August 2020: An Hour in North Queensferry

I found myself at a loose end one Saturday afternoon and decided to jump on a train to North Queensferry, a mere 15-minute ride from my home station of Haymarket. Those fifteen minutes include a crossing of the Forth Bridge, Edinburgh’s ‘other’ UNESCO World Heritage Site. The station at my destination is just metres away from the north end of the celebrated bridge, and the village itself (population just over 1,000) is the southernmost settlement in Fife.

The famous, red-painted, single-cantilever bridge opened in 1890 and at the time was the longest example of its type in the world. Until the opening of the Forth Road Bridge in 1964 – I clearly remember watching the opening ceremony on live television! – road traffic could either board one of the small car ferries running between Queensferry and North Queensferry, or make a lengthy detour upstream to the Kincardine Bridge.

Following concerns about deterioration of the road bridge in the early years of the current century, together with a history of regular closures due to adverse weather, a project was initiated to build the Queensferry Crossing over the period 2011-2017. Anyone visiting North Queensferry therefore has a backdrop of three spectacular bridges to appreciate, while the abandoned ferry slipway lends a nostalgic touch.