Granton Gas Works railways

The Gas Works had a network of standard gauge lines, connected to the main line network just north of the bridge which carried West Granton Road over the railway. (The bridge has been removed and the road widened, and there is a pedestrian subway at this location now.) The main line was part of the Caledonian Railway Granton Branch. Coal deliveries could therefore be taken into the works conveniently, and coke and other products sent away.

In addition to the standard gauge (4’ 8½” gauge) lines, the works also had an internal system of narrow gauge lines (2’ 0” gauge) using steam locomotives. This was quite a standard arrangement at the time for large industrial sites. The narrow gauge railway dealt with the ashes from the production process and with other waste and by-products. The locomotives were low in height and had no cabs, and were therefore able to pass under the gas retorts. This system reportedly closed in 1965.

Standard gauge locomotive No 10 – Click to enlarge

Standard gauge locomotive No 10 (photo courtesy I Brodie)

Standard gauge locomotive
Click image to enlarge

This locomotive was built by Andrew Barclay Sons & Co Ltdexternal linkof Kilmarnock, who built many similar industrial locomotives. It was one of four standard gauge locomotives when the works were nationalised in 1949, and is now on the Strathspey Railwayexternal link but not currently in use.

Narrow gauge locomotive No 5 – Click to enlarge

Narrow gauge locomotive No 5 (photo courtesy I Brodie)

Narrow gauge locomotive
Click image to enlarge

This locomotive was also built by Andrew Barclay, in 1903, and was rebuilt at Granton in 1912. It is now in the museums store at West Granton Road.

Thomas Reynolds and narrow guage locomotive No 9 – Click to enlarge

Thomas Reynolds and narrow guage locomotive No 9 – late 1920s (courtesy M Cooper)

I am grateful to Mike Cooper for sending this picture and allowing the use of it. Copyright remains with him – do not use the image without permission. If you wish permission, or if you have any information about the Home Guard at the Gas Works, please contact me .

During World War II, Mr Reynolds was a Major in the Home Guard based at Granton Gas Works.

The following book contains the upper two photographs, and many other from the Lothians, along with useful information. I am very grateful to the author, Ian Brodie, for permission to use the photographs, which are from his own collection. Stenlake Publishing external link produce a good range of illustrated history books which contain much information of interest.

Title Author Publisher Date ISBN Number
Industrial Locomotives of the Lothians Ian Brodie Stenlake Publishing 2006 9781840333886
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