The Edinburgh Evening News is reporting that the trams may go out to Dalkeith:
“NEXT stop Dalkeith” is something future tram commuters could be hearing if ambitious plans to extend the controversial travel network out to the Midlothian town are realised.
City officials have revealed they are planning future growth around a tram line extension potentially being built out as far as Dalkeith.
But the ambitious vision – revealed here before the present line to the airport is even finished – has already been labelled “fanciful”.
One Transport Scotland spokesman said that given the current plan has already been severely cut back to just the eight-mile airport to city centre route, it appears to be a case of town hall bosses running before they can walk.
Here’s a map of the proposed tram route past The Inch, the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and Moredun. The dotted blue line is the proposed tram route:
The route goes from the A7 at North Bridge down to the A701 at Craigmillar Park, then past the Cameron Toll shopping center then and south-east along Dalkeith Road (the A7 again) past the Inch, the hospital and Moredun.
These are all existing roads and digging them up is going to take a lot of time and money, and cause a lot of disruption. Especially if they have to do it twice, as they did with Princes Street.
Is this the best way to do it? Maybe not. There is an existing railway line in the area, the South Suburban Line (solid red on the map). This is not currently used for passenger traffic, just of goods. What if this was re-opened for passenger traffic, and a spur was taken off it (the dotted red line) going past the hospital and down to Dalkeith? Along the line, build housing, office space, shopping and leisure facilities.
This would have a number of advantages:
- Using an existing railway would be cheaper than building a new one
- not digging up the roads would also save money, and also minimise disruption
- building high-density housing along the tram route would maximise the number of people living 5 minutes walk from the tram, which means more people would use it
I propose that the council, when considering extensions to the tram, considers using existing railway lines, and also previous railway lines that are now cycle paths, as an alternative to digging up the roads.