|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (October 2012)|
Trams at Gogar Tram Depot, 2012
|Stations||16 (initial phase)|
|Services||1 (initial phase)|
|Owner||City of Edinburgh Council|
|Operator(s)||Edinburgh Trams Ltd|
|Rolling stock||27 CAF Trams|
|Line length||13 kilometres (8.1 mi) approx. (initial phase)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC OHLE|
|Operating speed||70 kilometres per hour (43 mph) (off-street)|
There have been several delays and cost over-runs in the construction of the tramway. The new tram system was originally scheduled to enter revenue service in February 2011. By March 2010, project delays had resulted in the prime contractor revising their estimated completion date to 2014, and by the end of 2010 only 28% of the infrastructure had been completed.
On becoming operational, the trams will be operated by Edinburgh Trams Limited, a company wholly owned by the City of Edinburgh Council. Originally costed at £375 million in 2003, the budget was later increased to £545 million; in May 2011, it was revealed that £440 million had already been spent on the project. A report issued the following month estimated that the partial completion of the tram line from the airport to the city centre would cost £770 million. A further report issued in August 2011 estimated that the final cost for the proposed line would be over £1 billion, including £228 million interest payments on a 30-year loan to cover the funding shortfall.
The project has suffered from contractual disputes between the contractors and Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE), the tram project management company. After mediation talks in early 2011, a deal to enable contractors to return to work on priority locations was arranged in May 2011. Later in the year, TIE was relieved of its responsibilities and wound down, being heavily criticised for its handling of the project.
Until June 2011, the planned network consisted of one line running east-west across the city from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven, with future extensions subject to further funding. In September 2011, this line was reduced to the section from the airport to St Andrew Square in the city centre, due to cost over-runs. On 29 November 2011 it was announced that the City of Edinburgh Council's City Development Department had agreed that the line should be slightly extended from St Andrew Square to York Place.
Edinburgh's previous tram system, Edinburgh Corporation Tramways, ran from 1871 until it was decommissioned on 16 November 1956. Since then public transport services consisted of buses and a limited network of local rail lines. Towards the end of the 20th century, there was revived interest in tramways and light rail transport, and several British cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham introduced new light rail transit systems. Various schemes were proposed in the 1990s, and a plan to build a line along Princes Street and Leith Walk to Newhaven pier was unveiled in 1999 by the City of Edinburgh Council, Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise and the New Edinburgh Tramways Company (NET).
Early proposals 
The original 2001 proposal for Edinburgh Trams envisaged three routes across the city, Lines 1, 2 and 3; the first being a circular route running around the northern suburbs, with the other two forming radial lines running out to Newbridge in the west and to Newcraighall in the south respectively. All lines would run through the city centre. In May 2004, the 15-year operating contract for Edinburgh Trams was awarded to Transdev. Trading as Transdev Edinburgh Tram Ltd, the transport company was expected to operate and maintain the tram network, and support the project planning. However this contract was cancelled in 2009.
Following these transport studies, two bills were submitted to the Scottish Parliament to reintroduce a tram network to Edinburgh. Both bills were passed in March 2006, and received Royal Assent in April/May. Only Lines 1 and 2 received parliamentary permission and funding the construction of the entire network was not possible. For this reason the construction of the remaining two lines was split into four phases:
- Phase 1a would incorporate the construction of an 11.5-mile (18.5 km) line from Newhaven to Edinburgh Airport via Princes Street, combining parts of Lines 1 and 2.
- Phase 1b would involve the construction of a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) line from Haymarket to Granton Square via Crewe Toll, comprising most of the remainder of Line 1.
- Phase 2 would link Granton Square and Newhaven together, completing the Line 1 loop.
- Phase 3 would have the airport line extended to Newbridge, completing Line 2.
Funding problems and political disputes have led to these construction plans being scaled back further. In April 2009, Edinburgh City Council announced the cancellation of Phase 1b of the project, citing problems caused by the global recession, saving an estimated £75 million. The decision meant that the construction of the line to Granton would not go ahead for the foreseeable future. By September 2011, the Phase 1a line had been reduced to the section between the airport and St Andrew Square only, abandoning the section of the line between the city centre and Newhaven. The short extension from St Andrew Square to York Place was announced on 29 November 2011.
Critical scrutiny 
The future of the Edinburgh Trams project came under threat in 2007 when the Scottish National Party (SNP) published in its manifesto for the Scottish Parliamentary election its intention to cancel the scheme, along with the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link, in order to save a total of £1.1bn.
In the debate on the Government's Transport program various opposition politicians made statements defending the Edinburgh Trams project. In particular, Labour MSP Wendy Alexander said "The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change claimed that the costs were out of control, but they are not."
Following a vote which it lost in the Scottish Parliament, the SNP-led minority Scottish Government agreed to continue with the line from the Airport to Leith on condition that no more public money would be supplied if the project overran. A report by Audit Scotland, commissioned by the Scottish Government, confirmed that the cost projections were sound.
Initial costs for the scheme were £498 million, with £375 million funding from the Scottish Government and £45 million by Edinburgh council.
On 25 October 2007 the City of Edinburgh Council gave approval to the Final Business Case. Approval was given by the Council on 22 December 2007 for TIE to sign contracts with CAF for the supply of the vehicles and BBS (a consortium of Siemens and Bilfinger Berger) for the design, construction and building of the network. Contract negotiations were concluded in April 2008 with construction of the network commencing in June 2008.
Project revisions and delays 
During the period 2008–09, the tram project was criticised for delays to the infrastructural works, in particular the closure of Princes Street. Transport Initiatives Edinburgh underwent some organisational change at this time; in November 2008 Willie Gallagher stepped down as executive chairman of Transport Initiatives Edinburgh. David Mackay, then Chairman of Transport Edinburgh Limited, took over as interim chairman until he was replaced in May 2009 by Richard Jeffrey.
In April 2009, Phase 1b of the tram construction project was cancelled due to financial problems. Ongoing contractual disputes also delayed track-laying work in the city centre. In December 2009, there were media reports that the project budget was running over £545 million, and that the tram system was likely to come into operation at least seven months late, putting the launch date back to February 2012 or later. Reports in January 2010 suggested that certain important milestones of the construction schedule had slipped by up to two years. In March 2010, Bilfinger Berger announced that the construction work would be delayed by a further 30 months, with an estimated completion date in 2014. This estimate was disputed by the Council, which claimed a completion date in 2012 was still feasible.
The operating contract with Transdev was also cancelled in December 2009 in order to reduce costs; the trams will instead be operated by Edinburgh Trams Limited, a company wholly owned by the City of Edinburgh Council.
Funding crisis 
Following further disputes and delays to the project, it was reported in March 2010 that Edinburgh City Council were considering cancelling the contract with Bilfinger Berger. By June 2010, the cost of the project had risen to £600 million or more. City Council project managers were reported to be in crisis talks, considering a number of options including: borrowing an extra £55 million to fund the increased costs; phasing the introduction of the tram line, so that trams would initially run only between the airport and Haymarket; and terminating the contract with Bilfinger Berger. The Council asked TIE to draw up detailed costs for truncating the tram line at four possible termini: Haymarket station, York Place, the foot of Leith Walk or Ocean Terminal.
In May 2011, it was announced that contractors would return to work at priority locations (Haymarket Yards, Gogar roundabout and the depot) while the future of the project was decided. In addition a 10-month programme of remedial work on the Princes Street tram lines laid in 2009 was announced. The same month, Richard Jeffrey resigned as Chief Executive of TIE after two years in the job. Shortly after Jeffrey's resignation, four non-executive directors and the communications director of TIE also resigned. This was followed by the introduction of a voluntary redundancy scheme aimed at halving the headcount of the company. In August 2011, it was announced that further redundancies would be made following the appointment of international consultancy Turner & Townsend to take over management of the project from TIE. TIE itself was disbanded as a company and the directors were awarded severance payment totalling £406,635.
On 30 June 2011, the City of Edinburgh Council voted to continue with the project (albeit only between Edinburgh Airport and St Andrew Square), with costs having risen to an estimated £770m, leaving the Council with a shortfall of more than £200m. The option of scrapping the project was considered, but rejected. On 25 August 2011, the Council voted to cut the line further to run only between the airport and Haymarket, reducing the expected cost to £715m. However, a week later, after the Scottish Government threatened to withhold £72 million of funding, they reversed this decision, restoring the terminus at St Andrew Square. On 29 November 2011 it was announced that the eastern terminus of the tram line would be at York Place instead of St Andrew Square; the intention had been to build the tracks to a reversing point at York Place (but without a stop for passengers). By extending passenger services from St Andrew Square to an additional stop at York Place this would enable Broughton Street, Picardy Place and the surrounding area to be better served (at comparatively little additional cost).
Until August 2011, the tram system construction project was overseen by Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE), a company wholly owned by the City of Edinburgh Council, who were responsible for project-managing the construction of the tramway.
Once the draft business case had been accepted by the Scottish Government, initial construction work and the movement of underground utilities commenced in Spring 2007, based on a design by System Design Services (SDS, a joint design contract led by Parsons Brinckerhoff and Halcrow).
In May 2008 final contracts to build the tram system were awarded to BSC, a consortium of Bilfinger Berger/Siemens (BBS) and tram builder CAF, and construction of the tram infrastructure commenced.
The initial system is to use a mix on-street running and (west of Haymarket) segregated off-road track, with conventional tram stop platforms. Stops will be fitted with shelters, ticket machines, lighting and CCTV. The network will be operated from a depot at Gogar, close to the A8 roundabout, just north of the Gyle tram stop.
The route of the tram line requires the construction of new bridges to cross the railway lines at Edinburgh Park and Stenhouse and a tunnel under the A8 near the Gogar roundabout. Existing bridges at Balgreen, Roseburn, Coltbridge and Craigleith will also have to be widened, and the Murrayfield Viaduct must also be adapted for trams to pass under it. The works to build a tram interchange at Haymarket station involved the demolition of a Category C(S) listed building, the former Caledonian Alehouse on Haymarket Terrace.
The on-street sections of track are being laid into a special foundation with cobbled road surfacing designed to be sympathetic with the existing style of Edinburgh streets. Trams are to be powered by overhead cables which will be suspended either from specially erected poles or from buildings. There are to be nine electrical substations which will be both underground and above ground.
Contractual disputes 
In February 2009 work on the Princes Street section of the works was stopped due to contractual disagreements between TIE and the construction BSC consortium. BSC reportedly submitted a late request for an additional £80 million funding which TIE was unable to meet. Dave Anderson, Edinburgh City Council’s Director of City Development, expressed the view in an interview with the BBC's You and Yours radio programme, that the contractors' claims were unjustified as they had agreed to fixed-price contracts and to bear the project risks. After negotiations, BSC agreed to commence construction work in March 2009 within the original budget, although ongoing disagreements remained. Work recommenced and line construction went ahead. In August 2009, TIE began legal proceedings against the BSC consortium over delays to the project, and track-laying works on Leith Walk, Shandwick Place and Haymarket were suspended pending the outcome. At issue were a number of alleged changes to BSC's work specification, including track works on Princes Street and £5 million additional costs on foundation work near Murrayfield Stadium. The BSC consortium also alleged that TIE had not diverted the underground utilities in time for track-laying to begin, thus breaching contractual agreements and costing the consortium additional staffing expenditure. In January 2010 the independent arbiter found in favour of TIE on some points, but on most of the disputed issues the arbiter ruled in favour of BSC and awarded the consortium 90% of their additional costs, estimated to be worth up to £80m.
Delays in track laying and depot construction have affected tram vehicle testing. By September 2009 the construction work was reported to be nine months behind schedule, and CAF was due to deliver the first newly-built tram vehicles from its factory in Spain. With a key project dependency out of synchronisation, TIE held discussions with Transport for London about delivering the trams to Croydon in the London Borough of Croydon to conduct operational tests on the Tramlink network. In the end, tram vehicle testing commenced in March 2010 on the Siemens test track in Wildenrath, Germany, and in August 2011 Tramlink ordered new trams from Stadler Rail.
Ongoing delays in the tram works have been criticised by local businesses, who claim their income has been adversely affected by long-term road closures in the centre of Edinburgh since 2008, and by Edinburgh residents who have voiced dismay over the delays. Construction project delays have also been criticised for causing an obstruction across the city during the 2009 Edinburgh Festival and Fringe. Construction was halted once again in January 2010 due to freezing temperatures.
Cycling groups in the city have voiced safety concerns after some cyclists suffered accidents when their bicycle wheels became caught in tracks. They also reported that the road surface around the tracks was crumbling, raising further safety problems. In response, TIE carried out road repairs and Edinburgh Trams agreed to fund special training for local cyclists. Further safety concerns have been raised by residents along the tram routes about the suspension of overhead electric cables from residential buildings, with some property owners refusing to give permission for the cables to be attached.
City centre residents filed a complaint with the UNECE Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee in December 2011, arguing that traffic diversions through residential streets during the protracted construction of the tramline has resulted in increased pollution and noise, to the detriment of residents' health. The Council countered that monitoring was ongoing and no sites data breached EU limits.
Although not indicated on the Edinburgh Trams web site, the notice to residents stated that part of the works to be carried out, in the order of seven weeks, is the re-excavation of all the services and utilities moved during the previous extended partial closure of this thoroughfare. The necessity for this work was not identified by Edinburgh Trams.
The first electric wires were energised in October 2011 above newly laid track within the depot at Gogar. Testing of trams began in December 2011 on the first part of the line to be completed (adjacent to the depot at Gogar, approximately 500m in length). On 15 December 2011 the depot was officially handed over from the contractors to the City of Edinburgh Council.
The first section of the line to be completed was between the Depot and Edinburgh Airport, in late 2012. Using this section of line, on 19 December 2012 the first test operation of a tram operating at full speed was made.
CAF was selected by competitive tender from a list of four rail vehicle manufacturers, the others being Alstom, Bombardier, and Siemens. CAF has supplied light rail vehicles for a number of other European tram networks, including EuskoTran in Bilbao and MetroCentro in Seville, Spain, and for the Antray system in Antalya, Turkey. The company also supplied new NIR Class 3000 trains for Northern Ireland Railways and (with Siemens) built rolling stock for the Heathrow Express service in London.
The Edinburgh trams, built to meet TIE's specifications, will be bi-directional, 42.8 metres (140 ft) long and built with low-floor access to meet UK Rail Vehicle Access Regulations for disabled people. Passenger capacity will be 332 with 80 seated and 250 standing and the trams will be fitted with CCTV.
A number of special requirements have been specified for the tram vehicles: they will have to cope with the steep slopes of Edinburgh streets, operate with low noise and offer a visual fit suitable for a World Heritage Site.[dead link] The particular requirements were specified by TIE with the aim of designing an advanced tram system tailored for the needs of Edinburgh.
A full size mockup of the front of the proposed tram was constructed in 2009 and put on display on Princes Street for the public to view, later moving to Constitution Street at the foot of Leith Walk in April 2009. There is also a tram front mock up at the Gyle Shopping Centre next to the bus stop.
On 28 April 2010, the first real full-length tram was delivered to Edinburgh, and was put on display (on its rails) at the Princes Street stop at the bottom of The Mound until November 2010. It was subsequently moved to open storage in Broxburn.
To create a visual continuity between the tram fleets and local bus services, Edinburgh tram vehicles will have the same livery as that of Lothian Buses. The prototype CAF trams seen to date have all been decorated with the "harlequin" design which was introduced on Lothian Buses in the 1990s. Following the announcement of a rebranding of the bus fleet in April 2010, Lothian Buses are reintroducing their traditional madder and white livery, and the Edinburgh tram fleet will now be painted in a matching colour scheme.
Ticketing and fares 
Ticketing and fares will be fully integrated with Lothian Buses. The fare for a single journey on the tram network will be the same as on Lothian Buses, expected to be over £1.40 when the network opens. Day tickets and Ridacards will be valid on both the trams and buses.
At the request of Lothian Buses installation of 30 ticket machines at key bus stops began in 2007. These allowed passengers to purchase tickets before boarding their bus reducing dwell times and giving more time for tourists to select the right ticket for their journey. The ticket machines were to have been modified to issue tram tickets once the service began. However, due to lack of popularity with users the machines were scrapped in 2011. It is still planned to install similar on-street ticket machines at tram stops before the tram service opens.
Journey times and frequency 
The tram is proposed to operate every 10 minutes, with a journey time claimed of "approximately 30 minutes from Haymarket to the airport", with service from 06:00 to midnight Monday to Saturday (07:00 start on Sunday).
See also 
- Transport in Edinburgh
- Light Rail Transit Association
- Scottish Tramway and Transport Society
- List of Tramways in Scotland
- Edinburgh Airport Rail Link
- Proposals for new tram lines in Edinburgh
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Edinburgh Trams|
- Official website
- Video footage of Edinburgh Trams undergoing tests in Germany (BBC News Reporting Scotland, 4 March 2010)
- Promotional videos
- Edinburgh Transport News – The Scotsman
- Auditor Generals Report on Tram Scheme June 2007
- Edinburgh Tram (Line One) Bill Committee
- Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Bill Committee
- Edinburgh Tram (Line One) Act 2006
- Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Act 2006