The railway proved to be a double-edged sword for Newhaven being popular with its fishwives as it saved the weary trek up to the city and allowed them to travel further afield to find new customers.
However, the significant development of the railway system on the east coast of Scotland also meant that other fishing villages were able to send their fish directly south to English markets to the detriment of the traditional open-air fishmarket at Newhaven Harbour. This was not reversed until a purpose—built Fishmarket building and an organised wholesale structure was implemented in 1896.
As the amount of passengers using ferry services from Newhaven to Fife, Stirling and even Orkney, Shetland and London increased, better provision for embarkation was required. In 1822, a new chain pier was constructed slightly west of the village which benefited steam powered ferries with deeper drafts. In the late 1830s, a new railway line was proposed to bring passengers to and from Edinburgh to the Chain Pier departure point.
In 1838, a foundation stone was laid for a terminus station beside the chain pier. Construction of the rail line was prolonged and not without incident but in 1842, the Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven line was opened, at first employing horse-drawn carriages but very quickly steam trains were used. Despite the enormous cost of its construction, the railway was financially successful and popular.
When the Duke of Buccleuch developed Granton as a harbour, the line was extended to there. This, however, brought ferry services to Fife from Newhaven Harbour to an end. From Granton, a special train ferry was commissioned, The Leviathan, a world first, that would carry trains over the Forth to Burntisland, Fife. It operated until 1890s when the newly opened Forth Bridge took all the passenger traffic and the line closed.