curiosity about the ways of the world

Category: Sustainable transport (Page 1 of 2)

Why fly?

Welcome back to Edinburgh: you’ll have had your tram?

onkel tomBerlin town planning with a purpose

Some homecoming.  For a week we explored the most exciting city in Europe. We rode trains, trams and buses to the centre and one sunny day we took the train in the other direction to discover the public housing estate that was inspired by Britain’s first garden cities. We marvelled at the plain good sense of building a housing estate on a train line. What a pity Edinburgh lacks that kind of civic imagination. Or generosity even. You’ll have had your tram Leith? Continue reading

Lies, damned lies and tram headlines


Blue sky thinking: what Edinburgh needs.

On a grey Edinburgh summer’s day I jump off a bus painted with blue skies and fluffy white clouds and on to the tram in Princes Street.  It isn’t going anywhere of course but it’s still a great ride if only to dispel  myths and misconceptions rumbling around town. Continue reading

Tescotown – Tescotram?

The success of our business depends on listening to people and responding to what they tell us. [Tesco Corporate Social Responsibility]

Here’s a shocking revelation in our local community newsletter.  Shocking but probably not surprising.   Tesco  will not be paying a penny towards the construction of Edinburgh’s tram route although it is perfectly – and surely deliberately – placed to gain custom from three tram stops on Leith Walk. But that’s not the shocking bit. Continue reading

Treading softly from Scotland to France


Sun in the south of France: getting here was almost as much fun.

It was raining when we reached Paris but I didn’t mind. After Scotland’s cold apology for summer it was warm, welcoming rain and within minutes of getting off our Eurostar we were clinking glasses of wine in Terminus Nord. If we had come by plane we would still be trying to get out of the airport; instead we are sitting down to a three course meal before catching the next train. So comfortable it is tempting to stay but we are only half way on a 1200 mile journey towards the Spanish border and the best could be yet to come. Continue reading

Trains and boats and (no) planes


I’ve just been to Bruges and back without setting foot on a plane. Bruges, by the way, is a beautiful place; one of those living museums (like Venice and Dubrovnik) that still manages to give you a feeling of real life in a quirky time warp of its own making. But for me probably the best part of the trip was the luxury of travelling without wings. Continue reading

Who says we have to make sacrifices?

Ray Perman finds a quicker, more comfortable alternative to flying. And, to coin a phrase, it doesn’t cost the earth.

It has always puzzled me why anyone would fly from Manchester to London rather than take the train. By the time you drag out from the city centre to the airport, allow for your check-in time and the slow trudge through security, have the hour’s flying time and then get in to London from any of the airports, the whole journey must take you at least three hours. Whereas the train takes at least half an hour less. Yet they do it. Train, I’m happy to say, is taking an increasing share of the market, but 40% of passengers still go by air. Continue reading

Trail blazing

The Road to the Isles is getting straighter. That’s good news for holiday makers with carsick kids and haulage drivers winding through some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain. But it’s not so good for wonderful old woodlands laid waste to make way for the bold, broad ribbon of tarmac unfolding a new straight A830 all the way to Maillaig.


Further down the coast: rare west coast woodland is protected on the SNH nature reserve at Taynish. Continue reading

Borat for first minister

Here’s an appeal from Friends of the Earth asking campaigners for Edinburgh’s tram to pass on a pdf depicting Alex Salmond (biggest fish of the SNP) as Borat. I can’t work out how to upload the pdf so, even better, here’s a photo of someone outside the Scottish Parliament getting across the message that even Kazakhstan has trams.


Obviously not Mr Salmond who is much too big a fish to fit into Borat’s trunks. (Thanks to Friends of the Earth Edinburgh for use of this photograph). Continue reading

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