Will Hearts win the UEFA Champions League before there's a tram to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary? – Steve Cardownie

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New tram line to Newhaven appears to have got off to a good start but other extensions may be a while off yet

I have not yet boarded a tram down to Newhaven but I did witness a fair number waiting to get on back from there to the city centre, so it looks like the new line has got off to a good start. As reported in this paper last Thursday, the council will now turn its attention to future development of the line.

A report to the city council transport and environment committee recommends that previous proposals to extend the line beyond the airport and on to Newbridge should be ditched in favour of running a line out past Hermiston instead. No disrespect to Newbridge but that makes perfect sense to me. Bus rapid transit options “could potentially be more suitable for this corridor, implemented quicker and provide a more direct routing to Newbridge”, according to the in-depth report.

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A tram servicing Heriot-Watt University would obviously attract the kind of passenger numbers that would ensure its success, whereas a line to Newbridge wouldn’t. Just as there is a proposed line out to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and into the BioQuarter to capitalise on the potential customer base, so must it apply to any additional line out west. If the rationale behind the introduction of the tram – that is, to reduce private vehicle use – is to be realised, then common sense must prevail when assessing a new line’s potential effectiveness.

Even the current priority of getting a line out to Granton is not expected to be completed until 2035, so I have about as much prospect of getting on a tram to the ERI as I have of seeing Hearts win the European Champions League.

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