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Archive for March 13th, 2008

John Swinney MSP told a meeting in Perth a couple of weeks back that the EARL project was not technically feasible.    He said that the proposed gradient for trains was not possible for existing rolling stock to negotiate, and that tunnelling under the airport runway was too risky.    I actually found that rather hard to believe, as the EARL project started in 2001 looking at the possibility of getting rail links tied into Edinburgh airport, involving years of exploratory engineering work as well as securing legislation to emable the project to go ahead.    

Ryanair are just coming into Edinburgh Airport with new routes.   This is really welcome, but how are an extra million passengers actually going to get to and from the airport?    It is probably one of the most congested areas of Scotland.    EARL would have given a direct rail link from the airport to over 60 stations.    It is a ‘no brainer’ but comes at a price.

I asked the people at EARL to comment about the feasibility of the project.    They said that the gradient was no worse than the one getting into and out of Queen Street Station in Glasgow, so no problem there.     They also said that tunnelling under the runway was perfectly feasible, and given the extra engineering precautions built into this part of the project, perfectly safe.

So where does that leave John Swinney?    He should have said that the project was simply too expensive to sanction, and that going ahead would have put other transport projects on hold.    But he didn’t.   Poor show.

And why are the Trams going ahead in Edinburgh?   I don’t see the benefit at all.    Massive expense, huge and prolonged disruption – just look at the mess in Leith Walk and Shandwick Place, unsightly overhead cables etc. – the list of downsides is long.    Who on earth is this project for?    There are  perfectly good bus services serving this route at very reasonable prices, and with bus lanes for much of the route.    I just don’t get it.

They should have spent the money on Earl which would have benefitted many more people.

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