The Powderhall Railway Path Working Group met Leith Central Community Council’s Vice Chair and CEC officials from Active Travel and Housing yesterday.
PRPWG comprises local residents keen to create a useful new East–West footway/cycle route on redundant track between Powderhall and Meadowbank. The meeting was to discuss next steps.
The line is owned by Network Rail, and DB Cargo UK has a contract to operate freight services on it until 2019, even though Powderhall has closed as a waste transfer station.
At yesterday’s meeting, officials agreed to undertake a scoping study. This will examine issues around surveying the route, land ownership, and the DB Cargo contract.
PRPWG hopes to get Network Rail to agree in principle to parting with the line. With such an agreement in place, an approach could then be made to Sustrans for funding a feasibility study.
Progress is slow, and obstacles ahead include: Network Rail’s potential wish to run trains on the Abbeyhill Loop; concerns on all sides not to get lumbered with very expensive repairs to bridges and embankments; unresolved questions about access and ownership along parts of the proposed route and at the far end of St Mark’s Park.
Interested parties will meet again in February, before officials report to the Council’s North East Localities Committee in March.