This Point in Time
New for 2018 is basically part of the ELR proposal for an off road network again using operational lines, redundant lines and some new ones and initially using existing diesel multiple units on a three route “Edinburgh Overground” which would form an inner orbital network. You can find more details of this latest proposal on the Home Page under “Potential 1st Phase of Proposed Network (2018)”, “Details of 1st Phase Edinburgh Overground Station Sites (May 2018) and “Management of Edinburgh Overground and Quick Facts (2018)”,
That part of the tram proposal from York Place to Edinburgh Airport has been operating since 31st of May 2014 and that part of the Waverley Line (Borders Railway) from Edinburgh to Tweedbank had re-opened on 6th September 2015. The Edinburgh Airport Rail Link (EARL) was cancelled in September 2007 even although it had received Royal Assent and subsequently so was the Dalmeny Curve proposal. For various reasons, it was felt that the best way forward was to construct a new station at Gogar on the Edinburgh to Fife line (The Edinburgh International Gateway Station) with a direct link to the nearby Edinburgh trams line. This station opened on 11 December 2016, While there seems to be a lot of support for re-opening the Edinburgh South Suburban Railway (ESSR), with Reports published and even a fairly recent Parliamentary Debate looking at the possibility of at least carrying out another review of options, no further discussions or the commissioning of any new reports have taken place. Obviously any further work on this would conveniently tie in with and benefit the ELR proposals. The decision eventually to approve a “Caltongate” development in January 2014 and the commencement of work removes this site from any potential ELR transport development linked to Waverley. These intervening years have been an opportunity to look in more detail at the ELR solution as a means to reduce car use and congestion in and around the city to a more acceptable level before the inevitable gridlock situations arise more frequently. This self-reliant practically off-road light rail option not requiring any other proposals to make it function, other than the use of some existing operational heavy rail lines still looks to have great potential for tackling congestion, as apart from a tram line extension from York Place to Newhaven (which will not in any way address the overall transport issues we currently have to live with), there appears to be no other plans to try and address this apart from this ELR proposal.
“Joined Up transport in Edinburgh (JUTIE) – A Blueprint for the Future” remains an achievable target for the ELR proposal. Any new virtually off-road light rail transport proposal being promoted in Edinburgh today has to offer something different, even if the intention is for the most part to utilise old railway formations as well as existing operational heavy rail lines, including the Edinburgh South Suburban Railway (ESSR).
The paramount aim remains to create a practical yet innovative network fit for purpose and at the same time re-establishing many of the old suburban routes including the link between North and South Edinburgh, using Slateford as a turnaround station, rather than Princess Street as before. Another mainly new link, which could extend Edinburgh Cross-Rail would run from Newcraighall via Millerhill, Danderhall and ERI to Peffermill, where it would join the ESSR. The sole purpose of which is to provide a network of routes and interchanges across Edinburgh, its environs and beyond, to meet the expectations of the travelling public.
Where are we now?
It has remained the case over the last 10 years or so that transport projects proposed for the Edinburgh area have not necessarily delivered satisfactory solutions to reduce car use and congestion, which obviously still remains the challenge today. The tram route which got the go ahead obviously has considerable benefits for commuters who live, work or travel on that particular corridor, while others will still feel disadvantaged by the incomplete construction and inadequacies of the originally proposed scheme. Future tram expansion in terms of joined up transport could carry a significant cost although further limited extensions for example to the foot of Leith Walk, along London Road to Meadowbank or Balgreen to Pinkhill could enhance choice considerably. The Edinburgh International Gateway Station at Gogar will provide a number of significant national rail links, providing access to the tram line and Edinburgh Airport, greatly assisting flyers. It is clear that the ELR concept including the much talked about Edinburgh South Suburban Railway (ESSR), could provide the essential network links to all those other transport initiatives.