The City of Edinburgh Council are seriously considering extending the current Edinburgh Trams system which could see it running all the way through to Newhaven – as was originally planned when the larger tram network was envisaged. A £400,000 business case is currently being developed for the extension plans and councillors are due to be updated on the progress of this later in June.
Three different options are being considered:
Newhaven – would cost £144.7 million
Ocean Terminal – £126.6 million
Leith Walk – £78.7 million
The business case is due to look into testing and auditing the plans and look into funding ahead of a final decision being made in the autumn as to whether the Council go-ahead with the plans. If they do decide to go-ahead they would ask the Scottish government for funding which could prove problematic as they have previously said they would be no more money available for Edinburgh Trams – including any extensions.
Lesley Hinds, City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport Convener, said: “I am extremely pleased with the progress of the business case, which already shows the clear economic impact the extension of the tram line could have on the city. In the tram’s first year of operation we have seen passenger numbers increase, demonstrating a growing demand for public transport in Edinburgh and making the case for extending the tram to benefit people elsewhere in the city. But we don’t want to make any rash decisions about the future of the project, and that’s why further due diligence is required to ensure a robust financial case that can be used as a basis for an informed judgement. We will also be exploring all avenues for funding, and considering a series of new and innovative options with a view to delivering best value. It is essential that we learn from our past mistakes and I am confident that this process will deliver thoroughly researched, strategic options for a tram extension.”
Some preparation work has already taken place on the route along Leith Walk and towards Newhaven when it was thought the tramway would be running that far so hopefully this would mean the disruption wouldn’t be quite as major as previously. Obviously businesses on Leith Walk may be concerned about further disruption after the problems they experienced during this previous period of construction.
The Council will meet on 23rd June for an update and then the final decision will be made in the autumn. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this and whether maybe in the not too distant future Edinburgh Trams is extended to become more of a network than it is now.