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The Edinburgh Trams project is a scheme to build a new tramway in Edinburghmarker, Scotland. Local public transport had been limited to buses since the closing of the city’s previous Edinburgh Corporation Tramways system on 16 November 1956.

Following years of transport studies in Edinburgh, two bill were submitted to the Scottish Parliamentmarker to reintroduce a tram network to Edinburgh. Both bills were passed in March/April 2006, and received Royal Assent. Movement of underground utilities commenced in Spring 2007, once the draft business case had been accepted by the Scottish Government.

Construction work started in June 2007 based on a design by System Design Services (SDS, a joint design contract led by Parsons Brinckerhoff and Halcrow). The project is being overseen by Transport Initiatives Edinburgh , a company wholly owned by the City of Edinburgh Council. Work relocating utilities is ongoing and construction of the tram infrastructure commenced following the award of the final contracts to BBS and CAF in May 2008.

In February 2009 work on the Princes Street section of the works was stopped due to funding problems; this dispute was later resolved and work recommenced. In April 2009, it was announced that Edinburgh City Council are to postpone development of Phase 1b due to the global recession.

Once the line becomes operational it will be operated by Transdev who were awarded the contract in 2004 to help develop, and eventually operate the trams.

Ticketing and fares will be fully integrated with Lothian Buses. The fare for a single journey on the tram network will be the same as on Lothian Buses, expected to be around £1.25 when the network opens in 2011. Day tickets and Ridacards will be valid on both the trams and buses.

The initial estimated date of opening for Phase 1a was July 2011, at a cost of £512 million.

Critical scrutiny

The Scottish National Party (SNP) published its intention to scrap the scheme, along with the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link in its manifesto for the Scottish Parliament general election, 2007 to save a total of £1.1bn.

Following a vote in the Scottish Parliamentmarker, the Scottish Government agreed to continue with the line from the Airport to Leith on condition that no more public money would be supplied if the project overran. A report by Audit Scotland, commissioned by the SNP-led Scottish Government, confirmed that the cost projections were sound.

On 25 October 2007 Edinburgh City Council gave approval to the Final Business Case. Approval was given by the Council on 22 December 2007 for TIE to sign contracts with CAF for the supply of the vehicles and BBS (a consortium of Siemens and Bilfinger Berger) for the design, construction and building of the network. Contract negotiations were concluded in April 2008 with construction of the network commencing in June 2008.


The proposal consists of three lines, of which lines One and Two have parliamentary permission. For funding reasons, the network will be built in three phases. Phase 1a would consist of an 11½ mile line from Newhaven to Edinburgh Airport via Princes Streetmarker. Phase 1b would be a 3½ mile line from Haymarket to Granton Square. Phase 2 would link Granton Square and Newhaven together. Phase 3 would extend the airport line to Newbridge. It is hoped that phase 1a of the network will be operational by 2011.

The network will be operated from a depot that will be situated close to the A8 roundabout just north of the Gylemarker tram stop.

Line 1 (North Edinburgh)

The first route will be a circular route between the City Centre, Leithmarker, Newhavenmarker and Grantonmarker. It will be integrated with the cycle and pedestrian path along the Roseburnmarker wildlife corridor or the former railway between West Coates and Granton.

Please note that routeings, station names, and station locations are subject to change.

Name Phase Transport Interchange Serves
Haymarket Phase 1a Haymarket railway stationmarker
Lothian Buses
Line 2 (West Edinburgh)

Edinburgh International Conference Centremarker
Shandwick Place Phase 1a
Princes Street Phase 1a Princes Streetmarker
National Gallery of Scotlandmarker
St Andrew Square ( Edinburgh Waverleymarker) Phase 1a Lothian Buses
Edinburgh Bus Stationmarker
Waverley Stationmarker

St Andrew Squaremarker

James Centremarker
Picardy Place Phase 1a Omni Centre
Edinburgh Playhousemarker
McDonald Road Phase 1a Easter Road Stadiummarker
Balfour Street Phase 1a Pilrig Park
Foot of the Walk Phase 1a Lothian Buses
Constitution Street Phase 1a
Port of Leith (formerly Ocean Drive) Phase 1a Scottish Government building
Ocean Terminal Phase 1a Ocean Terminalmarker
Royal Yacht Britanniamarker
Newhaven Phase 1a Newhavenmarker
Lower Granton Phase 2
Granton (formerly Granton Square) Phase 1b
Saltire Square (formerly Granton Waterfront) Phase 1b
Caroline Park Phase 1b Telford Collegemarker
West Pilton (formerly West Granton) Phase 1b
Crewe Toll Phase 1b Lothian Buses Fettes Collegemarker
Telford road Phase 1b Western General Hospitalmarker
Craigleith Phase 1b Craigleith Retail Park
Ravelston Dykes Phase 1b Scottish National Gallery of Modern Artmarker
Stewart's Melville Collegemarker
The Mary Erskine Schoolmarker
St. George's Schoolmarker

Roseburn Phase 1b
The line continues to Haymarket to complete the loop

Line 2 (West Edinburgh)

The second route will run from the City Centre out to Edinburgh Airportmarker via Edinburgh Park, with a branch line to Newbridgemarker. In February 2005, construction of a bus guideway, which forms part of the route, was completed. The guideway is designed for conversion to tram running, and between proposed stops 4 and 6 runs adjacent to the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, between Haymarketmarker and Edinburgh Parkmarker stations.

The Scottish Government announced on 27 September 2007 the cancellation of the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link and that they would build a new rail station and tram stop on the Fife Railway line this would allow fast connection to Edinburgh Airport. Costs for this have not been stated and would be in addition to the currently budgeted for amount.

Please note that routes, station names, and station locations are subject to change.

Name Phase Transport Interchange Serves
Between the city centre and Haymarket, trams run along Line 1.
Haymarket Phase 1a Haymarket railway stationmarker
Lothian Buses
Line 1 (North Edinburgh)

Edinburgh International Conference Centremarker
Murrayfield Phase 1a Murrayfield Stadiummarker
Balgreen Phase 1a Edinburgh Zoomarker
Saughton Phase 1a
Bankhead (formerly South Gyle) Phase 1a Stevenson Collegemarker
Edinburgh Park Station Phase 1a Edinburgh Park railway stationmarker Hermiston Gait retail park
Edinburgh Park Central Phase 1a Edinburgh Park
Gyle Centre Phase 1a Gyle Shopping Centre
Gogarburn Phase 1a Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters
Ingliston Park and Ride Phase 1a Lothian Buses
At this point the line diverges; one branch runs to Edinburgh Airport, the other to Newbridge North
Edinburgh Airport Phase 1a Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Edinburgh Airportmarker
Ingliston West Phase 3 Royal Highland Showgroundmarker
Ratho Station Phase 3
Newbridge South Phase 3
Newbridge North Phase 3

Line 3 (South East Edinburgh)

The third tram line would run from the City Centre towards the Edinburgh Royal Infirmarymarker and finally connecting with Newcraighallmarker railway station and park and ride, with a possible extension to Musselburghmarker.

The third route has yet to be submitted to the Scottish Parliament. Funding for the line depended on Edinburgh voters agreeing to a congestion charge, which was rejected in the Edinburgh road tolls referendum, 2005. As such, the proposal is on hold and does not form part of the proposed phases, but the land needed for the line will be protected for at least 10 years.

Name Phase Transport Interchange Serves
Waverley station N/A Edinburgh Waverley railway stationmarker
Lothian Buses
Line 1 (North Edinburgh)

High Street N/A Royal Mile
South Bridge N/A
Nicolson Square N/A University of Edinburgh George Square campus
St Patrick Square N/A
The Meadows N/A The Meadows
Newington Road N/A Newingtonmarker
Minto Street N/A
Newington Station N/A Interchange with South Suburban Railway at Newington Station
Craigmillar Park N/A University of Edinburgh King's Buildings campus (at some distance)
Cameron Toll N/A Cameron Toll Shopping Centremarker
The Inch N/A
Moredun N/A Moredunmarker
RIE/Bio Medipark N/A Royal Infirmary of Edinburghmarker
Greendykes N/A Greendykesmarker
Craigmillar N/A Craigmillarmarker
Niddrie N/A Niddriemarker
The Wisp N/A
Fort Kinnaird N/A Fort Kinnairdmarker retail park
Newcraighall N/A Newcraighall railway stationmarker

Tram vehicles

A replica of the proposed trams was placed on Princes Street in early 2009
The contract to build the trams was awarded to CAF and is worth up to £40 million and will be built to meet tie's specifications. Special requirements that tie has put on the bi-directional vehicles are low noise and a visual fit suitable for a World Heritage Site.

The trams will be 42.8m long and 100% low floor built to meet UK Rail Vehicle Access Regulations for disabled people. Passenger capacity will be 332 with 80 seated and 250 standing and the trams will be fitted with CCTV. The trams will have to cope with the steep slopes of Edinburgh.

Willie Gallagher, former chairman of TIE, said: "Edinburgh will have the most advanced tram system in the world."

CAF was selected from amongst the four manufacturers who submitted tenders. Alstom, Bombardier, and Siemens were the other companies competing to build the 27 vehicles.

A full size mockup of the front of the proposed tram has been constructed and was on display on Princes Street for the public to view, it is now on Constitution Street at the foot of Leith Walk. It shows the interior and exterior of a tram.

See also


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