Edinburgh’s most historic street is set to get an exciting facelift next year, as plans are unveiled to build a funicular railway on the High Street.
The Royal Mile is studded with historical gems, from Holyrood Palace & the Parliament at the bottom, to the grandeur of Edinburgh Castle at the top. However, city planners have listened to the one major complaint from tourists and residents alike: that the steep climb from one end to the other can be exhausting, particularly in hot weather.
“We’ve wished the High Street had been built on the level for years,” says Royal Mile Association premier, Avril McCoy. “I know shops and businesses on the street will welcome this move, as – once it’s completed – it will bring more visitors to the area, as well as being an attraction in its own right.”
The plans involve the installation of a small single track railway line, running the length of the Mile. Parts of the cobbled streets will be replaced by a more modern surface, allowing the cable-powered train – said to be able to seat at least 30 people – to move more smoothly along the track’s length.
Work is expected to commence in early August and is estimated to take around a year to complete.
“We realise the High Street can be very busy around that time,” says McCoy. “But we only have a short window of opportunity to complete this work, due to resource and funding being shared with the trams initiative.”
Detail of the plans, including a working model of the railway, can be viewed at the City Chambers from today.