Princes Street, Tramworks and a Spot of Casual Alcoholism

Tramworks (n; pl): Areas of Edinburgh dug up for ridiculously long periods of time, causing massive amounts of disruption, for the purpose of installing (or preparing to install) sections of the city’s much bemoaned tram ‘network’; commonly prefixed by an expletive.Instagram tram tracks on Princes Street

“Oh my” “You cannot be serious?” “I don’t believe you!” Just three of the remarks that people have replied to me with when I’ve told them that work on Princes Street (we’re getting trams, had you heard?) is due to be completed ‘on time’. Well, this particular set of tramworks are “due” (note room for manoeuvre) to be completed ‘on schedule’ (said schedule presumably not being the one saying we’d have three lines in operation by 2011); meaning that Princes Street will once again open to buses, taxis and cyclists on June 30th.

Princes Street EdinburghThis is a bit of a surprise mainly because I’m not aware of any other set of central tramworks being completed anywhere near on time. It’s also a bit of a false celebration because there was only ever meant to be one set of tramworks on Princes Street and they finished almost two years ago; however, due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ (the management seemingly the only people who aren’t able to foresee incompetence) they had to go back and dig it all up again.

Moaning aside, I am glad that Princes Street is once again able to be used. The fencing and other barriers that have festooned it for most of the last 11 plus months have not exactly sold the city to its full potential. Thank goodness they won’t be there during the festival (the traditional season for making money out of gullible tourists).

The jollity is slightly lessened, however, when you discover that York Place is to be closed for a year for yet more work and that Shandwick Place is little more than one massive hole; but I feel we should celebrate whenever possible (goodness knows there are precious few such moments in this project). More exciting is the closure of part of George Street for the festival season. Yes it’ll be a bit of a hassle [read: complete and utter pain in the backside], but they’re closing it to make it into a pub (the Spiegeltent, normally in George Square, no less); so that is clearly much more acceptable (it’s a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality; totally not casual alcoholism…).

Whether Princes Street will indeed reopen this weekend remains to be seen (lets just say I don’t think anyone is holding their breath); but I think the council are missing a trick here: If you have to close streets for your ridiculous trams, put an interesting drinking establishment on it, then it will be much more acceptable and it’ll lessen the pain (unless you fall down a hole after having one too many).



11 thoughts on “Princes Street, Tramworks and a Spot of Casual Alcoholism

  1. I had to go to Princes Street and down into the Old Town to shop for gifts today, and by the time I got on my third bus I wanted to stab myself in the face. Other disruptions seem to have got started before the Princes Street ones have finished; I was totally screwed. There was still a big hole in the bit I saw, though they may be finishing filling it in today, who knows? It’d be nice to have the view back though. I didn’t realise how much dislike I could feel towards lumps of coloured plastic, even after stepping on lego blocks with bare feet.

    And this is from someone who is kind of looking forward to trams and sees some advantages. No wonder more initially ambivalent people are now spitting nails. Just concentrate on the shiny new vehicles…

    • I share your pain! The buses are another of my bug-bears, I’ve taken to ringing the bell well in advance of where I want to get off as I’ve no idea where they stop! As I said, I’m not going to hold my breath for Sunday. Yep, I’ve no idea what those red and white blocks have done to me, but I have an urge to kick them every so often.

      There will no doubt be advantages, we just have to get to that stage… Fingers crossed it’s all ‘on schedule’ now!

    • I’ve had to adopt that tactic too. It’s a shame; I’m quite fond of Lothian Buses, with their crazy route descriptions that don’t match anywhere marked on any map. They appear to have gone Through the Looking Glass now though!

      • I actually got handed a leaflet by a guy from LRT on George St this morning explaining where all the buses have moved to! Only three days late… Thank goodness it’s summer, might just start walking everywhere again.

  2. Woah woah woah. They’re turning George St into a pub?! Amazing! Is it open all summer or just for the Book Festival (or am I getting the Spiegeltent confused with something else?)?
    As for the tram works… Well. I wonder if “Edinburgh tram works” will replace “painting the Forth Rail Bridge” as the expression of choice for a never-ending job. Too cynical?

    • I KNOW!!!!! It’s to go alongside the Fringe, so it’ll be throughout August, I’d guess. Working on George Street is going to be dangerous…

      Is there such a thing as too cynical? I feel you might be on to something there thought…

      • That’s amazing!! Hahaha, you’re screwed. I expect plenty of tipsy WhatApping throughout the Fringe…

        Well you know since they invented that special paint for the bridge I guess a new expression is required. I’m sure it’ll catch on!

      • I am a beacon of sobriety amid the sea of drunken revellers; I have no idea what you could possibly mean…

  3. Pingback: This is Why We Love Edinburgh | What do you see when you stare out the window?

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