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something is happening

After nearly three years, it’s time for a new site. #psychogeography will remain the emphasis.

Previous posts will be in an Archive section.

In the meantime, check out the links page.

george georgiou – invisible: london

Not seen work this good for a long time. Just so brilliant.

edinburghsucks is back up

A contentious thorn in the sides of many ignorant and floundering edinburgh politicos, who have collectively made a laughing-stock and utter mess of Scotland’s capital over the past 10 years – good luck with version 2… and welcome back.

edinburgh trams : who got the cash

“Politicians should accept that they generally lack the appropriate expertise to fully understand the technical, financial and legal aspects of major projects”
Sarah B

“The fault lies with us, with our lack of industrial capacity, shortage of commercial nous and the paucity of engineering skills that once marked out Scotland as a nation”
George Rosie

The chaotic construction history and ignominious failure of the Edinburgh Tram Plan has now been revealed, since last weeks’ politicised Unionist vote to bring it all to a very premature halt at Haymarket was won. Won by the very same south-of-the-border parties who championed the Airport-Newhaven lines in the first place, under dubious political motives (they knew it was unaffordable and wanted to saddle the replacement SNP government with a build-it-they-must-by-law infrastructure project that would hobble any social spending…)

But aside from the appallingly childish (Kleptocracy would be a more appropriate term, some might say) Unionist/Independence politiking at Holyrood and the naivety of the district council, there’s something even more humiliating for Scotland, if that were possible – the dreadful shameful fact we couldn’t build it ourselves.

you’d never believe the scots were once famed for engineering :
who banked edinburgh’s 1/5th-built £800m tram budget

please note I’m not criticising the expertise these companies embody – see last weeks’ post on Halcrow’s London Underground works, which had been specifically written previously, to contrast with the expected tram news

tramway designers : Parsons Brinckerhoff*, New York + Halcrow, England
steel rails : Voestalpine, Austria
operational systems : Siemens and Bilfinger Berger, Germany
tramcars : Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, Spain
street + utilities preparation : Carillion, England

*PB now owned by UK’s Balfour Beatty

from George Rosie’s superb analysis of the debacle The Route To Nowhere

There is perhaps a silver lining to all this: the power cable towers – a visual abomination in a world heritage city, stupidly and thoughtlessly chosen because burying the power would have cost “zillions” despite contractors having to re-position every single cable beneath the road surface anyway – will now no longer pollute the view to the Castle from Princes Street. I was also going to add in a list of cities that have successfully managed to build a modern tram system, but I’m too numptied.

Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory!
Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name.
Sae famed in martial story!
Now Sark rins over Salway sands,
An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England’s province stands -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Robert Burns

An article by respected longstanding trams blogger, Sarah B
Comparison – Access to the Region’s Core wiki entry

Finally, there is a purposely-hidden solution to all this tram nonsense – the blindingly-obvious Edinburgh Airport Rail Link to Waverley. Yes, it does exist, and it could have been instigated decades ago. But politics always comes before sensibility… like LRT Airport Shuttle fares, taxes on Hackneys and Parking Fines for those who rented a car in the face of being stuck out in the western showground sticks with no visible means of transport. Basically Tax Revenue for the council to spend on… ugly street furniture? £3,000 a day consultants to tell them chips are made from potatoes? Gold-plated pensions? (er, that last one’s a DEFINITE priority).

Bus graphic by Jamie Reid


Jeremy Balfour (Tory) : Lesley Hinds (Labour)
Jenny Dawe (LibDem) : Andrew Burns (Labour) : Steve Cardownie (SNP)

Oh – I nearly forgot – whereforeto The Right Honourable George Grubb, Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh? What ails our esteemed city leader? Can we not look to him for leadership, just when we need it? Hmmm? Shurely he’s got something constructive to contribute, being leader an’ all that? Maybe a few words on the evils of kleptocracy, perhaps?

Update from Lord Provost of Edinburgh 6 september 2011

Continue reading…

building the Victoria Line

A rather amazing British Transport film of the Oxford Street canopy installation. You can see where they got the inspiration for Quatermass and the Pit

These were the days when major infrastructure was designed, built and managed by individuals who actually knew what they were doing – can you imagine what the 1960s chief engineer would have thought of Boris The Oaf and Mad Ken… love the way the media are so polite and respectful. And quite rightly.

And not one Hi-Vis jacket in sight – plenty smoking too… even underground (but then the blitz was a recent memory, so a little Woodbine or Capstan Navy Cut in awkward places was utterly nothing). I wish todays’ crowds who have to endure the underground in all its human crap-ness could appreciate the thought and ingenuity behind the system – and the respect given to those who overcame huge engineering challenges – now long forgotten.

From berg london

from Z to A is a scotland-based psychogeography and urban topography magazine featuring creative, critical, playful urban journeys

© Edward Alexander : from Z to A 1991-2013 | All Rights reserved | Please credit if you use content | All other content © the owners and credited as such

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