Was Orchard Brae tram plan actually designed to bankrupt Edinburgh? – John McLellan

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Even though the interminable tram inquiry has not reported and the Newhaven line ─ apparently a snip at over £70m a mile ─ has yet to welcome its first passenger, it already looks like more trams for Edinburgh is a done deal without a price.

No survey I’ve ever seen indicates the Edinburgh public wants more money spent on trams but encouraged by the Scottish Government’s new-found support in principle, the council seems hell-bent on new lines south to the Bioquarter and north to Granton.

If so, it’s essential the most cost-effective option is taken and, at the recent Edinburgh Tourism Action Group conference, Transport for Edinburgh chief executive George Lowder explained why the next stage after the Newhaven line should be the conversion of the disused railway from Roseburn to Granton, currently a footpath and cycleway. “We have permissions and it would be less expensive than going to the south-east,” he said. “The alignment is relatively straightforward, and the majority is off-road.”

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If the priority is connecting the thousands of homes planned for Granton to the city centre via the Western General and the Craigleith shopping centre, there should be no argument about the most pragmatic and least disruptive option. But it doesn’t mean Edinburgh’s “enthusiastic” transport officers won’t promote the hideously expensive, impractical alternative of turning off Princes Street and crossing the Dean Bridge to go down Orchard Brae.

Whoever came up with that either hates Lothian Buses or is a Russian sleeper trying to bankrupt the city. So it might happen.

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