One question I’d like an answer to after the Edinburgh trams disaster

Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. But every day as I walk up from Waverley Station I see the on-street building site that has tainted that beauty for so many years. The council started tearing the roads up in 2008. They erected signs telling us that the trams would be “taking us to the shops in 2011”.
Edinburgh Trams Disaster

Well here we are in 2012 and there are two more years of construction pain before the trams start running. The tram units themselves wait sadly unloved and without passengers in their little play pen at the Gogarburn Depot.

This has been a vanity project. Nothing more. The route is well served by buses already.

Here are some of the highlights of the Edinburgh Trams disaster:

  • Original plans were for three lines. One serving the airport to the city centre; a second loop down through Leith and back to the city centre through Granton; and a third out to Musselburgh in the east. Only the first line is actually being built.
  • The cost estimate was £498m. The final bill will be just short of £1 billion. And that’s for 1 line not three remember.
  • The trams were to be running by summer 2011. July 2014 is now what we are promised.
  • The tracks on Princes Street have been laid three times necessitating the closure of this famous thoroughfare. The tarmac was already crumbling and dangerous before a single tram had ever run on them.

The green agenda is often used to justify building the trams. I wonder how much extra pollution has been created by the building work, the delays, the re-routing of traffic and the heavy machinery. How long will the trams have to operate in order to pay back this carbon debt?

And when the construction is finally finished and Edinburgh cab drivers will have to find a different topic to talk about, there is one question which I would love to know the answer to.

Given that the tram units themselves will each carry 250 passengers. That’s 78 seated and 172 standing. If you were a passenger arriving at Edinburgh Airport after a long journey, would you choose to stand up for the ride into town, or would you select the guarantee of a seat in one of the superb airport buses, or the privacy of a cab direct to your destination?

Over to you: Are you looking forward to the completion of the Edinburgh Trams? What do you think of the scheme? Would you choose to travel to the airport in a car, a cab, a bus or would you take the tram? Please leave a comment and let me know.

One thought on “One question I’d like an answer to after the Edinburgh trams disaster

  1. Meant to say that photo was taken on a Bank Holiday – hence no workmen. Given how far behind the tram project is I thought they would be working every hour possible.

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