Abandoned Colinton railway tunnel in Edinburgh transformed by mural

By Hope Webb
BBC Scotland


An abandoned railway tunnel in Edinburgh is being transformed by the biggest mural of its kind in Scotland as part of a community project.

The Colinton Tunnel, which was built in the 1800s, formed part of the Balerno branch railway line from Slateford to Balerno until it was closed in 1967.

Since then the tunnel has become rundown and it is poorly lit.

Now a campaign group, the Colinton Tunnel Project, is bringing a new lease of life to the structure.

Muralist Chris Rutterford has been brought in to lead the project and has planned every detail of the 140m (153yds) tunnel.

He has spent hours in the tunnel and has already painted about 60% of it with colourful designs.

Mr Rutterford told The Nine: "It's only a millimetre of paint on this tunnel but it completely changes its story.

"This is the narrative now for Colinton. It is putting this place on the map. "

Robert Louis Stevenson's poem "From a Railway Carriage" is being illustrated on the walls with help from local pupils from Colinton and Bonaly primary school.

Adults with special needs from Camphill community group Tiphereth have also donated their time to help out.

Anna Symington, group leader at Tiphereth, said: "It's gone from somewhere that nobody really wanted to be, it was just the quickest way to get from somewhere to somewhere else, to really being a destination.

"The effect of our work is really there, it's on the walls, and everybody was coming past saying what a brilliant job the guys were doing."

Image caption,
Muralist Chris Rutterford has completed 60% of the tunnel with murals

Project chairman Mike Scott said: "We had a tunnel which was black, badly lit, and actually people were scared to walk through the tunnel. What we wanted to do was create a safer place and it's transformed it.

"It is very much a community project, people have ownership of it.

"You'll see people linger, they're comfortable being here, and they smile. They're fascinated and they just enjoy what they see."

The project, which has been funded from Creative Scotland and crowd funding, is due to be complete by next summer.

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