Edinburgh Tram (vehicle)

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Edinburgh Tram
Edinburgh trams first day of operation 05.JPG
An Edinburgh Tram on the first day of operation, May 2014.
In service May 2014
Manufacturer CAF
Built at Beasain, Spain
Family name Urbos 3
Constructed 2009–2011
Number built 27
Number in service 27
Formation 7 articulated cars per tram
Fleet numbers 251 - 277
Capacity 250 (78 seated, 170 standing, 2 wheelchairs)[1]
Operator(s) Transport for Edinburgh
Depot(s) Gogar Depot
Car body construction Stainless steel[2]
Car length 42.8 m (140 ft 5 in)[2]
Width 2.65 m (8 ft 8 in)[2]
Height 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
Maximum speed 70 km/h (43 mph)[2]
Weight 56 tonnes (55 long tons; 62 short tons)[2]
Traction system Twelve 80 kW (110 hp) traction motors
Electric system(s) 750 V DC OHLE
Current collection method Pantograph
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge

The Edinburgh Tram is a fleet of 27 low-floor trams built by CAF of Beasain, in the Basque country of Spain between 2009 and 2011 for use on the Edinburgh Tram line in Edinburgh, Scotland.


The contract to build a fleet of 27 trams for the Phase 1a (currently on hold) and Phase 1b tram lines[3] was awarded to the Spanish rail equipment manufacturer CAF in November 2007[4] and is worth up to £40 million. The trams are built to meet the highly bespoke specifications issued by Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE), which precluded the use of an existing design.

CAF was selected by competitive tender from a list of four rail vehicle manufacturers, the others being Alstom, Bombardier, and Siemens.[5]

A full size mockup of the front of the proposed tram was constructed and put on display on Princes Street for the public to view.[6] The replica tram was moved to Constitution Street at the foot of Leith Walk in April 2009.[7][8] There was also a tram front mockup put on display at the Gyle Shopping centre next to the bus stop.

The first finished tram was delivered on 26 April 2010 and went on public display on 28 April 2010 at the location of the previous mockup in Princes Street,[2] before being moved to open storage in Broxburn in November 2010.[9] The tram arrived far in advance of the completion of infrastructure (including its home depot), which has suffered serious delays and cost over-runs. The tramway opened on 31 May 2014.[10]


The Edinburgh trams are bi-directional, 42.8 metres (140 ft) long[1][11] and built with 100% low-floor access to meet UK Rail Vehicle Access Regulations for disabled people. Passenger capacity is 250 – 78 seated, 170 standing and 2 wheelchair spaces[1] – and the trams will be fitted with CCTV.[12]

Several special requirements were specified for the tram vehicles: they 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. The particular requirements were specified by TFE with the aim of designing an advanced tram system tailored for the needs of Edinburgh.[5] To achieve the low noise requirement a self lubricating system is used to avoid the squeal of wheels on track when turning tight corners.


To create a visual continuity between the tram fleets and local bus services, Edinburgh trams have the same livery as that of Lothian Buses. The tram mockup shown in 2009 was decorated with the red and gold "harlequin" design that was introduced on Lothian Buses in the 1990s. Following the announcement of a rebranding of the bus fleet in April 2010, Lothian Buses reintroduced their traditional madder and white livery, and the tram livery was updated to a matching colour scheme.[13]


The first part of the tram line to be completed was a short section between Gogarburn and the depot at Gogar. Testing of new trams on this stretch of track started in December 2011 - the first time that a tram had moved under electric power in Edinburgh since 1956.[14] The first daytime test run of a tram along the full route from Edinburgh Airport to York Place took place on 20 February 2014.[15]

In service[edit]

The fleet of 27 was ordered before the proposed network was curtailed. An attempt in 2011 to lease ten trams to Transport for London for use on Tramlink was unsuccessful and thus Edinburgh Trams took delivery of all 27 even though only half are required to operate the network at its peak.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Tram Facts" (PDF). Edinburgh Trams. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "First tram arrives in Edinburgh". Railway Gazette. 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  3. ^ Henderson, Damien (26 March 2011). "Edinburgh’s trams are on track for … Croydon". The Herald. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Tram Vehicles". Edinburgh Trams. 20 November 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "City trams to be 'best in world'". BBC News. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Mock tram gets visitors on board". BBC News. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  7. ^ "Life-sized Edinburgh tram replica finds new home in Leith Walk". DeadlinenewsTV. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Today's Railways Issue 86
  9. ^ Marshall, Chris (24 November 2010). "Tram is carted off to Broxburn because Gogar depot not ready". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "Edinburgh's trams roll into action". BBC News. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Streetcars and light subway trains: Edinburgh Tram - basic information". CAF. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "Streetcars and light subway trains: Edinburgh Tram - equipmenrt". CAF. Retrieved 11 January 2010. 
  13. ^ Dalton, Alastair (31 March 2010). "Lowdown on new look for Lothian Buses' 600 strong fleet". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 
  14. ^ http://www.edinburghtrams.com/include/uploads/local_update/Gogar_leaflet_final_web.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.edinburghtrams.com/news/a-trams-eye-view
  16. ^ Edinburgh's trams are on track for Croydon The Herald 26 March 2011

External links[edit]