Route ready

Tram line just hits Spring deadline for first services

New destination: signs are showing Newhaven for technical reasons until the launch (pic: Terry Murden)

Passenger services on the new tram extension to Newhaven are scheduled to start on 7 June by which time engineers hope to have finalised glitches in the timetable

The expanded route from the city centre and through Leith has been under construction since November 2019.

Unlike the troubled existing route, which was overdue and over-budget, the extension has been delivered within the £207.3m initial cost.

It is understood that after stating the service would be completed in the spring managers have been battling to overcome teething problems with the timetable to ensure trams began running before the start of summer on 21 June.

The trams are already bearing the Newhaven destination, causing some passengers to believe the service has already begun.

However, tram stop destination boards indicate that the service runs only between the airport and St Andrew Square. The reason for showing Newhaven is a technical issue to coordinate the trams and the stops.

Council Leader Cammy Day welcomed the news of the start date from Iona Street, where two historic cable wheels dating back to Victorian Edinburgh’s original tram system were lowered into place. The wheels, which are 2.6m in diameter, were rediscovered at the Pilrig Street junction with Leith Walk in August 2021 during Trams to Newhaven excavations and will now be put on permanent display as part of public realm improvements to Iona Street.

Councillor Day said: “While this is a moment for celebration, it’s also a chance to reflect on the last few years, and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank residents and businesses for their patience during this major, complex project.

“The completion of this line, delivering high capacity, clean transport to the densely populated north of the capital, signifies our aspirations to become a sustainable, net zero city. And by improving connectivity to the waterfront, it won’t only promote further economic development in Leith, but will bring jobs and more affordable housing too.

“We’re now counting down the days to passenger services, and I’m pleased to say this project will be delivered within budget and on time. This is thanks to lessons learned from the previous project along with a great deal of hard work and dedication from our in-house council team who have led and delivered the project, as well as contractors involved in the construction process.”

Lea Harrison, managing director of Edinburgh Trams, said: “The setting of a launch date for the new line is fantastic news for city residents and visitors, but particularly communities between the city centre and Newhaven.

“In recent years, thanks to the efforts of the entire Edinburgh Trams team, our multi award-winning tramway has become one of the most popular transport systems of its type thanks to a single-minded commitment to service excellence that will continue into an exciting new era.

“As we approach this major milestone in the history of Edinburgh Trams and the city, we can’t wait to welcome even more customers on board as we introduce swift and reliable services to the vibrant communities along the route, helping to unlock their full potential and providing a real boost for local businesses.

“While the project will open for revenue services on 7 June, outstanding public realm works will continue in some sections.

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