Click to watch the video.
Edinburgh Trams, two words able to create eye rolls in locals, despair in politicians, but smiles on tourists and enthusiasts. A quick google search will bring up lots of information on the saga of the project, massive cost overruns, huge delays, bitter arguments and political intrigue. The sort of stuff that gets more than just a footnote in a history book, and that’s not even taking into account the feelings of the locals who endured years of disruption to their lives.
So cards on the table, I love trams, probably a predisposition that goes back to childhood rides along the seafront in Blackpool on family holidays. I really don’t know exactly what it is, but they bring a smile to my face so I knew I wanted to film the Edinburgh trams when we visited recently. All that said I know that whenever I visit Scotlands beautiful capital city, I look forward to those big long white vehicles, snaking their way through the traffic and people. The ‘ding’ of their bells turns my head, not to see if I need to get out of the way but to watch one go past.
Edinburgh isn’t the only city to go back on its decision to rip up the tram rails and start laying new ones. Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and others have reinstated the tram. So will we be seeing more cities bringing them back? Given the trauma suffered by Edinburgh I suspect most will think long and hard about it, but personally, I’d love to see it. Of course, I just get to enjoy the end result and wouldn’t have to live through the trauma of bringing the project to fruition.
If you’re interested here are a few statistics.
- Only one line was completed (at a reduced length than originally planned) at 8.7 miles (14km) long which runs from Edinburgh Airport to York Place.
- The complete route takes about 40 minutes.
- Construction started in June 2008 with the service opening on 31st May 2014.
- The initial budget was £375 million but the final cost was £776 million. (Some sources quote an addition £200 million on to of that caused by interest on loans to keep the project going).
- The original trams ran between 1871 and 1956 covering a much larger area than the new system.
- The proposal in 2001 included 3 lines, only part of one of these has been built.
- A minority SNP Scottish Government tried to cancel the project in 2007 but was outvoted by the other parties.