Edinburgh tram – success or failure?

Above left, simple track supported on sand. – Den Haag

Above right, heavy expensive concrete track – Edinburgh

 

Dear Dave,

Ex Councillor Lesley Hinds is unable to attend, as she is recovering from
a hip replacement. But it was largely her perseverence, backed up by Chief
Executive Sue Bruce, which resulted in the recovery of the Edinburgh Tram
project, even though it is an incomplete line.

I have attached two JPEGs. One shows why Edinburgh track laying was
perhaps so time-consuming, as there was a thick concrete base laid, then
tied sleepers placed on that, and this was then all encased in more
concrete. Life expectancy will not allow me to see how worn track will be
replaced, but meantime siberian iron-ore trains could probably be
supported along Princes Street. The other photo was taken when the LRTA
had its AGM in The Hague, and shows track being worked on while busy tram
traffic is underway. The base is merely compacted sand.

As a user I would say that the even limited Edinburgh line is a great
success. At the west of the city, the Ingliston P&R site is packed beyond
capacity each day, with cars parked on the pavements, over double yellow
lines and on grass verges. These are all cars which do not add to
Edinburgh‘s congestion, pollution or extra potholes. Although I have not
been able to get figures, the air quality must have improved for the west
of Edinburgh. Yet there are still cynics who maintain they never see
anyone on the trams, and they are a complete waste of money. Although we
live near a bus route, we have not used the bus for many months, and
always take a car to Ingliston P&R. The tram is so much more reliable, and
comfortable. The bus just leaps from pothole to pothole. If there is nae a
pothole, they make it with their heavy engine thrust into the tarmac.

A useful feature on the tram platforms is the wheelchair marker, showing
where the sections which have wheelchair and pram accommodation stop. This
all helps with embarking/disembarking. Note also that the dwell time for
Lothian buses is normally counted in minutes as they only have a single
door for passengers to embark and disembark in turn. Trams have multiple
doors, so dwell time is perhaps twenty seconds routinely.

TfE (transport for Edinburgh) offers visitors very inexpensive travel.
With free parking at the P&R sites, there is a £4 ticket available per
person offering unlimited travel on all Lothian buses and the tram for a
day.

The Scottish Government has decided that fossil fuel vehicles will no
longer be on sale after 2032, so the electric tram is surely the solution
for public transport, particularly as already well over 50% of electricity
is renewably generated after the closure of coal and gas generating
stations.

I am sorry at not being able to attend your conference, but I wish the
event well, and hope my views from Edinburgh give you support for Bath.

Kind regards,

Vic