9th April 1847

Princes Street Station’s foundation stone laid

Princes Street Station was a long time coming. On 17 April 1847, the Illustrated London News reported on the laying of the station’s foundation stone “with Masonic honours yesterday week, by the Grand Lodge of Scotland – his Grace the Duke of Atholl, grand master mason, assisted by the other officers of the Grand Lodge – in the presence of the Lord Provost and magistrates of Edinburgh, and the directors of the Caledonian Railway”.

Day-long journeys to London

Once the stone was in place, the contractor addressed the crowd, outlining his vision for passengers to be leaving Edinburgh in the morning and arriving in London in time for the same day’s dinner before the end of the year. However, construction didn’t get underway for a further 13 years, and within 80 years the structure had been demolished. In the interim, trains arriving in Edinburgh on the Caledonian Railway had to offload passengers at a temporary station until the seven-platform building was finally opened in 1893.

Princes Street Station was a casualty of railway nationalisation. When the various competing services were consolidated there was no longer any need for multiple stops in the Scottish capital and, being so close to Waverley Station, Princes Street station was deemed unnecessary. It was demolished, leaving only the hotel that once stood above it – The Caledonian – behind. Plans to do away with Princes Street station had been discussed for years. On 20 March 1953, the Dundee Courier reported on proposals that “include the closing of the Union Canal and Princes Street Station, and plans for a helicopter station in Leith Walk”.



Other events that occured in April

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