Edinburgh Trams Countdown: The Route & Trams

So just where will Edinburgh Trams be going? And what about the trams in the fleet, what are they? Well if they are questions you have wanted to ask but haven’t this is the place to find the answers!

The Route

Line 1 of Edinburgh Trams (OK we’re being a bit optimistic here in that it is currently the only line but who knows what the future may bring!) runs for 14km (8.6 miles if you prefer but we think 14km sounds more impressive in this instance!) between Edinburgh Airport and York Place in the city centre with 15 tram stops including one park and ride site, interchange with three railway stations, an airport and lots of bus routes.

The 15 stops are:

Edinburgh Airport

Ingliston Park and Ride


Gyle Centre

Edinburgh Park Central

Edinburgh Park Station (interchange with Scotrail services)




Murrayfield Stadium

Haymarket (interchange with local and national rail services)

West End – Princes Street

Princes Street

St Andrew Square (interchange with local and national rail services at Waverley station)

York Place

Trams will take approximately 40 minutes to run from end to end with priority over other road traffic at junctions to help speed the service up to make it a more attractive proposition to passengers.

The Depot

The state of the art depot at Gogar was one of the first pieces of infrastructure completed and was officially handed over to the Council in early 2012. It has plenty of space for all 27 trams in the fleet and all regular maintenance will be able to take place there although as with other systems in the UK any major accident damage is likely to have to be sent away for rectification.

The Trams

Whilst most tramways in the UK struggle for capacity Edinburgh Trams has completely the opposite problem as the 27 CAF built trams now preparing to enter service were ordered when the network was due to much bigger and attempts to sub-lease some of the vehicles elsewhere have proved fruitless.

The trams were built by CAF at their factory in Beasain, Spain and are the largest constructed for any system in the UK. Each tram is formed of seven sections and come in at 42.8 metres long. There is capacity for 250 people per vehicle with 78 of these being seated in plush high backed leather seats. One of the interesting internal features of the trams is special night screens which enable sections of the tram to be closed off at quieter times of operation.

The first of the trams to arrive in Edinburgh was 252 which was delivered on 26th April 2010. As this was before Gogar Depot had been completed it was put on display in Princes Street on already installed track. Unfortunately when its time on display was over the depot was still not completed so the tram had to be moved to open storage (in several sections) before it was finally moved to Gogar in October 2011. 252 was not in fact the first tram to arrive at the depot as 277 beat it to it by a few days becoming the second tram to be delivered to Edinburgh on 17th October 2011. Over time the remaining 25 trams were gradually delivered to Edinburgh before the final example, 269, arrived on 19th December 2012.

Even though the system has yet to open to the public there have been four (maybe five if you include the #readytoroll vinyls) different liveries carried on the trams although the first one was only carried on the mock-up:

* Harlequin Lothian Buses livery

* White with madder stripe and original Edinburgh Trams logo

* White with madder stripe and no logos

* Transport for Edinburgh livery (mainly white with madder and platinum relief)

At the present time the vast majority of the trams carry the Transport for Edinburgh livery style but at least one (262) is still known to be in the as delivered third livery. In addition 275 is carrying vinyls on side windows advertising the opening of the system on 31st May but these are expected to be removed in the coming weeks once the system is up and running.

Although the current system will not need anywhere near 27 trams it is expected that all of the vehicles will see fairly regular use (but by our reckoning less than 50% of the fleet will be needed on a daily basis). Currently no external advertising is being carried and is not known whether in the future Edinburgh Trams will seek this extra revenue stream but for now enjoy the uniform style of the trams as they carry fare paying passengers for the first time.

Key dates for the trams

26th April 2010: First tram, 252, delivered to Edinburgh and is displayed on Princes Street

17th October 2011: First tram, 277, arrives at Gogar Depot

12th December 2012: 277 becomes the first tram to run to Edinburgh Airport on test

19th December 2012: Last tram, 269, delivered to Gogar Depot

8th October 2013: Testing is extended to Edinburgh Park with 267 the first tram to do the honours

2nd December 2013: 264 becomes the first tram to reach Haymarket when it performs a walking speed test on the recently completed section from Edinburgh Park.

4th December 2013: First tram for 57 years travels down Princes Street when 264 operates the first test run.

31st May 2014: Which tram will have the honour of running the 0500 from Gyle Centre to York Place and book its place in the history books?

262 - still in the as delivered livery - sits at St Andrew Square on 19th May 2014. This is believed to be the only vehicle still in these colours. (Photo: Alasdair Macfarlane)

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15 Responses to Edinburgh Trams Countdown: The Route & Trams

  1. With a system so bedevilled by “foul ups” it’s ironic that at the last hurdle, Edinburgh Trams have made such a mess of the timetable with Bankhead, Balgreen, Murrayfield Stadium AND (worst of all) St Andrew Square stops all omitted.

    • Paul D says:

      As you have already been told on the other thread where you previously posted the same criticism, no bus or tram timetable gives times for every stop on the route. Does Blackpool “foul up” by not giving times for Tower, South Pier, or London Street among others? and what do you make of Manchester Metrolink who don’t give any times for intermediate points??

  2. Paul says:

    40 mins for 8.6 miles – that’s 12.9mph – hardly impressive!

  3. In my opinion, to omit St Andrew Square, the nearest stop to Waverley railway station and Edinburgh bus station, is to say the least strange !

  4. Chris Thornburn says:

    This article is headed “The Route and Trams”, but what it doesn’t give is a fleet list. It mentions Nos. 252 and 277, but that is a sequence of 26 when there are apparently 27 cars — what is the 27th? And why does the numbering start where it does? Croydon carries on from the highest-numbered LT car as was; Midland Metro and Blackpool start over at No.1 (ignoring those ridiculous leading zeros – incidentally does B’pool 007 have a licence to kill … ??). Edinburgh’s old fleet ended with 371, 411 was the last Pilcher — what’s the significance of the mid-200’s?

  5. Paul says:

    who knows, remember back in 1999 midland metro opened there line one with 2 other routes planned and 15 years later a extension in birmingham is being built.

  6. Must admit, the apparent random numbering of Edinburgh Trams has baffled me. However, I recently came across a bus enthusists’ Lothian Bus fleet list showing a gap between (bus) fleet numbers 215 (reg SN51 BCK) and 278 (reg SN08 BYW)…..which would accomodate Edinburgh Trams’ fleet numbers 251 – 277.

  7. Bill Barlow says:

    No Lothian Buses occupy these numbers.

  8. Alasdair Taylor says:

    On a visit to the Gogar Depot last year I asked about the numbering and was given to understand that it followed on from the number of the last built tram from the previous Edinburgh system. However, my 1950s fleet list (compiled from various sources) suggests that that was No.225, which should have made the first CAF vehicle 226….

  9. Responding to Bill Barlow, it was always understood that Edinburgh Trams would come under the “umbrella”of Lothian Buses. Since December 2013 both operators have been grouped within Transport For Edinburgh.

  10. Worth mentioning that tram 252 had to be moved from its original “display” site owing to security fears associated with the (then) Pope’s visit to Edinburgh and his cavavalcade down Princes Street.

  11. Re tram numbering, today ( Wed 11 Jun 14) in response to my enquiry, Edinburgh Trams state:
    “Thank you for your further email. The numbering of the trams was decided upon by a member of senior management at Lothian Buses. It was a group of numbers not being used by the buses and were therefore allocated to the trams”.

  12. Final words on tram numbering:Thumbing through August 2014 issue Buses Magazine, pages 40 – 43 (incl) have an article titled “Tracks, Tears ……And Triumph” dedicated to Edinburgh trams by respected Edinburgh transport author Gavin Booth .
    At page41 he states …….”And the tram depot is at Gogar, en routev to the airport, housing the 27 seven-section 42.8m-long 250-passenger (78 seated) Spanish-built CAF Urbo trams, numbered 251-77 in a gap in the Lothian Buses numbering scheme”.

  13. Ross says:

    Regarding the photo of 262 (and the caption) – I believe 269 is still in this livery too. These haven’t been changed because the council have retained the right to brand these ones separately if they so desire. I assume this would be for advertising, but they haven’t gone down that route yet.

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