EDINBURGH CITY COUNCIL PLANNING NEW TRAM ROUTE
The City of Edinburgh Council is set to launch plans for a new tram route that will stretch across a different section of the city.
With works down on the Newhaven line extension still in progress, officials are set to put forward the proposals, which would see the tram operate on a north to south line.
Hoped to run from Granton, through the city centre and down to the furthest south point of the capital, The Herald reports that the proposals will be released with more detail later this year – along with the possibility of reopening the south side railway line.
Expected to cost somewhere in the region of £1bn, it is thought that the new tram route would be completed by 2030, if it gets approval.
Transport convener councillor Scott Arthur believes that the tram extension forms part of his administration’s strategy to revamp the capital’s transport system.
Mr Arthur said: “This new tram line will be the largest expansion of public transport we will have seen in Edinburgh this century – the line will more than double the capacity of the tram.
It’s a key part of our ambition to hit net zero targets and reduce car miles in the city – we will listen to residents on this issue, and work with them to transform and de-carbonise the transportation system in our capital.”
He added: “This will also be an opportunity to invest in active transport, so we will learn any lessons from the trams to Newhaven active travel scheme which has been the subject of international media attention.”
Adam McVey, leader of the council’s SNP group, said: “The climate crisis is only getting worse, as is congestion in the city. We need to help people get around easier and greener; we simply can’t leave people to get stuck in traffic.
Light rail was included in the Scottish Government’s most recent STPR2 [second Strategic Transport Projects Review] so we know the door is open to seek support for further extensions so we need to start making progress now.”
However, Scottish Conservative MSP for Lothian, Miles Briggs, said: “The trams project in Edinburgh has come at a huge expense to taxpayers across the capital and we still haven’t received the final report on why the original tram projects was so far over budget and mismanaged.
Any further tram extension plans must fully considered given the fact Edinburgh faces a number of major funding challenges, due to the underfunding of the council by SNP and Green ministers. It is clear that a tram extension is not a priority at the moment and any future feasibility study will present significant logistical challenges and costs.”