.  The Caledonian hotel at the foot of Lothian Road survives, but the station behind it has long gone.

Read more about the railways around Addiewell in the article attached below.

Addiewell Station was lucky to survive Dr Beeching's cuts in the 1960s.  It lost it staffing however, the original waiting rooms and ticket office were replaced by  a 'bus shelter'!

Will the presence of a railway station at the village lead to lots of private housebuilding in Addiewelll, as has happened in the communities along the Bathgate-Edinburgh and Bathgate-Airdrie routes?  Is the train service good enough to attract commuters?  We'll have to wait and see. 

Attached at the foot of this page is a detailed article on Addiewell and its station and how it has fitted into the development of railway services in Central Scotland.   We're very grateful to Roy Calderwood of Edinburgh who researched and wrote it for this website.


Railways and Addiewell
Railways and Addiewell (151k)

This page was added by Sybil Cavanagh on 29/05/2012.
Comments about this page

Addiewell was a lovely station, with a station building where you bought your tickets. It used to win competitions for best-kept station. John Kelly was the station master there for a number of years.

By Billy Kane
On 23/06/2012

I remember being taken down to the station to see the queen's train coming through and to wave to her as she passed, all we saw was the royal crest but no queen she did not even look out, this must have been in the 1950s I think, all us kids early waiting and waving for nothing !

By Catherine Alleyne
On 07/09/2012

I remember the Queen passing by on the train Catherine. All us kids standing on the ashie path like a load of numpties waving our wee flags and we never even got a look! Do you remember the co-op trips to Burnt Island on the train from Addiewell? I remember these well- going over the Forth Bridge and throwing pennies out the window (I don't think one penny ever hit the water). Then getting off the train at Burnt Island and getting our wee goodie bags from the co-op van; I think there was a wee bottle of milk, a bag of Golden Wonder crisps, a cake and a sausage roll. Then down to the beach- didn't matter if it was raining or not, everybody went in the water, mammys and all. Father sitting on a deck chair with his trousers rolled up, collar and tie on, fag in the mouth and two pair of gallasies on because he said he was cold (I could never figure that one out). Then it was down to the shows- codonas I think. I never won a gold fish to this day!

By Tommy Woods
On 23/10/2012

I think the whole of the place lined up to see the Queen and all we saw were drawn blinds. I do still have the coronation mug we were given at school. It's in the back of a cupboard somewhere.

By Margaret foster
On 24/10/2012

I remember the co-op trips to Burnt Island. When the train got near the Forth Bridge everybody started telling the children to look out the windows. I remember the water was always freezing but we had to get in whether we wanted to or not. It seemed like a long way away but is really not that far from Addiewell, we just didn't know that when we were young.

By Anne Cassidy Hamilton
On 25/10/2012

A snippit about Addiewell station. From the Trove, Australia's digitised newspaper site. Cite-http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66552377. Appeared in 'The Advocate' in Tasmania September 21st 1921. Recently a Scot talked, without a moments pause, mainly to monologue, from Edinburgh; to Glasgow (96 minutes was the actual time)-and he was not very much the better of drink, writes the "Morning Post." He addressed himself to a young engineer and his girl, who listened patiently, on the whole. 'We came to to a' station named Addiewell, which inspired him »thus: "Addiewell.' Du yo ken wha goat the station made at Addiewell? It was Sandy Paterson, him that had the brickworks- No Bobbie Paterson, the coal maister. Sandy,'no' Bobbie, ye understand." "But I don't know any thing about the district," said the young engineer. "Am I no' jist telling you about it, mon. Man I kin tell ye about ony place in Scotland," or London, if ye, like. Do ye ken Aldershot?" (Fifteen minutes of Aldershot).

So, what do we know about Sandy and Bobbie Paterson?

By Margaret Foster
On 26/10/2012

My dad, Cecil Murray, was the Station Master at Addiewell from 1956 until the Beeching cuts.We stayed in the Station House nearby.I think just about every station on that line had a Station Master in those days.

By John Murray
On 28/10/2012

Remember Addiewell St well - picked the papers from the train after school and took them back to Kate Carols wee shop at the bottom of Livingston S. My pay was a pok o sweets out the jars in the shop, by the way it was 1 pok o sweets a week great memoriors

By wgillies
On 13/04/2016

In the late 1940's I was friendly with the stationmasters son,Jim Plenderleith. Used to go up to the  house there beside the station. They had a big backyard with apple trees. There was a footbridge adjoining the main rail bridge where we could run across to the station when we knew the express to Edinburgh was coming down the hill. What a blast as the train went by. On the other side of the station, the south side, there was a derelict building known as the "old water works". This roofless ruin had what looked like a small swimming pool in the centre filled with old masonry and water. The water was stagnant and full of pond life. We never quite found a use for it other than as a hide-a-way. Close by was an old mine shaft entrance about six feet in diameter. At ground level! Covered with a rusty piece of corrugated tin. Even we knew this was dangerous. Used to drop stones down there and wait for the splash. A long way down!

By Dave Toynbee
On 18/01/2024

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