Telfer Subway faces axe in favour of toucan crossing

The Telfer Subway which links Fountainbridge and Dalry. Picture: Bill Henry

The Telfer Subway which links Fountainbridge and Dalry. Picture: Bill Henry

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A PLAGUED passageway running beneath the busy West Approach Road could be closed off forever under plans to create a new pedestrian walkway and cycle link.

Telfer Subway, which dates from the middle of the 19th century, connects Dalry with Fountainbridge and is seen as part of the area’s history.

But the council is now considering shutting the underpass to make way for a new cycle and walking route between the Roseburn Path and Union Canal – replacing the subway with a toucan crossing.

A consultation is currently ongoing over the proposals and a council spokeswoman said no plans were set in stone.

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But some angry residents have already urged city chiefs to rule out the move – branding it a “step too far”.

Rona Brown, secretary of Gorgie/Dalry Community Council, said residents would have “mixed feelings” about the proposals.

She said: “We know the Telfer Subway is part of the history of Gorgie and Dalry, and I think there probably will be mixed feelings.

“But we have to welcome anything that provides more cycling paths and safer routes. The community council has not really come to any decision yet – we will listen to what local people think.”

Telfer Subway initially provided access to the old Dalry Road station from Dundee Street, but it continued to prove useful after the railway line was replaced by the West Approach Road in the 1970s.

However, the underpass has since become notorious for serious crimes, with CCTV installed last year.

It is understood the desire to create a safer and more direct route for the new path is behind the council’s consultation on closing the subway entirely.

Plans for the Roseburn to Union Canal route also include building new bridges over Dalry Road, the West Approach Road and the railway line between the Roseburn Path and Sauchiebank, as well as improving the facilities at Dalry Community Park.

But in a letter published in today’s Evening News, local resident Sandy Gemmill said the Telfer Subway should be “officially incorporated into the route as an alternative to the proposed toucan crossing”.

He said he was “outraged” when he first discovered the council was considering closing the underpass, adding: “Personally I would not waste the money on a toucan crossing, but to go to the additional expense of actually removing the well-used and much-loved Telfer Subway is a step too far.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We are currently consulting on proposals to deliver a high quality walking and cycling route between Roseburn and the Union Canal.

“Amongst these proposals to improve connectivity and provide safer and more direct access to key destinations is the potential to replace Telfer Subway with a toucan crossing at West Approach Road. However, we want to hear what the public think of all proposals before making any decisions, and would encourage people to take part in our consultation, which closes on January 5.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com