City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Transport Blog

actionman writes on 2 August 2011, 12.56pm:

It scarcely seems possible that at a time when the Edinburgh tram project is under such scrutiny for its profligate spending, that news emerges that the Council, and what remains of Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (tie), that discredited and incompetent arm's length agency for the Council, have splurged some £38 million on buying rail line for the Newhaven section of the scheme which has been cut from the initial programme - indeed there is doubt whether the tram can get even as far as Haymarket with the money left.

Is this just another attempt by the incompetent LibDem leadership in the Council to be able to say, "oh we have spent so much money so far that we have to go on" ?    But this action smack of much more than simple incompetence; it is like a dying animal lashing out in the last stages of death and blindly doing anything to avoid being cornered. In this state we must ask if those responsible for...

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actionman writes on 22 July 2011, 11.01pm:

So far Edinburgh City Council has only put up some £27 million for the ill-fated trams project as all the rest of the money raised thus far - £500 million - is coming from the Scottish Government, that we have all contributed as tax payers.

But let us focus on the commitment that the LibDem minority in the City Council wants to impose on all the Council Tax payers in Edinburgh.

They tell us that to get the tram to St Andrew Square will cost (they think) £770 million, bringing Edinburgh's contribution to £270 million - ten times the current level of exposure!   This is the money they will have to raise themselves and for which we, as citizens of Edinburgh, will be saddled with for the next thirty years or so.

Is it really sensible to expose the City to such a huge borrowing commitment when we are in the middle of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s?

But what is...

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Pedestrian Signal on Queen Street, Edinburgh

edg writes on 16 July 2011, 4.23pm:

In spite of its hills, Edinburgh's compact size lends itself nicely to the pedestrian. Anyone of moderate fitness can walk from one place to another quite easily within Edinburgh's New Town and Old Town and a little more energetic stretch of the legs will transport you beyond the centre to outlying Edinburgh areas such as Leith, Murrayfield, Stockbridge, and Newington.

If you are a tourist, walking is a great way to see the city, particularly the Old Town.

Yet, pedestrianism gets a bad rap. The very word "pedestrian" has long been a byword for uninspiring or commonplace. Some enraged road-users have...

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actionman writes on 12 July 2011, 1.13pm:

John Carson, who has long been opposed to the way that the Edinburgh trams project has been managed and run by Edinburgh City Council and Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (tie) is standing as an independent candidate in the Council election for the vacant City Centre ward seat.

He is standing on a platform of 'Stop the trams and protect our services' which is bound to have wide appeal to all those who have been so utterly disgusted at the way that the Council and tie have bungled this project.  

One suspects that the last straw for John Carson must have been  the minority decision in the City Council, by the LibDems, to push ahead with the project and to take it to St Andrew Square, so committing the City to borrowing over £200 million in order to finance this decision.  And to make it worse, the Council have absolutely no guarantee of the...

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Edinburgh Tram on Princes Street

edg writes on 2 July 2011, 4.42pm:

The end of the road is still some way off, but after several hours of debate late into the evening on Thursday, at 11.15pm the Edinburgh Trams turned a corner. The Liberal Democrat dominated Edinburgh City Council voted to continue building the Edinburgh tramline into Edinburgh City Centre.

It was as expected: the council chose to continue with the tram from Edinburgh Airport to St Andrew Square, the one of the three options recommended by council staff in its report to councillors last week (read report).

On paper, it seems the best of three evils. The trams project is running massively over budget – even completing this truncated version of the...

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Tram Works Shandwick Place

actionman writes on 29 June 2011, 8.21am:

With the crucial Council meeting tomorrow (Thursday 30th June) on Edinburgh's Trams the members of the Council are still in the utterly ridiculous situation where they are being denied the facts on which to make a decision concerning what is probably the most complex engineering project in the United Kingdom at this time. Unless they sign a confidentiality agreement they are barred from seeing the figures behind the recommendations - and these figures are so distorted that they have provoked an outcry right across the city.

Furthermore the Council Environment Department has refused to divulge the figures for pollution for the last six months when they were releasing them previously. One must ask, "what do they have to hide?" 

The figures obviously cannot support the case for the diversion of traffic from the main roads to residential...

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St. Andrew Square Gardens

edg writes on 24 June 2011, 7.54pm:

With Edinburgh City Council's crunch vote on the future of the trams due on Thursday 30th June we should at least agree on the name of the destination. Of the three options, the one recommended by the authors of the Edinburgh Tram Project report, is to build the tram into the City Centre.

The report also offers another three options for the actual name of the destination:

Option 1: "St Andrew Square" (the official name of the New Town's famous Georgian square)

Option 2: "St Andrew's Square"

Option 3: "St Andrews Square"

Option 2 and Option 3 are included in the tram business case audit by Atkins, the engineering and design consultancy. The firm's figures have also been questioned, but...

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Tram displayed on Princes Street

edg writes on 23 June 2011, 8.53pm:

Following the outcry over the anticipated cost overruns for the crisis hit Edinburgh trams project, Alex Salmond today in first minister's question time called a public inquiry into the project "an excellent thing to do". Salmond and the SNP did not support the trams from the start, and have kept their distance from the project and its ongoing woes, saying it should be dealt with by Edinburgh City Council.

The latest trams report, officially published today, leaked yesterday, looks at the various options for resolving the troubled project. Edinburgh City Council deliberates on 30th June what its next move will be. The report acknowledges £461m has already been spent on the project and the eventual cost of just scrapping the trams could be as much as £740 million.

An issue that has been eclipsed by the massive cost and time overruns is...

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Tram works on Princes Street (June 2009)

edg writes on 22 June 2011, 10.47pm:

Edinburgh City Council is due to meet on 30th June to decide on what direction to continue with the Edinburgh trams project. A draft of the report that will be presented to councillors at the meeting has been leaked (see STV news report).

As our posters to the Edinburgh transport blog have said all along - the report lays out how a radically downsized version of the original trams project would still need a massive injection of cash.

Around £200 million more to be precise if the Council votes just to scrap the scheme.

The original trams project, which was due to be running by now from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven was budgeted at £540 million.

The costs associated with each option are:

  1. £690-£740 million: Cancellation of the Edinburgh...
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actionman writes on 18 June 2011, 12.08am:

The latest Edinburgh City Council press release claims that the Council "have balanced their books again".   This is encouraging news and great credit must go to Sue Bruce, the new Chief Executive of the City Council, as they had to cope with trying to find some £90 million savings. So while this statement is welcomed, there is scarcely a mention of the disaster area which is the Edinburgh trams project, except under figures heavily disguised under 'tie' (Transport Initiatives Edinburgh).  

We are told that "Tram Infrastructure Contracts" amount to £109 million, but no completion date is given - understandable in the present situation, but worrying nevertheless.

We also have it on fairly good authority that the Council will need another £200 million to get the line to St Andrew Square...

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