City Secrets: Innocent Railway Tunnel

At the foot of Holyrood Park lies a hidden tunnel, a former railway line turned into walking/cycle path.  The tunnel, called the Innocent Railway, was reputedly named so due to the fact that no workers died during its construction.  Others say the name refers to the fact that the railway was horse-drawn during an era where steam engine trains were very unpopular and thought to be unsafe.  It was the first public railway tunnel in Scotland, possibly in Britain as well, built in 1830 to connect Dalkeith and Edinburgh on the rail line that once stood here.

The entrance to the tunnel is just off Saint Leonard’s lane, behind the Commonwealth Pool and Pollock Halls.  350 yards later, the tunnel emerges below the sharp crags of Holyrood Park and from there it is only a short 15 minute stroll to the village of Duddingston along the wooded, stone wall-lined path.

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Andrew Hayes

Andy is a travel writer who has his own blog 'Sharing Experiences' on

2 thoughts on “City Secrets: Innocent Railway Tunnel”

  1. Wow, I grew up in Edinburgh and never realised this existed. Yet another magical ‘hidden’ place in Edinburgh. I particular like the aqueduct near Slateford Road, it ihas a wonderful view of the castle.

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