A Greener Leith Exclusive.
Greener Leith has learnt that Edinburgh tram chiefs plan to make a statement “within days,” to announce that they have signed a contract to purchase a batch of “vintage trams” from Geneva. The surprise move is alledged to have been the key to breaking the deadlock between the companies involved in the embattled tram project.
The shock agreement, described as a ‘win-win-win-win’ by a source close to the tram negotiations will allow the city to sell off the brand new trams that had been bought previously, with the money raised to be used to complete the line all the way to Newhaven. Money left over will allow the city to buy and restore a smaller number of “vintage” trams.
The TIE insider who leaked top secret documents from the tram mediation talks to Greener Leith, said: “All those modern trams we bought from CAF cost a lot of money and Transport for London made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. By selling them on, we can raise enough cash to complete tramline 1A all the way to Western Harbour. The feeling is that there may even be a chance we could get it done in time for the Commonwealth Games.”
Commenting on the vintage trams that TIE plan to run instead of the new ones, he added:
“They may not look much now, but when we’ve restored them to their former glory, and painted them up with the Edinburgh Trams livery, they will look magnificent. The journey times will take a little longer, but as Edinburgh is renowned for its unique heritage already we are sure that travellers will soon come to feel as though these beautiful old trams had always been running in the city.”
However, not everyone we spoke to about these revelations were convinced by the latest twist to the Tram saga. One Lothian politician who has been an outspoken critic of the tram project said the plan was a “disgrace,” adding:
“Who in their right mind believes that these old rust buckets are appropriate for the capital city of modern Scotland? I voted against this project at the outset, and I’ve done my best to derail the project ever since but somehow it carries on like a runaway train.
“Only a unionist politician would support selling Scotland’s world-leading modern trams to London at a time of economic crisis, only to replace them with vehicles that look like soviet era cast offs from a failed communist satellite state.”
But Greener Leith understands that the advocates of the vintage tram plan claim that the older vehicles are also more flexible. We have learnt that a new renewable energy company on the docks has been asked to consider using the trams to haul green ‘biomass’ fuel from the airport to the docks, where the power plant could be built. A source in the company said:
“The original business plan for the tram was based on loads of new houses being built on the docks, but let’s face it, there’s no chance of anyone moving to the docks once we’ve built that massive power station! So we thought that there could be an opportunity to use all those empty trams to Leith to haul biomass in from the airport.”
“We’ve encountered so much opposition to our plan to bring in fuel supplies by boat, we wanted to show that we’d listened to the concerns of the public and taken action to address them. Transporting biomass by recycled tram is about as environmentally friendly as you can get.”
“For all the tourists who come to take part in the Commonwealth Games, the image of recycled trams taking sustainably sourced timber from the airport, right though the middle of the city, could be a powerful symbol of Scotlands unwavering commitment to tackling climate change.”