Jan 152019
Photograph of Granton Harbour and a pier, showing the original hub of the harbour

The location of the original hub of Granton Harbour

Lochinvar Drive, Edinburgh, EH5 1HF

In 1849, the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway Company commissioned the famous Victorian engineer Sir Thomas Bouch (1822 – 1880) to design and build a ferry service at Granton. Whatever the tide level, this service would be able to load and unload railway carriages and freight wagons between Granton and Burntisland across in Fife. To accomplish this, a specifically-designed vessel, the Leviathan – the first of its kind in the world – was needed. The ship, built on the Clyde, had two engines, mounted port and starboard over the paddles, so the main deck had maximum stowage for the railway carriage cargo. By October 1879, a new steam powdered passengers ship, the William Muir, was brought into operation. The Leviathan service ended in 1890 when the Forth Railway Bridge opened, but the “Willie Muir” went on for another 47 years and it is estimated she carried over three-quarters of a million passengers. After WWII,  four more ferries were brought into operation, including the Bonnie Prince Charlie which could carry 30 cars and passengers and even had a coffee lounge and cocktail bar.

Black and white photograph of train ferries to load and unload railway carriages

Train ferries accessing the ferry slip

Sepia photograph of the old paddle steamer "William Muir" loading horses at Granton

The old paddle steamer “William Muir” loading horses at Granton

Black and white sketch of Sir Thomas Bouch, who designed the first train ferries

Sir Thomas Bouch (25 February 1822 – 30 October 1880) He introduced the first roll-on roll-off train ferries in the world.