City Council plans for tram extension

Edinburgh city council has made plans for a tram extension between Leith and Newhaven by 2022 if approved.

The extension has been estimated to cost around £165m, with four bidders already shortlisted for the £90m infrastructure.

In an official statement by the council’s transport convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes, expressed her enthusiasm of the interest in reviving the tram line. She said:

“When the Outline Business Case [OBC] was approved by Council in September 2017 we pledged to test the OBC with a robust procurement process before reporting back with the Final Business Case.

“Our project team – the same team who successfully delivered the tram to York Place following mediation – has worked very closely with the market over the past 18 months, developing a contract strategy that meets market expectations and the requirements of the council.

“We were very pleased with the significant level of interest from local, national and international bidders and this process has resulted in a strong shortlist of experienced design and build contractors as we move on to the tender stage.”

An outline of the planned extension

The following are the shortlisted bidders:

  • BAM Colas Rail JV
  • Dragados
  • Farrans Sacyr Neopul JV
  • Sisk Steconfer JV

EN4 News has previously interviewed Professor Chris Oliver about his report detailing the 200 accidents and in one case death of 200 cyclists by trams. Yesterday, a tram collided with a car in Princes Street, highlighting the dangers of the trams. It begs the question if these extensions are indeed what Edinburgh needs or even wants.

In this regard, Macinnes is implementing the first of cyclist traffic lights at 14 junctions. She said:

“With the first phase of cycle safety improvements already in place – and, according to our feedback, well-received by cyclists – and the second phase just weeks away from being implemented, we’re now looking to the public for feedback on our proposed designs for phase three, which we aim to put in place later this year.

“Road safety is absolutely paramount and we’ve been working extremely closely with our partners to refine these designs.”

From Monday the public will be given five weeks to voice their opinions and objections for consultation.

Nearly 900 trains cancelled on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line last year

It has been revealed just under 900 trains were cancelled between Edinburgh and Glasgow in 2017.

The figures obtained by Forth 1 Radio, show of the 41,441 trains scheduled to run on the line, 891 were cancelled.

Almost 700 trains were affected Credit: Google

433 were cancelled due to signalling and point failures whilst 458 failed to run because of train faults and staff shortages.

Trains that run as normal yet miss a stop are considered cancelled.

Despite these figures, ScotRail remains one the best performer out of the five largest UK operators.

We spoke with some disgruntled passengers who often use this line.

David Campbell, 54:

“I’m not surprised with those numbers.  The service is appalling and has been for a long time.  Also the prices are too high for the standard of service.”

Karen Millar, 31:

“Every week I know at least one of my trains will be cancelled.  It’s got that bad and it often makes me late for my work.”

Caitlin Milligan, 27:

“The cancellations are frustrating.  You could tell the number had gotten worse.  Thankfully they are trying to sort out the other problems such as over-crowding with the new bigger trains.”

ScotRail said they are investing millions in Scotland’s railway with the aim of improving services for their customers.

Train breakdown caused major east coast line disruption

Passengers travelling on the east coast main line were met with severe disruption today due to a track maintenance train breaking down.

ScotRail suspended all trains between Edinburgh and North Berwick/Dunbar while Virgin Trains, East Coast and CrossCountry services were delayed. Replacement road transport was put in place for ScotRail passengers.

An engineering train broke down overnight in the Dream area of East Lothian causing the disruption, but has since been removed.

Shortly after the fault, ScotRail tweeted an image which stated:

“Unfortunately an engineering train has broken down in the Dream area and we’re unable to run a full service between Edinburgh and North Berwick/Dunbar. Tech staff are on site and working on the train at present, but we don’t have an estimate for when we might get the train moved.”

The broken down train was blocking a track, meaning only one track was available to be used by trains in each direction.

Delays were expected until at least 1:30pm, however this has since been pushed to 2:30pm – around 12 hours since the incident happened.

Network Rail announced that “The broken down engineering train has now moved, allowing all lines to reopen.

Trains between Dunbar/North Berwick and Edinburgh still may be cancelled, revised or delayed by up to 60 minutes.

Disruption is expected to continue until at least 14:30.”

Virgin Trains stated “Due to a points failure between Edinburgh and Berwick, trains have to run at reduced speed on all lines.

Train services running through these stations may be delayed up to 15 minutes.

“We apologise to customers who have been caught in the disruption today.

Please ensure you claim Delay Repay”

 

 

Public concerned over Lothian Buses hike in fares for February

It has been announced that an additional 10p will be topped onto the price of a single ticket of the Lothian Buses service – making it £1.70 per ride from 25th February 2018 onward.

The news took the public by surprise as this was the first price increase in over 2 years and opinions are split regarding this issue.

Some sour reactions to the increase in ticket prices:

 

 

Others, especially those living outside of Edinburgh were quick to defend the bus service:

Ridacard holders (excluding Child Ridacards) will also be seeing a rise in their payment. All other ticket types will remain unchanged.

The company also has service alterations following feedback from customers and councils. These changes include additional express buses, increase in late evening services and extended or rerouted services and so on.

Nigel Serafini, Commercial Director at Lothian stated:

“We are pleased to be able to offer further improvements to our network of services, building on the success of changes we made in 2017. Responding to customer feedback, our commercial team has adapted frequencies and capacity on several routes we operate to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible service for our customers and the communities we serve.”

Full details of the route and service changes can be found here.

City Council urged to install segregated cycle lanes

Edinburgh’s road users are pressuring Edinburgh City Council to invest in partitioned cycle lanes following a survey published by Sustrans. The survey conducted by the UK transport charity suggested that 8 out of 10 drivers and cyclists in Edinburgh support this idea.

 

This comes following the council’s £12m plan to install segregated cycle lanes on popular routes from The Mound to The Meadows and Roseburn to Edinburgh Park. However it seems that of the 1,000 people asked, around 800 would like to see this project expanded to introduce these partitioned cycle lanes on a wider scale.

 

Image result for edinburgh new cycle paths

Credit: Google

 

This majority still support this idea despite the fact that it would reduce the space available on the road for cars, choosing to favour the safety of cyclists.

 

However it is not just cyclists’ safety that would be improved, Sustran believe that traffic congestion, air quality and the general health of Edinburgh’s citizens would also be boosted.

 

Speaking to Forth News, Sustrans Policy Manager Claire Daly believes that:

“If we can make it easier for people to walk and to cycle around this beautiful city and to experience it directly, I think it brings a whole load of benefits.”

Edinburgh City Council have said that they will take this survey into consideration when they evaluate the future of transport in Edinburgh.

Transport Scotland Announces £12 Million Cycling Network in Edinburgh

image

View from Princess Street

Plans for Multi million pound cycling and walking routes released as part of Transport Scotland’s bid to promote healthier commuting in Scotland’s busiest cities.

Two new cycling routes will be built in the capital. Half of the funding comes from government agency Transport Scotland, with Edinburgh Council footing the rest of the bill. One of the planned routes will go from the Meadows to George Street and the other from Roseburn to Edinburgh Park.

The West Edinburgh network, from Roseburn to Edinburgh park, will cost £8 million. This route takes commuters to the university campuses of Napier and Herriot Watt, passing by the Gyle Shopping and business centre and a host of local communities. These range from Stenhouse and Saughton, to Sighthill and Wester Hailes. Routes will also allow cycle access to the new housing developments in East Craigs and Cammo.

The Meadows / George Street network will cost £4.3 million, taking cyclists through Hanover Street, The Mound, Bank Street, North Bank Street, George IV Bridge and Forrest Road – linking the historic Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

Credit: Edinburgh City Council

Humza Yousaf the Scottish Transport Minister said:

“Through the Community Links Plus award people will be able to enjoy new active travel routes and, whether it is for commuting or leisure, more people across Scotland will be able to enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport.”

Deputy director for at Sustrans Scotland, Daisy Narayanan said:

“Funding all five final projects is a bold step towards a healthier, more sustainable and vibrant Scotland which designs places around the needs of people over vehicular access.”
 The two Edinburgh routes were chosen alongside others in Glasgow, Stirling and Inverness as part of Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links Plus competition. The annual competition has offered half of the funding for all shortlisted proposals, a first in their long line of previous projects.

 

 

Scotrail Satisfaction Plummets to 14-year Low

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPassenger satisfaction with ScotRail has reached a 14 year low according to the watchdog Transport Focus.

Satisfaction dropped to 83 per cent, its lowest since 2002. This is down from 87 per cent in Spring of last year.

By comparison, Virgin Trains East Coast, which run from Scotland to London, celebrated a three year high of 91 per cent.

These figures come four months after ministers ordered a plan to improve punctuality, however this was an issue for passengers, as there was a six point decrease in punctuality.

The 83 percent satisfaction rate does, however, keep their levels higher than the recorded National Average.

Your View: Scotrail

Commuters give their views on the state of Scottish railways, after calls to privatize the Scottish rail service. This is following the news that Scotrail trains between Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee are slower today than they were in the Victorian era.

Train journeys from Edinburgh slower than they were in Victorian times

New findings from Scottish Labour have shown that train journeys between Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee are slower today than they were in the 1800s.

Despite trains being powered by steam, journeys took less time then than they do today. In 1895 it took only 57 minutes to Dundee from Edinburgh compared to today where it takes just over an hour.  And from Edinburgh to Perth it took 65 minutes whereas today it takes 72 minutes.

Scotrail have blamed the longer train journeys on the fact that trains have to service more stations in-between the capital and both Perth and Dundee than they did in the 19th Century.

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Neil Bibby said:”While the route has of course changed, it will still amaze passengers that journey times between the capital and Perth and Dundee can be slower than services were in the age of steam.”

Further comments from the transport spokesman suggest never ending delays and cancellations on Scotland’s railways have led to the longer train journey times that we experience now.

edinburgh-waverly

Edinburgh Waverly train station

Following the findings opposition parties have called for Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to make an urgent statement to Parliament over proposals to bring Scotland’s railways to public ownership.

The Transport Minister will update Parliament today on the actions being taken to improve Scotland’s rail services and the investments being made in additional seating, carriages and services for passengers in Scotland.

Transport Minister Update

 

 

 

Two people remain trapped in London tram crash

Two people are trapped and a further 40 are injured after a tram overturned in a South London suburb.

The accident happened in Addiscombe Road in Sandiland near Croydon, just after 6am this morning.

Previously five people had become trapped after the two-carriage tram overturned in a tunnel. Three have now been released. London fire-brigade, police and ambulance services are dealing with the incident. The public have been advised to avoid the area.

The cause of the crash will be investigated by The Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

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Addiscombe Road, Croydon, after the crash. (Image: BBC News)

The Met Police described it as a “serious incident”.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Hannah Collier, who lives nearby, said she heard “a big crash” and saw people being carried away on stretchers.

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