Edinburgh Tunnels

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Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby grantgrant » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:22 am

I've been reading the posts on Glasgow's tunnels with great interest. I'd love to know more about Edinburgh's tunnels. The city seems ideal for lots of hidden secrets.

There are the obvious ones like the old Leith Central tunnel from Waverly to Cannonmills and The Inncocent Railway Tunnel by the Commonwealth Pool. But there must be plenty more relatively unknown ones.

There must be something near the old GPO building by North Bridge (though the geography of Edinburgh - hills may make it a little less usefull than the Glasgow one). I'm also really interested in finding out about the 7 levels under Coopers Bar mentioned in the Nuclear Bunker Forum - http://www.hiddenglasgow.com/forums/vie ... &sk=t&sd=a

Any ideas?
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby onyirtodd » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:39 am

I found this

"Also fun is urban exploration (Edinburgh geeks have a padlock on the
> >tunnel under
> >the New Town from Scotland Street to Waverly Station, Glasgow geeks
> >found another railway tunnel). I don't know if Dundee has anywhere
> >like that.

> What do you mean by "have a padlock on the tunnel under the new town"?
> I tried to find people who were into this a couple of years back but
> there didn't seem to be any interest. It was the same with 2600
> meetings. Again, nobody seemed interested." at

http://mailman.lug.org.uk/pipermail/dun ... 00779.html

A reasonably level tunnel from Scotland Street would end up a very long way below the current concourse level.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby grantgrant » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:48 am

here's an interesting article on the Scotland Street Tunnell

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/site ... ndex.shtml

and the innocent railway tunnel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpTVQ4E4GNo
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Lucky Poet » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:08 am

Coincidentally, a friend asked me the other week if I'd ever heard about tunnels in the area of the east end of the New Town. Reading the thread on the tunnels in Glasgow to do with the GPO and what not, it would make sense for there to have been similar defence/civil control type thing in Edinburgh. When they were ripping out the inside of Edinburgh's old GPO a while back though, the crude way they went about it suggests there are no floors below the ground level at Calton Road - tearing the building's innards down with heavy machinery leaving huge piles of rubble in the middle of the site. Any associated tunnels would have to go north towards Register House. Having said that, the Scottish Office's hideous old pad New St Andrew's House is in that direction; I don't reckon they would have bothered for atomic age bunkers though. Edinburgh would have been too much of a target and the governmental complex is only a short hop away in Fife (there's also a bunker near Kirknewton). I've never even heard rumours of tunnels, though that doesn't conclusively prove there's nothing. I'd be delighted to be proved wrong.

So far as railway tunnels go, the only ones I can think of off the top of my head are Scotland Street, the Innocent, Haymarket, the one through the shoulder of Calton Hill, and one near Balerno/Currie (currently part of a bike path along the Water of Leith). And under the Mound if you count that.

I came across mention of a very old tunnel or cave near the railway one at Calton Hill, but it was a sketchy report from very long ago and there's been no trace found since (I'll try to find the source again though). In the Old Town, there's the likes of Mary King's Close and the vaults at the South Bridge of course, but places like that aren't tunnels so much as areas at original ground level that have been built around. There'll be a few other places like that, but nothing very much more exciting than old basements I would think. Other than that, you're going back into myth. There are ancient stories of a tunnel from the Castle to Holyrood, but this is probably just very old urban myth. There is reliable record of one near Bank Street, an old smugglers' tunnel from the North Loch, but it was obliterated when they built George IV Bridge. It seems a bit crap that a settlement of Edinburgh's age doesn't have much more, but that seems to be about it as far as I know.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby grantgrant » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:26 am

You could be right about going to register house. the geography towards the old town dosn't really lend itself to tunnels (i.e. volcanic rock, the gradient needed to reach the Bank of Scotland HQ on the mound would be too steep etc).

The RBS old HQ is in St. Andrew Sq so it might make sense to have a tunnel connecting Waverly/Register house/RBS and whatever else is in that direction. There already is the scotland st tunnel which goes through St Andrews Sq so it can at least be done.

To the west from GPO is the national galleries and west register house in an almost perfect straight line. Princes St looks ideal to have a tunnel running underneath it (think there might be plans to build a shopping centre underneath it at the moment, as well as opening the old scotland st tunnel for shopping).

Just down from register house is the st james centre/thistle hotel. Just by the bendy bridge near the thistle car park is a lucy box/air vent. The car park at the thistle hotel is not very big and does not go underground as far as i am aware. Might have something to do with the greenside car park etc. I know there are large basements in the picardy place buildings which go under the top of leith walk. Might be a likely place for tunnels.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Lucky Poet » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:25 am

I'd not noticed a possible ventilation shaft at the St James Centre (if you have a camera, photo it!). If it's on the north side of Leith Street I'd think it unlikely to be related to the Greenside car park (just an assumption of course). Certainly, when they were building the St James Centre/New St Andrew's House/Thistle Hotel it would have been the ideal opportunity to construct tunnels. It was one hell of a big development (incidentally, I was chased from the area next to New St Andrew's House today after taking some snaps before they demolish the damned thing).

After I wrote last, I remembered sketchy details from a friend of a friend about at least one basement level beneath Waverley Station, in the form of the kind of vaults uncovered when they built the new Council HQ. It was years ago, but when I see my pal I'll ask him if he remembers any better than me.

Geologically, I saw a report that said the Old Town ridge is mainly clay and shale and glacial debris, the volcanic rock being confined to the castle rock pretty much; the ridge of the first New Town's the same. As you say, the fact that a tunnel goes to Scotland Street speaks for itself; there was a mid 19th century plan to dig a railway tunnel the length of George St too. Tunelling in that area is by no means impossible. The gradients up to the Old Town would be plenty awkward, but I suppose where there's a will there's a way. Even if I'm right about no lower levels in the old GPO, it doesn't necessarily mean there's nothing elsewhere :)

I wish I could be of more help; I also wish I knew a BT manager or suchlike...
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby grantgrant » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:37 am

thanks luck, that has been a help.

i had a little look around yesterday.

the scotland street tunnel is padlocked but the rodney street tunnel (just next to it) is now accessable. I last heard that the council were thinking of opening it to the public as part of the cycle path but could not as it needed re-enforcing. i managed to walk all the way through.

I also managed to take a photo of the 'vent shaft'. I only had my phone camera with me but can't find the cable to connect it to my computer (will have another look later). It is just accross from the first entrance (from Princes St) to Greenside, right at the John Lewis Goods entrance. I'm not exactly sure if it is a ventilation shaft. It seems to have a very thin pipe coming from it but looks too small to be air conditioning.

Regarding the level under waverley. I think this ties in with the levels under coopers bar. As you mentioned, the new council building was built on what was known as the 'waverley vaults'. I'm not sure how many were left but all which were under the car park were removed. Do a google search for 'waverley vaults' and you will see a few interesting pictures and articles. I'm assuming the biohazzard slab under coopers bar was put in at this time. seems a shame as they looked interesting. i've not been to new street since the new building was put up so i'm not sure how much is left. i wonder if they extended completely under waverley station, and if so, does that part still exist?

Found a brief mention somewhere about a possible tunnel from the cowgate to chambers street for discreet moving of dead bodies.

There also seem to be mineshafts under edinburgh airport.

there is also a site called 'edinburgh underground' which has some nice pictures (but not much information) on a few sites.

I don't want to post links as I tried in the past and had my post (and the reply) deleted.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Lucky Poet » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:27 pm

Look what turned up: http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/25 ... ey+tunnel/

Much to my surprise, I must say. It's intriguing that the RCAHMS don't seem to have much idea where it actually ends up.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Glesga_Steve » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:41 am

Lucky Poet wrote:Look what turned up: http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/25 ... ey+tunnel/

Much to my surprise, I must say. It's intriguing that the RCAHMS don't seem to have much idea where it actually ends up.


I don't know much about this tunnel (I'm a drainage man myself) but I know an older guy at work who has been involved in inspections of the water main in it.

He told me a story once of how, when working as part of a 3-man team, he gave one of his slightly more "nervous" colleagues the fright of his life during one of the inspections. He had made his way past a point where there was a bad burst with water spraying so wildly that you couldn't see past that part of the tunnel even with their powerful torches; once past, he stopped just beyond the burst, turned round, switched his torch off and waited for his colleague to come through the spray; when his colleague did so, he turned on his torch, which he was holding upwards below his chin halloween-style, and let off an almighty howl - his colleague quite literally pissed himself in fear and then near throttled him :twisted:
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Lucky Poet » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:53 pm

::): I'm just glad it wasn't me. I find myself wondering where the entrance is. (Not that I'd dare explore a thing like that just for a hoot.) Odd that its destination's unclear too.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Glesga_Steve » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:52 pm

I've no idea where the Crawley Tunnel starts or ends :?

I'm fairly sure the colleague I mentioned in the previous post said that it passed under the Castle grounds though.

I doubt that you'd be able to access the tunnel anyway. Given that there is a strategic (actually, not sure if it is strategic any more) water main in it, I would like to think that any access points are secured to prevent unauthorised persons entering and tampering (or possibly worse!) with the main.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Glesga_Steve » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:06 pm

Just came across a document (on my own employer's website no less :oops:) about the history of Edinburgh's water supply - it refers to the Crawley Tunnel.

Quite interesting (well I thought so at least).

Can be found here.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Josef » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:15 pm

Is the water feed still gravity-based? There was much muttering after a series of pipe bursts in a cold spell a few years back left the parts of the city at the end of the route waterless.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby Glesga_Steve » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:20 pm

My understanding is that the supply for most of Edinburgh is still gravity fed, though I'm on the sewerage side of the business (they keep the clever folk that side :wink:) so am far from an expert on the supply side.

It could be that the properties that lost supply were in low pressure areas and the bursts dropped the pressure too low to maintain supply to these areas.
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Re: Edinburgh Tunnels

Postby toomse » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:45 pm

OS map that shows the route of the tunnel below Edinburgh Castle

Image
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