Edinburgh Trams extension opens

UK: The Newhaven extension of the Edinburgh tramway opened at midday on June 7, adding 4·69 km and eight stops to the line.

Trams run every 7 to 10 min from 06.00 to midnight, seven days a week.

A piper accompanied the first tram into the Picardy Place stop, and Dance Base performed a specially choreographed ‘tram ballet’.

The earliest passengers were able to purchase ‘platinum’ tram tickets from machines at Picardy Place and Newhaven stops, and Pulse of the Place youth samba band performed at Newhaven. A guard of honour from the High Constabulary of the Port of Leith welcomed the tram wearing full parade dress, including top hats, whistles and ceremonial batons.

Edinburgh tram

The start of services to Newhaven ‘is a real landmark moment for Edinburgh, as we bring this high capacity, sustainable and reliable service to the north of the city’, said Council Leader Cammy Day.

‘I know many will share in my excitement, and optimism for the benefits this development will provide. We’ve already seen vast improvements to spaces along the route and long-term I’m looking forward to the impact it will have on the local economy, which even now we’re starting to see.’


Edinburgh tram

The eastern extension was originally to have been built as the part of the first phase of the tram project, which was descoped when the project ran late and over budget. Edinburgh city council approved the outline business case for the extension in 2017, and in March 2019 gave final approval of the award of two construction contracts.

Morrison Utility Services was awarded the Swept Path contract, covering the identification and relocation of underground services along the route from York Place to Newhaven.

A joint venture of Sacyr, Farrans and Neopul was awarded the Infrastructure & Systems contract, covering the main design and construction works, systems integration, testing and commissioning.

Siemens Mobility was awarded a £1·4m contract to provide control system integration services.

Anturas Consulting was business case lead advisor, while Turner & Townsend was involved from the earliest stages, supporting the business case and providing day-to-day project and cost management services.

Edinburgh tram

Construction began in November 2019 and was completed within a budget of £207·3m, although work was suspended for 12 weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some public realm works are still to be completed.

‘From start to finish, the Trams to Newhaven project has been a real team effort, and over the past few months the Edinburgh Trams team has worked tirelessly on extensive testing and commissioning to ensure the new route integrates seamlessly with the original line’, said Edinburgh Trams Managing Director Lea Harrison.