Leader: ‘Politicans right to keep quiet on date’

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Will they or won’t they? The speculation that Edinburgh’s trams could be up and running by Christmas has been growing for months.

What is clear is that progress in recent months has been better than project bosses had dared to hope. Things may be happening quicker than expected in these final stages, but history tells us that only a fool would count their chickens before they have hatched when it comes to Edinburgh’s trams.

A pre-Christmas launch would be a fantastic boost for the city ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Imagine Hogmanay revellers arriving in the Capital to be greeted by a sleek modern tram ready to take them into the city centre.

That would not only vastly improve the visitor experience for tourists coming into the city, but would help clear the crowds far quicker after the celebrations are over, easing congestion in the city centre.

City leaders remain determined to steer clear of any suggestion of a start date earlier than that currently planned for the middle of next year.

That is wise, not only because of the risk that so many things could still go wrong over the next five months, knocking any chance of a pre-Christmas launch on the head.

It is also good politics. Any credit which the current administration can gain from putting the trams back on track – and they do deserve some if they continue to oversee such smooth progress over the coming months – would be completely lost if they were to name another date which they could not stick to.

Until all the various tests have been completed and the safety certificate for the trams has been signed, sealed and delivered, we will have to wait and hope. In the meantime, our politicians are doing exactly the right thing, keeping their heads down and getting on with the job in hand.