Edinburgh's tram inquiry report: After £13m and nearly ten years, should Lord Hardie's epic work see him immortalised in bronze? – John McLellan

Historic tram wheels buried underground for nearly 100 years, said the Evening News headline yesterday, and it is a neat idea to put the old cable hauling gear on show next to the new line to Newhaven.
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But it got me thinking, will urban archaeologists be needed to unearth the Hardie tram inquiry report, from which little has been heard in six months? It was apparently reaching a conclusion in November when those likely to be criticised were given the chance to respond, with a deadline of the start of December, but since then nothing.

It’s taken nearly ten years to produce and cost £13m, and while I’ve not been able to discover the cost of Edinburgh’s original cable tram system, according to the Threadinburgh website, its Victorian horse-drawn precursor cost £300,000. So when Lord Hardie’s report eventually appears ─ which I’d wager will be after the Newhaven line opens, on June 21 or whenever ─ perhaps it too could be put on permanent display as a monument to how little can be achieved with limitless public funding.

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The winding gear was unearthed at a site known as the Pilrig Muddle, where Edinburgh’s cable tram interchanged with Leith’s horse-drawn system, and with the whacky cycle lanes on Leith Walk weaving between road and pavement on either side of the new tram line, a bronze Lord Hardie triumphantly holding his report aloft, like Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments, would be a fitting addition. All it would need is the traffic cone.