Site Records

Site Name: Scotland Street Tunnel

Scotland Street
OS Grid Ref: (North portal) NT254747

Sub Brit site visit 20th September 2006

[Source: Nick Catford]

The impressive stone built south portal of Scotland Street tunnel is in good condition. It has been bricked up, probably during WW2 with a gate for access, this is securely locked.  There is some evidence of ventilation plant just inside the tunnel portal behind the brickwork.

When the tunnel was visited by members of the Grampian Speleological Group in July 2001, there was about 18" of water just inside the portal but the tunnel was dry when visited by members of Subterranea Britannica in October 2006.

Photo:Looking north along Scotland Street tunnel - all these brick buildings contain toilet cubicles and urinals for the air raid shelter
Photo by Nick Catford

The tunnel is u-shaped in section initially sand stone lined but then brick lined running at an incline all the way to Waverley. There are a number of walls built across the tunnel with a square doorway in the centre, no evidence of wooden doors remain.

The middle section of the tunnel is wet with water running down the walls and long straw stalactites hanging from the roof with further calcium carbonate (flowstone) deposits covering the walls and floor caused by actively running water.

At the southern end of the tunnel, a number of brick buildings survive.  The first buildings encountered along the west side are toilet blocks, presumably male and female which were built when the tunnel was used as an air raid shelter, these include urinals and longs lines of cubicles some still retaining wooden seats with an oval hole under which would have been a chemical toilet (Elsan). On the opposite wall there are two wooden signs indicating 'Warden's Post No. 10' and 'Warden's Post No. 11'.

Beyond the toilet blocks there are a number of larger brick buildings some divided into rooms. These were the offices for the railway control centre. All the buildings have been stripped of any fixtures and fittings although one room still contains a sink. Beyond the buildings are the bases of a number of wooden huts which have been demolished or have rotted away.

Beyond a staggered blast wall the tunnel has been blocked.  This would have been close to the southern portal of the tunnel which was lost during the construction of Waverley Market.Access and ventilation has been maintained through this area along a corrugated

This modern tunnel opposite platform 19 on Edinburgh Waverley station runs beneath Waverley Market through the site of Canal Street station and into Scotland Street tunnel which started to the north of Canal Street station - Photo by Peter Stubbs
iron tube underneath Waverley Market which was built on the site of Canal Street Station. This runs for about 50 yards through a dog leg to a gate in the wall opposite Platform 19 of Waverley Station. Above the gate the inscription 'Site of the original Edinburgh - Leith - Newhaven Railway' can be seen from the platform.

Left - Plan of the southern section of Scotland Street tunnel

The southern portal of the tunnel under Rodney Street at the opposite end of the children’s playground is open but there are railings up to head height to prevent access. A third tunnel on the
Edinburgh - Leith line also exists at under East Trinity Road.


Canal Street station
in 1850

Trinity tunnel

Rodney Street tunnel

North portal of
Scotland Street tunnel

Blocked entrance in
north portal

Straw stalactites in
central section

Toilet blocks for air
raid shelter



Toilet cubicle

Sign on toilet block

Toilet block

LNER Control centre

LNER Control centre

LNER Control centre

LNER Control centre

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last updated: 04 01 2011
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