I worked on the Edinburgh Tram Project for nearly 6 years.
The author of the dismissive article is wrong in a number of aspects.
Leith was already connected to the city centre by a pretty good bus connection. However, transport planners had identified that housing demand outside the city centre was increasing and Leith was identified as one zone that could in part fulfil this objective. Relying on the current bus network as the future was unsustainable and Tram was the best option due to Tram moving three times the number of bus passengers in one vehicle. There were transport bottlenecks within the Leith bus route due to the narrow streetscape of the likes of Constitution Street.
I do not recognize the £700m of Scottish Government funding. I remember at the time of the project’s contract troubles that the Scottish Government Finance Secretary announced £500m and “not a penny more” because the SG failed in a vote to get the scheme cancelled.
Leith is and always was critical to the business case for line 1a. The link to Newhaven was also an intrinsic part because of industrial investment and even more housing growth.
The airport bus has limited stops to and from.
On Sun, Jul 4, 2021, 10:02 AM George Murray wrote:
The project suffered from a lack of proper project management but that is now history. It is a common moan from the anti tram brigade that nobody uses it and does not go where they desire, however the truth is that projected passenger numbers are consistently exceeded and with a seven minute headway always busy. It serves the city centre, sports venues, large shopping malls and a large office zone plus the airport. At peak times the already frequent service is reinforced with trams at crush loading (pre Covid) and this will return to near normal as the emergency abates.
Thus the author sufferers from an extreme case of miss information and probably has never even used the tram service.
The Leith and Newhaven completion of line one will be equally successful I have no doubt.
On 4 Jul 2021, at 08:46, wrote:
It must be said that the author of the comment stings himself in the
tail with his silly closing remark.
To misquote Ingrid Bergman, we’ll always have Nottingham. And
Amsterdam, and Munich, and Lisbon, and Prague, and Zurich, and Vienna,
and Melbourne, and – yes – Paris, none of them deserving to be scorned
as “full scale train sets to play with”.
Disputed Claim by Dave Workman:
Dave Workman says this on facebook:
Dave Andrews  it isn’t being extended – that’s the bit that was
always planned but couldn’t be delivered in the original £1b. The
whole point of the original system was to connect Leith to the city
and the services have already been moved from leith walk as part of
phase 1. The extension (as you call it) is at best a bit of political
face saving as the existing system takes a huge write down on the
£700m loan from the Scottish Gov. The “success” of the system so far
is twofold 1) tourists get into town efficiently from the airport and
2) commuters get to and from town to the park and ride and the Gyle
centre. It’s also fair to point out that the Airport bus service gets
into town faster than the tram. Amazing eh!
For the majority of Embra residents it’s a white elephant as its route
is fixed and goes nowhere near where they want to be. The other thing
to mention is the 6 year of traffic chaos and disruption during the
But don’t let my first hand experience of this fiasco get in the way
of your desire for a full scale train set to play with.