Edinburgh look at options for extensions

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.

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4 Responses to Edinburgh look at options for extensions

  1. Ken Walker says:

    The trams were purchased anyway so that should help lower the cost / improve the business case for extending the system. This must surely be better than the current wastage of having a full fleet to run half a system.

  2. As Ken Walker says “the trams were purchased anyway”. I’ve said it before, disruption to businesses AND what will be a very weak business case for an extension to Ocean Terminal/Newhaven when there’s a good bus service already in place. No, methinks another case of wasting Edinburgh Council Tax payers’ monies which no doubt will have to be further subsidised with monies from the Holyrood government.

  3. James palma says:

    While everyone is entitled to their opinion I am afraid yours is much too negative Alasdair. One Edinburgh tram is much more economical to operate than 3 double decker buses. I am sure you probably also argued that the bus service to Edinburgh airport was just as good a bus service, but all of the evidence highlights that bus services in Edinburgh on the tram route are not as popular as the tram. Please think long term and not short term. The benefits to the Edinburgh economy as a whole far outway the negative minority.

  4. James, remember EdinburghTrams charge an airport premium for tram passengers entering the Airport fare zone. You’re much cheaper travelling by bus to the Airport !
    Thinking long term, what is there to develop in Newhaven or for that matter Ocean Terminal ?