Tuesday, February 28, 2006

British engineers: the best in the world

I think that it's magnificent that our great engineering firms are rising to the challenge that the Edinburgh tram system has set them.
Four companies are to battle for a £50m supply and design contract to build future trams for Edinburgh.

French company Alstom and Spain's CAF are up against German-based Siemens and Bombardier Transportation, a German arm of Canadian giant Bombardier.

Oh. Right.
Ian Kendall, Tie's project director, said 11 firms originally indicated interest, with seven bidding for the opportunity to tender.

He said: "This is an important step towards the delivery of a world-class tram system for our capital city.

Of course, another important step would be actually having the cash to build a "world-class tram system".
The proposed tram network has been scaled back with just one line from Leith's Western Harbour to Edinburgh Airport now included in the first phase of construction.

The exciting tram system was, alas, slightly scuppered when Edinburgh residents voted against the congestion charging that was going to pay for the "world-class tram system". This means that only the one line, instead of the three proposed, will be built.

However, as I have pointed out before, Edinburgh Council seem hell-bent on fouling up the roads in the city and, one imagines, we will see the congestion charge mooted again in a couple of years; by which time the artificially induced congestion will be so bad that the charge will go through.

Then, in 100 years time, or so, we will have tramlines galore. Although, I must confess that I am mildly ambivalent about these trams; I don't really see the point in spending at least £193 million (and let's face it, we all know that it's going to end up being far more than that) on putting a system of transport that was ripped up only a few decades ago.

Can anyone tell me why trams are so good? And why they are being installed by the company, majority owned by the City of Edinburgh Council, which also runs the main bus service in the city?

1 comment:

Mr Eugenides said...

Am I the only one who finds it amusing that a German company calls itself Bombardier?

I am?

Oh, well, I'll get me coat...

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