Edinburgh Waverley (Edinburgh)

This guide to taking trains from and to Edinburgh Waverley station focuses on the less obvious aspects of arriving and departing from this station by train.

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The view from Waverley Bridge looking towards the castle over to the left The view from Waverley Bridge looking towards the castle over to the left
The eastern end of the station, the train on the left is at platform 6 and that on the right is at platform 3 The eastern end of the station, the train on the left is at platform 6 and that on the right is at platform 3
The red train is at platform 11, the blue train at platform 6 and the distant train is at 7 The red train is at platform 11, the blue train at platform 6 and the distant train is at 7
The opposite view with platform 10 on  the left, the train in the right distance is at platform 13 The opposite view with platform 10 on the left, the train in the right distance is at platform 13

For a central station Edinburgh Waverley has a beautiful location and it’s also spectacularly convenient for the city centre that it serves.

Central Edinburgh is in effect of city of two halves, its south side is dominated by the rock on which its old town and castle are located, while the Georgian splendour of its new town, on the other side of Princess Street, sits on a plateau to the north.
Edinburgh’s main station is in the valley between these old and new towns; meaning that the majority of the city’s most popular attractions, its castle, the Scottish National Gallery, the Royal Mile, the National Museum of Scotland and Calton Hill are within a 10-15 minute walk from the station.

An intro to navigating the station:

This entrance on Princess Street is at the top of the Waverley Steps This entrance on Princess Street is at the top of the Waverley Steps
These lifts behind the main Princess Street entrance provide step-free access These lifts behind the main Princess Street entrance provide step-free access
The Market Street entrance to Edinburgh Waverley The Market Street entrance to Edinburgh Waverley
The roof of the station looking towards the old town on the other side of the 'valley' The roof of the station looking towards the old town on the other side of the 'valley'

Because Waverley station sits in a valley and is therefore below the level of the surrounding streets, after entering the station you'll need to descend when making your way to the trains.

So conversely when arriving at Edinburgh by train, you need to ascend up to the station exits, by using either stairs, escalators, or elevators, or the sloping walkways, or a combination of these.
Though the re-developments at the station have made this much easier in recent years; there are always alternatives to having to use the stairs, no matter which route you will following in, out, or within the station.

However, the valley location and the history of its construction means that the station has an unusual layout.
The core of the station isn’t at either end of the station, or above the railway lines, instead Edinburgh Waverley’s main concourse is in the centre of the station, with platforms (tracks) on all four sides of it.

So the route you will take through the station, very much depends on which platform (track) your train arrives at, or will be departing from, but the signposting at the station does a good job of making sense of a sprawling space.

What’s also unusual for a station of its size is that Edinburgh Waverley doesn’t have a main entrance or a station forecourt.
Instead its two most popular access points are two comparatively anonymous entrances on the streets on either side of the station, on Princess Street, which is Edinburgh’s main street, and Market Street, which is over by the old town.

Departing by train:

Looking across the main concourse in front of platforms 14 - 17 Looking across the main concourse in front of platforms 14 - 17
The escalators are clearly labelled with specific exits, but they all link the concourse to the same footbridge The escalators are clearly labelled with specific exits, but they all link the concourse to the same footbridge
One of the slopes up to Waverley Bridge with the access to the Waverley Steps on the right One of the slopes up to Waverley Bridge with the access to the Waverley Steps on the right
The beautiful ceiling of Europe's grandest station waiting room The beautiful ceiling of Europe's grandest station waiting room

How you take a train from Edinburgh's main station depends on how long you’ll have before your train will be departing AND which part of the station your train will be leaving from.
Though if you are not familiar with using the station aim to be at Edinburgh Waverly station a minimum of 10 mins before your train is due to depart.
Platforms (tracks) 1, 3, 4, 7, 13 and 18 are all comparatively distant from the main entrances to the station.

Edinburgh Waverley station has an unusual layout, so if you've not taken a train from the station before, taking a look at the station plan is a good idea.
The station doesn't have a clearly defined main entrance and its concourse, which is home to most of the station's facilities, is in the middle of the station and below street level.

Platforms (tracks) 2-7 and 11-19 are all directly accessed off the main concourse, so no matter how you have entered the station, you’ll need to head down to it if your train will be leaving from one of these.
Those platforms (tracks) all have level access from the main concourse, though worth knowing is platforms 3, 4, 7, 13 and 18 are all some distance from it.

You’ll also need to head to concourse, if you want to use the ticket desks instead of the ticket machines.
Or if the specific platform (track) that your train is leaving room has yet to be confirmed, you can head to the main concourse to wait for your train.
It’s where most of the food/drink outlets at the station are and it’s also the location of Europe’s most beautiful station waiting room; the first class lounge can be accessed through the waiting room.

Platforms 1, 8, 9, 10 and 20 aren't linked to the main concourse, so the access to them is provided by the footbridge which spans the station; so you can either use this footbridge as a direct route to them, or use it to access them from the main concourse.
The clearly marked lifts and escalators on the left-hand side of the concourse connect to platforms 1 and 20, while the other clearly marked escalator and lift over to the right, will take you to platforms (tracks) 8 – 10.
When you come out of the waiting room or ticket hall, the escalator and lift leading up and over to platforms 1 and 20 is over to the right, and the escalator that gives access to platforms 8, 9 and 10 will be in front of you.

Also worth knowing is that platforms (tracks) 8 and 9 are split into two; 8E and 9E; and 8W and 9W and trains normally depart from each specific end of these platforms (tracks), E for east and W for west.

From the Princess St entrance:

Looking from mezzanine level, the concourse is on the other side of the circle, the footbridge is on the left Looking from mezzanine level, the concourse is on the other side of the circle, the footbridge is on the left
Looking towards this mezzanine level, the escalators are leading down to the concourse area Looking towards this mezzanine level, the escalators are leading down to the concourse area
Flights of escalators lead down The Waverley Steps. the entrance to The Waverley Mall food court is on the right Flights of escalators lead down The Waverley Steps. the entrance to The Waverley Mall food court is on the right
The elevator access on the mezzanine level. The elevator access on the mezzanine level.

If you use the entrances to the station on Princess St, the most obvious route down into the station is by using a staircase known as The Waverley Steps, which thankfully has now also been equipped with escalators.
Then once you have descended to the bottom of the flight of escalators, you’ll find yourself on a mezzanine level, with the main concourse down ahead of you and over to the right; the main concourse is on the other side of a turning circle, which used to be used by taxis.

From this mezzanine level there are three routes to take to the trains:

(1) If you're train is departing from platforms (tracks) 2-7 and 11- 19 you need to head down another set of escalators (or remain in the elevators), until you are on the same level as the concourse. (Or if you need to buy a ticket, or await a departure in the waiting room, you'll also need to head to the concourse).
When you're at the foot of the stairs or escalators you need to initially walk ahead and then turn to the right.

(2) If your train is departing from platforms 8, 9, or 10, you can cross the station on a footbridge, which has stairs and elevator access to those platforms.

(3) If your train is departing from platforms 1 or 20, you can use the stairs or elevators, which lead directly down from this access area.

Ideally what you want to avoid is descending down to the main concourse and then having to go back up and down from the footbridge, in order to access your train.

Or as an alternative to The Waverley Steps, you can take the elevator from Princess Street which is out of sight behind the entrance to the Waverley Mall.
If your train will be leaving from platforms (tracks) 2-7 and 11- 19, leave the elevator at the bottom, concourse level.
But if your train is departing from platforms (tracks) 1, 8, 9, 10 or 20, exit on to the mezzanine level and be guided from the signage, all of these five platforms can be accessed by using other elevators.

From the Market St entrance

The roof over the stairs at the Market St entrance which lead to the bridge across the station The roof over the stairs at the Market St entrance which lead to the bridge across the station
A lift / elevator to the bridge which gives access to all platforms is inside the Market St entrance A lift / elevator to the bridge which gives access to all platforms is inside the Market St entrance
There are parallel sets of staircases down to platforms 8 and 9, for the e and w ends There are parallel sets of staircases down to platforms 8 and 9, for the e and w ends
There is also a lift / elevator down to platform 8 and 9 (and another goes down to platform 10) There is also a lift / elevator down to platform 8 and 9 (and another goes down to platform 10)
This lift / elevator connects the bridge across the station to the main concourse (platforms 2 to 7 and 11 to 19) This lift / elevator connects the bridge across the station to the main concourse (platforms 2 to 7 and 11 to 19)
On the left of the bridge escalators go down to the main concourse, platforms 1 and 20 are at the far end On the left of the bridge escalators go down to the main concourse, platforms 1 and 20 are at the far end

If you use the entrances to the station on Market Street, you can use the stairs or elevators to access the footbridge which crosses the station.

If your train is departing from platforms (tracks) 8, 9, or 10, you will almost immediately come to the stairs and elevators, which lead down to them.

Further along the footbridge there are stairs and an elevator which lead down to the main concourse, which has access to platforms (tracks) 2-7 and 11- 19, though the most obvious route is to use the escalators, which you will see on the left.
Or if you need to buy a ticket, or await a departure in the waiting room, you'll also need to head to the concourse.

If your train is departing from platforms 1 or 20, you can cross the station on a footbridge, which will lead to a mezzanine area on the far side of the station.
Here you will find stairs and an elevator, which lead down to these platforms.

Ideally what you want to avoid is descending down to the main concourse and then having to go back up and down from the footbridge, in order to access your train. .

From Waverley Bridge:

If you use the entrance to the station on Waverley Bridge, taxis most often drop their passengers here, you can walk down the slopes to the main concourse.

Platforms (tracks) 2-7 and 11-19 all have level access from the main concourse, though platforms 3, 4, 13 and 18 are some distance away.

You will need to use the escalators (and elevators), you'll see over to the left to access platforms 1 and 20, while those, you'll find over to the right will take you to platforms, 8, 9 and 10.

From Calton Road

If you take a taxi or get a lift to Edinburgh Waverley, the station has a designated car drop off area in a quiet side street named Calton Road.
From here steps and a lift /elevator lead down into the east end of the station, by platform 2, and platforms 4 and 5 are also relatively adjacent.
To access all of the other platforms you will need to head along platform 2 to the main concourse, which is some distance away; from there you will need to use the bridge across the station if your train is departing from platforms 1, 8, 9. 10 or 20.

Arriving by train:

On the signs within the station Princess St is exit 1; Waverley Bridge is 2 and Market St is 3 On the signs within the station Princess St is exit 1; Waverley Bridge is 2 and Market St is 3

There are three main pedestrian exits from Edinburgh's main station, which lead up to Princess Street (1); the Waverley Bridge (2) and Market Street(3) ; these numbers are used for each exit on the signs within the station.
So having an idea of which exit will suit you best can be a plus.

The Waverley Bridge exits are the most obvious as they lead directly off from the main concourse, which has an unconventional location in the middle of the station, sloping roadways with pavements (sidewalks) lead up to the road bridge which spans the the station.

Because of the station's unusual layout, it's a good idea to take a look at the Edinburgh Waverley station plan before stepping off your train.
The Market Street and Princess Street exits are at opposite ends of the footbridge which spans the width of the station.
So you need to ascend up to this bridge, using the escalators, lifts (elevators) or stairs, in order to access these exits.
These exits are more popular than that up to The Waverley Bridge, the Princess Street exit is the shortest route to the 'New Town' and the Market Street exit is a short-cut to the 'Old Town'.

Using the Waverley Bridge exit:

The roadway up to the Waverley Bridge on the Princess St side of the concourse

The two parallel sloping roadways, which used to allow taxis to enter and leave the station, lead up from either side of the main concourse on to Waverley Bridge – a road which spans the station.

Use these Waverley Bridge exits if you want to:

  • take the express bus to Edinburgh airport
  • board a sightseeing bus
  • walk directly to the Castle - turn left at the top of the slope
  • or don’t need to take the escalators/elevators up to Princess Street; when you're at the top of the slope on the Waverley Bridge, turn to the right and you'll see Princess Street just ahead.

If your train arrives at platforms (tracks) 2 – 7 these sloping roadways up to the Waverley Bridge exits will be ahead of you when you reach the concourse.
If your train arrives at platforms (tracks) 11 -19, these roadways will be behind you when you step on to the main concourse.

However, if your train arrives at platforms (tracks) 1, 8, 9 or 10 or 20, the better option is to use the Market Street or Princess Street exits

Using the Princess Street exit:

Use these clearly marked escalators to access the exit up to Princess St Use these clearly marked escalators to access the exit up to Princess St
The Waverley Steps (and escalators) that lead up to Princess St from this mezzanine level The Waverley Steps (and escalators) that lead up to Princess St from this mezzanine level
These stairs and escalators go up to the interim mezzanine level These stairs and escalators go up to the interim mezzanine level

At the north end of the footbridge which spans the station, a series of escalators beside a flight of stairs, named The Waverley Steps, lead up to the exit on Princess Street.
Lifts (elevators) are also available.

Use this exit if you are heading to the ‘new’ town, the main shopping district in the city, The Scottish Gallery or want to continue your journey by local bus or tram.

These Waverly Steps can be accessed from a mezzanine level, so the first stage of this route from the main concourse is to use the escalators, which are to the right of the main concourse, on the other side of a turning circle, which used to be used by taxis.

Using the Market Street exit (to the taxi rank):

As the sign says, the taxi rank is a some distance from Waverley station As the sign says, the taxi rank is a some distance from Waverley station

The south end of the footbridge, which crosses the station is connected to a staircase and a lift (elevator) which lead up to Market Street; this exit is close by the middle of the Royal Mile, which runs through the Old Town.

How you ascend up to this footbridge will depend on which platform (track) your train has arrived at (see below), but multiple escalators and elevators are available, you won't have to use the stairs.

The Market Street exit also leads to the TAXI rank, when you exit on to Market Street, the rank is a few minutes walk away down the street to the left.
Fortunately most of Edinburgh's main attractions and quality hotels are within easy walking distance from Waverley Station as there's no getting away from the fact that the taxi rank is an inconvenient location; there is also no shelter from the weather, if you need to queue for a taxi.

Using the Calton Road exit (private car pick up area)

There is also a fourth exit from the station which leads on Calton Road; it is located at the east end of the station beside platform 2.
The Calton Road exit at Edinburgh Waverley

It can be accessed from the main concourse by walking towards platform 2 on the north side of the waiting room and ticket office; it also has relatively easy access from platforms 4 and 5.
So it has a comparatively inconvenient location within the station, but if you will be picked up by someone with a car, then it leads to a designated pick-up point.
If you order an Uber or other taxi service it may want to collect you from here.

Arriving at Platforms 1 and 20:

Walk ahead to towards the front of the train and you will come to a staircase and a lift (elevator) which lead up to the footbridge which spans the station.
This end of the footbridge is adjacent to the exit on to Princess Street; so use the bridge to walk across the station if you want to use the exit to Market Street.
Both the Market St and Princess St exits have elevator access from this footbridge.

From this part of the station, The Waverley Bridge is not a convenient exit, if you want to access the bridge, use the Princess St exit and walk around to the bridge at street level.

Arriving at Platform 2:

Walk to the front of the train, the station buildings, including the left luggage office, will be on your left and you will pass by some retail outlets on the right.

Then ahead of you, on the other side of these buildings, by one of the roadways which come down into the station, is an escalator and lift (elevator).
They are marked ‘use this lift and escalator to access Platform 1, 20 and Princess Street’ – but the bridge it connects to, also gives access to the Market Street exit.

Arriving at Platforms 3 -7:

This escalator to the right leads up to the footbridge, go left on it to access the Princess St exit This escalator to the right leads up to the footbridge, go left on it to access the Princess St exit
You don't have to use this staircase, the escalators which lead to the exits are behind it and over to the right You don't have to use this staircase, the escalators which lead to the exits are behind it and over to the right

The LNER and CrossCountry trains from England USUALLY arrive at these platforms.
Walk ahead to the front of the trains, keeping the buildings in the centre of the station on your right.
Before you reach the main concourse, over to the left you will see a lift (elevator) and over to the right there is a staircase up to the footbridge which you will see above you.
This footbridge leads to both the Market St and Princess St exits

To access the escalator which also leads up to the bridge, walk under this bridge and then turn to the right on to the main concourse - the escalator is by the entrance to the ticket office.
The signs on the escalator will point out that it leads up to Market Street and the taxi rank, but you can ALSO use it to access the Princess Street exit.

Or if you want to exit on the Waverley bridge, you can use either of the roadways which lead up from the centre of the station.

Arriving at Platforms 8 and 9:

Platforms 8 and 9 are separated from the main station, but a footbridge provides a link Platforms 8 and 9 are separated from the main station, but a footbridge provides a link

Some of the LNER trains and most of the Avanti West Coast and Trans Pennine Express trains USUALLY arrive at these platforms, which are located outside the main station building.

In the middle of the platform there are sets of stairs which lead up to the footbridge which spans the station; between the staircases you'll find the lift / elevator
This part of the foot bridge is right by the exit on to Market Street, turn left on Market Street to access the taxi rank; over to the right will be the buses to Edinburgh Airport.

At the other end of this footbridge is the access to the Princess St Exit.

If you want to head to the Waverley Bridge, turn right once you're on Market Street

Arriving at platform 10:

By the front of the train, you will find the stairways and elevator up to the footbridge, turn left for Princess Street and right for Market St.

Arriving at Platforms 11 - 17:

The Scotrail Inter7City trains from Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Perth USUALLY arrive at these platforms

The only exit from these platforms leads to the main concourse; when you reach it, ahead of you over to the right will you see the lifts and escalators marked ‘use this lift escalator to access Platforms 8, 9 and 10 and Market Street and Taxis’.

Over to the left and out of sight, on the other side of the concourse, you will find the escalator marked ‘use this lift and escalator to access Platform 1, 20 and Princess Street’.

When you reach the main concourse, the sloping roadways up to the Waverley Bridge will be behind you.

Arriving at Platforms 18 and 19:

By the exit from these platforms you will see the escalator marked ‘use this lift and escalator to access Platform 1, 20 and Princess Street’.
It will go to an interim mezzanine level, but from here if you turn to the right you can use the footbridge across the station to access the Market Street exit.

Train Services Summary

Train Operating Company:

Destinations:
 

ScotRail

(1) Aberdeen via Leuchars for St Andrews, Dundee, Arbroath and Stonehaven
(2) Inverness via Perth, Pitlochry and Aviemore
(3) Glasgow Queen Street (4 x fast trains per hour)
(4) Dunblane via Stirling
(5) Ayr via Glasgow Central, Paisley, Troon and Prestwick Airport

LNER

(1) London King’s Cross via Newcastle, York and Peterborough
(2) Aberdeen via Leuchars for St Andrews, Dundee, Arbroath and Stonehaven
(3) Inverness via Stirling, Perth, Pitlochry and Aviemore (1 x train per day)
(4) Leeds via Newcastle and York  (1x train per day)

Avanti West Coast

London Euston via Carlisle, Oxenholme Lake District, Lancaster, Preston, Birmingham and Coventry

Trans Pennine Express

(1) Manchester via Carlisle, Penrith North Lakes, Lancaster and Preston
(2) Newcastle via Berwick

CrossCountry

Plymouth via Newcastle, Durham, York, Leeds, Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Bristol, Taunton and Exeter

Caledonian Sleeper

Overnight to London Euston

The majority of the trains between Edinburgh and other destinations in Scotland are provided by ScotRail.
Its train services to Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow Queen Street station*, Inverness and Perth usually depart from platforms (tracks) 12 - 19.
*When travelling to central Glasgow from Edinburgh target ScotRail's services to Glasgow Queen Street station

Some of the departures to Aberdeen via Dundee will be by CrossCountry and LNER trains, which call at Edinburgh on route to and from destinations in England.
One of the daily Edinburgh - Inverness services is also provided by LNER.

LNER is the exclusive provider of train services between Edinburgh and London King's cross station; the fastest route between the two capitals..

LNER and CrossCountry and Trans Pennine Express provide the train services between Edinburgh and Berwick, Darlington, Newcastle and York. and Leeds.

CrossCountry trains also link Edinburgh to Sheffield, Derby, Bristol, Exeter and destinations in south-west England.

Both CrossCountry and Avanti West Coast connect Edinburgh with Birmingham and Coventry, though the trains operated by each company take completely different routes.

Trans Pennine Express services and Avanti West Coast trains both link Edinburgh with Carlisle, the Lake District gateway stations at Penrith and Oxenholme; and with Lancaster and Preston.

Manchester and now Liverpool are directly connected to Edinburgh by Trans Pennine Express services, but when heading to Manchester, the trains via Preston are faster and they also terminate at Manchester Airport.

The other stations in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s central area is served by two stations, Edinburgh is the main station, while Haymarket station, is located at the far west end of the city centre.

If your final destination is in the western end of the city centre and if your train will be calling at Haymarket, it's worth looking up your final destination in the city, to check whether Haymarket will be more convenient; connecting to the Edinburgh tram route is also more easily done at Haymarket in comparison to Waverley station.

All trains between Edinburgh station and destinations to the north call at Haymarket, as do the Trans Pennine Express and Avanti West Coast trains between Edinburgh and north-west England.

Some trains between Edinburgh and destinations to the north also call at Edinburgh Gateway or Edinburgh Park stations.
Both these stations offer a connection with the trams to both Edinburgh Airport and Murrayfield Stadium, so if these are your final destinations, you can avoid travelling via the city centre.
This map shows the local rail routes in the Edinburgh area.

Journeys

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Journeys from Edinburgh Waverley
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Edinburgh to Aberdeen by train
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Edinburgh to London by train
Edinburgh to Manchester by train
Edinburgh to Newcastle by train
Edinburgh to Oxenholme by train
Edinburgh to Penrith by train
Edinburgh to Penzance by train
Edinburgh to Perth by train
Edinburgh to Plymouth by train
Edinburgh to St Andrews by train and bus via Leuchars
Edinburgh to Stirling by train
Edinburgh to York by train
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Glasgow to Edinburgh by train
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