Amid all the fuss in the media about day time tram testing in the city centre, there’s also been some speculation on Twitter recently about the prospects of a tram ever making it down Leith Walk.
Of course, it remains official council policy to try to find a way to complete the tram line to the waterfront, but recently, a rumour has surfaced from more than one source, that the council has already done a backroom deal to complete the tram line from York Place to Ocean Terminal.
Writing on Twitter, Gordon Burgess, manager of the The Bed Shop on Leith Walk said that the reason few repairs have been carried out on the street to date is because the council plans to press ahead with extending the tram line down Leith Walk as soon as the line to York Place is completed.
— Gordon Burgess (@GBLeith) February 14, 2014
Meanwhile Scotsman jourmalist and Leither Brian Ferguson said that he’d heard the same rumour.
— Brian Ferguson (@brianjaffa) February 14, 2014
Adding, “I hear it’s a done deal, but won’t be announced until after passenger journeys start. Madhouse.”
— Brian Ferguson (@brianjaffa) February 16, 2014
However, the council was quick to quash the speculation, tweeting in response: “There’s no contract. Our focus is on delivering passenger services in May.”
— Edinburgh Council (@Edinburgh_CC) February 14, 2014
But on the other hand, there was also speculation on Twitter that the trams to Leith would never be completed, due to unforeseen costs. This rumour was attributed to an anonymous Leith businessman, which could of course, cover a multitude of sins.
Leither Davie Miller says he’s been told that a combination of bodged utility works, weaker than expected railway bridges and unforeseen problems with drainage will mean that the costs of building the tram to Leith are prohibitively expensive, despite the work that has already been undertaken.
And lastly, of course, there is also speculation over what will happen when legislation that enables the council to build the tram runs out. Would an SNP dominated parliament ever pass another tram bill? Will the council have to start building the Leith route before the bill runs out to purely to avoid this legal block? Or is this a moot point, now that part of the line has already been completed?
Whatever the answers are to any of these questions local MSP Malcolm Chisholm is also unequivocal about the prospects of a tram appearing in Leith in the near future. He also pitched into the Twitter debate to say: “What is also certain is that there won’t be any extension of the tram any time soon.”
— Malcolm Chisholm Msp (@MalcolmChishol1) February 18, 2014
So who do you trust?
If you believe the officials, it would seem the nearest Leithers will get to seeing trams in the neighbourhood are in these amusing mock-up photos put together this week by Twitter user RetroScot who took a promo photo from the week’s city centre test run and knocked up a few tram driver views from a tram apparently travelling down Leith Walk (which you can see at the top of this post), as well as Great Junction Street (below.)