Tram/rail link-up

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I recently watched an animated video on the City of Edinburgh Council website depicting an idyllic view of how the Edinburgh trams will sail unobstructed through the city centre as all other traffic remains motionless. This took me back to a recent letter in The Scotsman which highlighted the potential major conflict points as the trams pass from the off–road sections onto the already heavily congested city streets. How can this be an improvement?

My thoughts turned to missed opportunities. Firstly, there has been much discussion in recent years on the question of a two-tier Princes Street with pedestrianised areas to the front of the shops.

Would this not have been the opportunity to have the trams below Princes Street and effectively “off road” and this could have applied from the Haymarket junction through to Leith Street?

Secondly, there is no direct link between the trams and the rail network at Waverley. The above solution could easily have accommodated a direct link via the newly reconstructed access at the Waverley Steps.

These are major opportunities which are now lost. As a long-time supporter of suburban rail travel it appears to me also that the potential for linkage with the existing (but neglected) urban rail network has not been fully explored.

So please, City Council, before you go off and commit vast sums to further tram lines, let’s have an integrated study of Edinburgh’s transport infrastructure needs – some heads need to be banged together to make this work, but surely this is worthwhile to avoid another tram-like catastrophe.

Douglas Johnston