Telfer Subway: Sealed Pedestrian Passageway to Abandoned Dalry Road Station

The Telfer Subway beneath Edinburgh's Western Approach Road was built during the mid 19th century by the Caledonian Railway to allow access to Dalry Road station, now closed. (Image: Urban Ghosts. The Telfer Subway beneath Edinburgh’s Western Approach Road)

For those walking from Dalry to Fountainbridge, in Edinburgh, a popular underpass beneath the Western Approach Road has for decades provided a convenient pedestrian shortcut between Caledonian Crescent and Dundee Street. Many residents of Gorgie-Dalry are familiar with the Telfer Subway, which dates back to the 1840s. But not everyone knows that the brick-lined underpass lies beneath the remnants of a long-abandoned railway station, or that it once gave access – via a now-sealed passageway and steps – to an island platform above.

We’ve featured the remains of Dalry Road station’s Edinburgh-bound platform before, but felt that its sealed access tunnel, which is hidden in plain sight inside the underpass, also deserved a mention. The former entrance to the passageway lies approximately half way along the Telfer Subway, where the Victorian brickwork gives way to a blank wall of concrete (below).

The sealed access passage to disused Dalry Road station's abandoned island platform inside the Telfer Subway underpass in Edinburgh. (Image: Urban Ghosts. Sealed platform access to Dalry Road station inside Telfer Subway)

Meanwhile, up above, there’s no evidence of the access steps on the remains of the ruined island platform (which also once featured a waiting room). Whether or not the station steps live on, cocooned within the forgotten passageway, is unknown. But it’s likely the platform access was infilled before its entrance in the Telfer Subway was blocked off forever.

1945 image showing Dalry Road station's island platform (Image: Google Earth. 1945 image showing Dalry Road station’s island platform)

Dalry Road station was built as part of the Caledonian Railway’s North Leith Branch during the mid 19th century. When the station closed in the 1960s, the Telfer Subway was retained as a useful shortcut between Caledonian Crescent and Dundee Street, and has remained popular with pedestrians ever since.

But in 2015 it was reported that the council was considering closing the Telfer Subway – the scene of several assaults and muggings over the years – in favour of a toucan crossing over the Western Approach Road. The proposal proved unpopular with residents who consider the underpass to be an important part of Dalry and Fountainbridge’s local history. Two years on, the Telfer Subway remains open and is monitored by CCTV.

Contemporary aerial photograph of the site once occupied by Dalry Road station in Edinburgh. (Image: Google Earth. The same scene today. Dalry Road station has long disappeared)

The lost Dalry Road station platform access is one of many rail and tramway relics in Edinburgh that have been sealed off from the public gaze forever. Others include a hidden railway tunnel in Leith, the Scotland Street tunnel’s gated portal at Waverley station, and a subterranean winding room from the Edinburgh Corporation’s original cable-hauled trams. The latter lies frozen in time beneath Haymarket.


About the author: Tom





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