The project to re-introduce trams to Edinburgh is one of the most exciting transport projects in Scotland and will provide significant improvements in transport for Edinburgh. Not only will transport benefit, but the tram system will help the regeneration of various parts of the city and make it a more attractive place to live and work.
Mr. McLaughlan began by briefly outlining the history of the tram proposals. The origin of the proposals can be traced back to the 1998 White Paper "Scotland's Transport Future" and in 2000 a feasibility study was undertaken for a North Edinburgh Transit Solution, that included details of a tram system. In 2002 tie was established and Scottish Executive funding was secured to enable two Private Bills to be drawn up for submission to the Scottish Parliament. These Bills would cover Line 1 and Line 2 of the scheme. In 2004 - 5 the Bills were submitted to the Scottish Parliament and committees of MSP's heard evidence on both lines.
In 2006, the Scottish Parliament passed both Bills and they received Royal Assent, so the project could commence. The next task was to draft the business case and this was approved by the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Executive in 2007. In June 2007, the Scottish government confirmed that it would provide funding support of £500 million for the construction of the trams. An audit carried out in September 2007 confirmed the project status and in December 2007, the final business case was approved by City of Edinburgh Council. This meant that work could now start.
The first of Edinburgh's new trams on display in Princes Street.
© John G. Fender 2011
Phase 1a of the tram route runs from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven via Ingleston, Edinburgh Park, Haymarket, St. Andrew Square, Leith Walk and Ocean Terminal. Phase 1b will run from a point west of Haymarket to Granton via Craigleith and Crewe Toll. Phase 2 will link phase 1a and phase 1b between Granton and Newhaven. Finally, phase 3 will extend the line to Newbridge via Ratho and Ingleston. The total length of the system is 24 km.
Trams are seen as the best solution for a number of problems that Edinburgh is facing. There are major developments underway at the Waterfront and in the west of Edinburgh and by 2015 forcasts estimate that there will be 30,000 new jobs created and there will be a need for 23,800 new houses. By 2024, the population of Edinburgh is expected to reach just under 500,000. This growth will place extra demands on existing road space and the public transport network It is estimated that by 2031, demand for car travel in the area will increase by 37%, but the demand for public transport will increase by 61%, a significant increase.
In 2005, the detailed design work commenced with the placement of a contract with Parsons Brinkerhoff and Halcrow. This resulted in the production of around 325 design packages and some 12,000 drawings. This work will be complete by mid 2008. The diversion of utilities is essential and a contract for this work was awarded to AMIS and this will be completed by December 2008. Meanwhile, CAF will commence production of 27 trams, with an option for an additional 4 vehicles. These will all have a 30 year warranty and the last tram should be complete by 2010.
Work on the main infrastructure commenced in February 2008 and includes delivery of the trackform, structures, roads and pavements and control systems.. This contract was awarded to BBS, a joint venture between Bilfinger Berger, the second largest construction company in Germany and Siemens Group, a global leader in electrical systems. During construction, around 1,000 jobs will be created and there will be 930 new, permanent jobs created. Commissioning and testing of the first phase should commence in December 2009 and driver training is planned for July 2010. The system should open to the public in February 2011.
After the presentation there was a lively debate and both speakers answered a great number of questions on many different aspects of the proposals.
You can click on this link to download a copy of the presentation on Edinburgh Trams. (PDF Format - 4.2Mb)
Report by John Fender.
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