The Night Tram

Walking home from my book group recently, darkness had just fallen. I didn’t have my main tripod with me, but did have my wee Gorilla mini-tripod, with its bendy legs, and thought some scenes of people waiting for the evening trams in Saint Andrew Square would look good in monochrome, so I sat the mini-tripod on a handy post to raise it up, set the timer and crossed my fingers…

Night Tram 01

As I was zooming in more on the people waiting on the platform, I heard the rumbling of an approaching tram, so I left the camera on a long exposure, so you get that nice contrast between the stationary platform and people standing still, and the blurred motion of the tram passing them, which I quite liked:

Night Tram 03

A second tram arrived while I was still shooting, so I got a twin-tram snap for the last pic. Not the greatest, but not bad for semi-improvised night shots. As ever, for the larger versions, click on the pics to see them on the Woolamaloo Flickr stream.

Night Tram 04

I switched back to shooting in colour for this pic, just a couple of moments walk from the previous ones, looking towards the buildings on the south side of Saint Andrew Square, but also managed to get one of the cherry blossom trees into frame, the branches loaded with sakura, hanging over the railings of the now-closed gardens:

Nocturnal Scene With Added Blossoms

The tram debacle

The mess caused by the imposition of a tram line in Edinburgh (and it is an imposition – citizens were not consulted, there was no referendum, probably because the last major city transport referendum – congestion charges – the citizens voted against the council’s wishes and they don’t want that again) is even more of a joke this week. Last week the main contractors walked off the job just as they closed Princes Street, the busiest main street of the capital, supposedly for almost a year. Which doesn’t help the struggling shops and other businesses on Princes St now buses have to be laboriously diverted (adding longer to journeys – especially for those of us who have more than one set of major tram works holding us up every sodding day) and also makes a mess of a busy street and putting off tourists. Just what’s needed in a rough economic climate.

Bus journeys into town were already down as folks avoided coming in because of the tram chaos, now this. And although the council and the contractors are blaming each other while trying to negotiate a resumption of the work the bloody useless eejits in the council have left the diversions in place all bloody week so we’re all being shoved through more sodding long diversions even although there is no work being carried out and no good reason to put us to this extra hassle every day. I think that shows the attitude the planners actually have to the people of Edinburgh and how little they care about the stress and hassle they are putting citizens and businesses to.

Bloody trams

The mess Edinburgh is in because of the buggering tram works continues to get worse – streets ripped up, constant roadworks, diversions, lengthy delays for weeks and months, bus timetables all over the place because of the delays, totally messed up pavements and pedestrian crossings (in fact in some places the crossing is now unavailable altogether because of the works and no safe alternative has been put in place, which has doubtless contributed to the three pedestrians injured in accidents inside a couple of weeks in and around Princes Street) and a fortune spent ripping up pavements we paid to have widen just a few years ago, now all being narrowed again, cycle lanes lost, listed buildings demolished and now an official letter replying to a disabled lady with MS tells her the disabled probably should go to an out of town shopping centre rather than Princes Street for the next few years while the works go on:

I would not recommend visiting the city centre while the tram works are being carried out and would suggest instead that you continue to visit the Gyle Shopping Centre as it has dedicated parking for Blue Badge holders and an in situ Lothian Shopmobility service” (via the Evening news)

All this despite the fact the incompetents at the tram company (a council arms-length company) and the council insist that everything in the city is open for business as usual during the years of the expensive white elephant that is the tram, yet here they are telling folks not to come in (many already aren’t, even before the credit crunch bit numbers taking the bus into the city centre were way down as folks avoid it because of the endless delays). These idiots are all being paid out of the public purse…

If we were going to have a decent new transport system out of it at the end of it all perhaps it might be worth it, but its just one near useless line – it goes nowhere near where the vast majority of Edinburgh residents live so it will be no use to them. I live fairly centrally and it will still be useless to me when finished, I (and 4/5 of the rest of the city) will still rely on the bus. And the bus will continue to be held up even after the tram works are finished because they will get right of way at junctions… They will also get in the way of cycles (especially in parts where cycle lanes are being lost), passengers embarking and disembarking will get in the way of other traffic and pedestrians and what happens when one breaks down? Years back we had a referendum on congestion charging, but for this trams we had it shoved down our throat and were never given the option of voting yay or nay, presumably because the council were worried that once again we would refuse to endorse their stupid, ill thought out plans. Meantime the same authorities won’t even take the most basic steps to help keep traffic going through the works (despite saying they were doing everything, of course) – the green lanes aren’t even being patrolled by wardens so lazy shopkeepers and customers are daily parking in them to go in and out of the shops and not bothering that they are making the long lines even worse (this is happening even right round the corner from police stations… sigh).

Please use an alternate route

Even more bloody roadworks announced in Edinburgh. Major disruption, we’re sorry for inconvenience, please plan to use an alternative route, the usual platitudes as if the utility companies give a monkeys, really. Well I would use an alternate route except I can’t because you twats have ripped it for the bloody useless tramline you are forcing on the city which will be no use to most of the residents. And how nice of the tram bastards to rip up two huge junctions on the busiest bus routes at the same time to make things even better and then the utility companies ripping up one of the main alternate city routes while that’s going on, what great timing. And to garnish this mess on the way home tonight I saw them ripping up the junction near my home and putting in temporary lights. The same junction spot that’s been ripped up four times in the last year. Useless, sodding, incompetent eejits.