We brought you the news earlier this month of the Edinburgh City Mobility Plan which should see transport in the region revolutionised over the next decade, and this included a potential tram line from Granton in the north to the Bio-Quarter (and beyond) in the south-east. In this article we take a more detailed look at the proposals for which the Strategic Business Case (SBC) is due to be submitted by this autumn.
As part of the Edinburgh Strategic Sustainable Transport Study Phase 2 (ESSTS2) a study was made into the potential routing for a tram line serving the Granton and South East corridors which would serve Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, the Bio-Quarter and beyond. Preliminary analysis has been undertaken to support the case for mass transit alongside potential routes for the line and further work will now take place in order to prepare the SBC.
The proposed route would run:
- Option A1: following West Granton Access Road from Ferry Road to Caroline Park using the existing safeguarded route and providing a direct and segregated tram and parallel high-quality active travel route.
- At the southerly tip of A1 there are then two options for the next section:
- Option B1b: Ties in with the existing tram line at Roseburn and then follows the Roseburn Path from the A8 to Ferry Road, west of Crewe Toll. This alignment is fully segregated, following an old railway track bed, and now an active travel corridor and part of NCN1. It is a safeguarded route for transit with existing construction powers in place.
- Option B2: ties in with the existing tram route at Shandwick Place at the west end of Princes Street and then runs on-street following Queensferry Road, Orchard Brae and Crewe Road South. This route has been considered as test against B1b due to additional costs on that route associated with the demolition of structures and also has a stronger catchment area and better serves key trip generators including the Western General Hospital and local residential streets.
- In the city centre option C1 is the original Tram Line 3 alignment which is protected within the city’s Local Development plan. The route would leave the existing route at Princes Street/South St David Street and continue east along Princes Street to North Bridge. It would then follow North and South Bridge connecting into Section D at Nicholson Square.
- An operational loop is being taken forward to the next stage of project development as option C3. This would be a short section of tram route connecting the Newhaven and South East corridors via Leith Street enabling north south services to avoid Princes Street. Trams on this section would be unable to serve the stop at Picardy Place and an additional stop would be provided close-by on Leith Street.
- Section D would be an on-street alignment between Nicholson Square and the BioQuarter. Again this is a protected alignment and is the only suitable route as topography prohibits alternative alignments. This route is already a corridor of high public transport demand and given the space constraints there will be competing demand for space between mass transit, car, bus and active travel which will be assessed in the preparation of the SBC.
- There are then three options considered for the South East corridor:
- Option E1a: BioQuarter to Newcraighall via a mainly segregated route
- Option E1b: BioQuarter to Sheriffhall via mixed on-street and segregated alignment
- Option E1c: BioQuarter to Sherrifhall via Shawfair on a segregated route
It is hoped that work on the SBC will be able to commence in February and if this is met it should be completed by September 2021 and then taken to the Transport and Environment Committee in early autumn 2021. However, there will need to stakeholder engagement during the preparation of this as very limited has taken place so far.