The Story of North Berwick Station

Glimmering through the window of a train hurtling north across the Royal Border Bridge, Berwick-upon-Tweed railway station looks like a poor affair. It occupies a proud site, however.

Operating a D class lifeboat from its historic boathouse, it serves a coastline renowned for its beaches and islands. It also hosts Scotland’s Fringe by the Sea festival each August.


The arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century transformed North Berwick. It became a popular tourist destination and a favourite resort for royal families. In the 1890s it was dubbed the ‘Biarritz of the North’, and today it still attracts tourists and commuters.

At its heyday the station had two platforms, a headshunt siding and a large engine shed. It was served by tank engines, mainly North British Railway 4-4-0Ts and 0-4-4Ts but occasionally larger LNER V1/V3 2-6-2Ts for excursion traffic.

Today the single platform is served by ScotRail trains with hourly services to Edinburgh Waverley and on some routes continuing beyond. The branch line is electrified at 25 kV AC overhead.

Station facilities

North Berwick has a lot going for it, from the beautiful beaches to the Scottish Seabird Centre. Dedicated to the island wildlife that lives off its coast, this centre has some incredible live feeds, allowing you to zoom in and out on gannets on Bass Rock and puffins on Craigleith. You can also take a boat tour out to the islands, which is one of the most fun things to do in North Berwick.

The town also has some really cool independent shops, which are great for picking up a souvenir of your trip. I recommend checking out Fidra Fine Art for some stunning local art and the Westgate Galleries, which has a wide selection of gifts and prints.

Hannah is a travel writer who writes for That Adventurer. She has a huge love for travelling and has been on some amazing adventures. From backpacking South America to city breaks in Europe and a 3 month road trip around the USA in a self-converted van, she loves sharing her experiences with others.

Getting to the station

If you’re staying in Edinburgh for a few days, it’s definitely worth taking the train out to North Berwick for a day trip. It’s a cute coastal town with plenty to see and do. You can even camp out and really get a feel for the countryside.

After the line opened, it was initially loss making but the development of North Berwick as a resort and golfing centre made it profitable. In the 1980s, the grand station buildings were demolished and the platform was shortened. This was a necessary move to reduce operating costs but the town was left with a lovely little station.

Be sure to grab a cup of coffee at Steampunk Coffee, a rustic cafe that serves small-batch, single-origin beans. They also offer savoury dishes like sandwiches and toasties, plus they’re vegan-friendly! If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, stop at Buttercup Cafe for ultra-decadent cakes and pastries. Then wander around the charming streets and shops of the town centre.

Information poster

Train passengers at North Berwick will now find a new historical information poster displayed at the back entrance/exit of the single platform station. This has been prepared by station adopters North Berwick in Bloom with written input from local railway enthusiast Stuart Auld who also provided the photographs.

The poster shows a lithograph by London & North Eastern Railway depicting two couples playing golf in 1929. The Firth of Forth, the beach and Bass Rock are shown in the background.

North Berwick is a lively seaside town and home to the Scottish Seabird Centre. The town centre offers a range of restaurants, cafes and quirky independent shops. In addition, the area is renowned for its excellent selection of golf courses, many of which have been designed by the great names in the game. There are also classic fish and chip shops, ice cream parlours and a number of family-run butchers, grocers and bakers. In addition, the town is home to a number of art galleries and studios.

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