Courtesy of Edinburgh Trams

Go walk-about on the roof of Edinburgh Waverly station with Network Rail

Published: 27th September 2013

Tram Stop for Edinburgh? Call to revive the tram network concept

Network Rail (NR) is offering a chance to see behind and over the scenes of the iconic and renovated Edinburgh Waverley Station on September 28 and 29.

They are offering guided tours of the historic station in conjunction with the launch of a new book about the station. There is no charge for the tours which are being led by the book author and historian Dr Ann Glen. The tours are aimed at providing visitors a unique insight into the inner workings of the station and to have a look at the station’s eventful past.

The tours will mirror the content of Dr Glen’s well-researched publication entitled, ‘Edinburgh Waverley: A Novel Railway Station’. This is thought to be the first publication to look solely at the history of Edinburgh Waverley and takes the reader on a journey from the dawn of the station to the major enhancement works carried out over the last three years.

Laid back or laid out?

Edinburgh Waverley is a seemingly curiously designed layout and the book explains why it is so unconventional and why it is between the New and Old Towns in a valley. It also describes the people that defined the station and pioneered the new railways which it served. The station has been continually changing reflecting the varying demands of passengers and industry.

They said

David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: “I’m very pleased that Dr Glen has finally managed to capture the rich history of Waverley in the pages of one book. What fascinates me most is the stories of the individuals who are brought to life – both those have had such a profound influence on the appearance and operation of the station and those who are simply passing through. The stories of courage and sacrifice demonstrated by railway workers in both world wars are also incredibly touching.

“The book content is fascinating and I’m sure it will translate well to the station tours taking place this weekend. I’d like to thank Ann for the huge amount of time she has devoted to the book and the tours and for the contribution she has made to celebrating the role Waverley has played in creating a vibrant capital city,”

How to book a tour

The tours take place at 10am on Saturday 28 September and Sunday 29 September and those interested should email:

The book, Edinburgh Waverley: A Novel Railway Station, is available now from WH Smith in Waverley Station or from Lily publications at:

Tramlines herald new era for transport in Edinburgh

As Edinburgh prepares to clear the city centre of the last of the temporary traffic diversions caused by tram works, a call has been made to continue building the tram route beyond the currently proposed terminus.

Trams were originally planned to be introduced from Newhaven and Ocean Terminal in Leith on the north side of Edinburgh to the city’s airport on the west via Leith Walk, Princes Street and Haymarket in 2011.

But following a long-running dispute over contract details, the project was curtailed last year to a truncated route from York Place near St Andrew Square along Princes Street and through Haymarket to the airport. This is now planned to open in May 2014 although there are hopes that trams can begin carrying passengers earlier than that because test-running is expected in December 2013.

The section serving Leith Walk, Ocean Terminal and Newhaven was dropped from the current plan last year, but now there are those who feel that it ought to be revived to maximise the benefits from the traffic disruption that has already been caused during work on the streets.

Budgets and old railway lines

An option to add tram tracks from Haymarket to Granton, partly over the former Caledonian Railway route to Leith North, was dropped at an earlier stage as it would have taken total costs beyond the £545 million budget. As it is, the revised budget for just York Place to Edinburgh Airport has been quoted at £776 million amid fears it could rise.

Critics suggest that enough is enough, but supporters of the trams such as the Capital Rail Action Group want to see the job through. The tram fleet, the maintenance depot near the Gogar Roundabout and the control room all have enough capacity to serve a more substantial network than the shortened route that is now nearing completion.

They said

Professor Sir Donald MacKay, a former chairman of the development agency Scottish Enterprise, has emerged as a high-profile supporter of extending the trams beyond the current York Place terminal stop.

Setting out his call for a greater network than the route now nearing completion, Sir Donald was careful to stress the need for care to keep costs under control.

“Modern trams have proved highly popular in a number of European cities and have often been extended after initial experience. In Edinburgh, the city authorities may have made a Horlicks of the initial construction phase, but the most difficult and costly part of the initial planned route is near to delivery,” Sir Donald wrote in The Scotsman newspaper on 24 September.

He suggested that Churchill might have asked of the York Place stop, is this “the end” or “the end of the beginning”?

He called for a network to be developed in stages, with the first being the current one between York Place and the airport. Trams would reach Ocean Terminal and Newhaven by 2017. A new route to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary complex could be completed by the end of financial year 2018-19, to be funded by the Scottish Government but only on condition that the work be completed within budget and on time.

Opposition to this will diminish once people gain experience of the first tram route, supporters hope. But the strength of feeling in Edinburgh against trams has been growing during the years of traffic diversions.

The first route will have interchanges with National Rail trains on the west side of Edinburgh at Haymarket station, Edinburgh Park and the Gogar Roundabout. The St Andrew Square stop in the city centre will be a walk from Waverley station but will be convenient for the bus station.

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