Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Undulating along

Posted in Commuter, Great Britain, Infrastructure, Metro by Chairman Pip on 27 August 2013

As is usual this time of year, I have returned from Edinburgh, and I’m pleased to report that it is much less of a mess than it has been the last couple of years, thanks to work on the tram system working its way towards a finish. The wires are strung, and most of the tramway has been laid, with the only section left to do in the city centre being the section between Atholl Place and Shandwick Place. Virtually all of the tramstops have been completed, and I look forward to getting there next year and seeing the thing running…especially given how long it’s been since I’ve seen the city centre not having to suffer disruption of one kind or another.

That being said, I can’t help feel that they might have missed a trick. As you know, thanks to the ever escalating costs, the proposed network has been truncated to a single route between Edinburgh Airport and York Place. This route has direct interchanges with the National Rail network at Edinburgh Gateway (a planned new station on the Fife Circle Line), Edinburgh Park and Haymarket, but not at the city’s main station, Waverley, where the nearest stop will be St Andrew Square – in order to reach the tram stop, a passenger will have to leave the railway station, either via Waverley Steps or Waverley Bridge, across Princes Street and then up South St Andrew Street, which will no doubt be quite difficult if you’re struggling along laden down with luggage. Additionally, the route doesn’t serve the Old Town at all, meaning that tram users wanting to reach the Royal Mile will still need to either cross North Bridge or make their way up The Mound. The thought I had while I was there was whether it would be a good idea to connect these areas together by constructing a loop off the main line along Princes Street onto Waverley Bridge, stopping right outside the railway station (a direct connection you see), before continuing onwards up Market Street to a stop at the top of The Mound (giving [relatively] easy access to the Old Town), and then down The Mound to rejoin the main line at Princes Street and back to the Airport, at a stroke giving access to a significantly more extensive part of the city.

Edinburgh City Centre trams

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