Wearing thin

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As a past director of maintenance for Network Rail and a long-term critic of the Edinburgh trams, I was very interested in the letter from Councillor Lesley Hinds, (Letters, 17 February), particularly for what it does not say.

Ms Hinds does not dispute that there is extensive wear on the tram tracks in the areas I mentioned – thank God they are using vanadium rails or they would already be digging them up!

She also makes two large assumptions: the first being that rails will last until 2020 (at the current wear rate these rails will need replaced or repaired long before 2020); and the second being that financial provision is being made for any major (or even minor) renewals.

Ms Hinds knows the £85 million maintenance fund was to be accrued from operating surpluses from tram operations. With current user numbers running at about five million passengers a year and her refusal to disclose the level of concessionary fare, Rida­card and airport users, Ms Hinds must know that the tram is very unlikely to make a surplus in its lifetime.

Come on Ms Hinds, if you are so sure that your pet project is financially sound, publish all supporting figures or stop spending money the City of Edinburgh can ill afford on your vanity project.

John RT Carson

Kirkliston Road, South Queensferry, Edinburgh

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