Tram works: ‘There have been so many false dawns’

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Just when you thought there were no surprises left in the tortuous trams saga, here comes another twist that no-one could have predicted – some good news.

Work is currently around five months ahead of the latest (much-delayed) schedule, according to the independent certifier overseeing progress on the project.

The city’s transport leader, Gordon Mackenzie, says it is now possible that trams will be running on Edinburgh’s streets late next year.

Will that actually happen? That’s anyone’s guess.

But, with all due respect to Councillor Mackenzie, we will believe it when we see it.

There have been so many false dawns and broken promises in this sorry mess that most people now no longer believes any positive trams news.

That is true even when there is concrete evidence of some progress being made, as there is here.

Perhaps this “hell on wheels” is finally being hauled back on track but no-one is about to forget they are already years late.

So what should the council’s ruling Lib Dem/SNP administration be doing right now?

It is easy to understand with an election looming why members will be tempted to shout about any progress from the rooftops.

But is that really going to hold any sway with the Edinburgh public when it goes to the polls?

Given the shambolic history of the project, until someone can stand up and declare that trams will definitely run down Princes Street next month, then no-one is going to be impressed.

Our advice, Gordon & co, is to keep your head down and get on with the job of making sure work is complete as quickly as possible. That way history might treat you a little more generously than it otherwise would.

Much-needed cure

the promise of action over the repeated and serious risks to patient safety at the ERI has to be welcomed.

The catalogue of failings at this flagship hospital – including surgeons being forced to work by torchlight – is nothing short of a scandal.

There is great sympathy for the nurses and doctors who do their best to overcome problems with their building and equipment, but patients ultimately do not care whether it is the fault of the NHS or private contractor Consort. All they want is to know the health service will find a way to ensure they are safe in the hospital.