Final tracks laid for trams to Newhaven
The Trams to Newhaven project has reached a major milestone after laying the final piece of track connecting Edinburgh’s existing tram system to the new line.
Ahead of passenger services beginning next spring, the last section of rail has been laid at Picardy Place. As the project nears completion, two-way traffic will also permanently resume between Great Junction Street and Duke Street this week.
The finishing touches are being made, including removing most of the fencing and filling excavations around the lamppost columns along Leith Walk, before sites close for Christmas in line with a construction industry-wide shut down. All main infrastructure work is now complete with testing and commissioning to commence in the new year.
While it was originally anticipated that two-way traffic would return to the full length of Leith Walk this week, recent freezing weather has impacted the necessary surfacing and paving works, as well as concrete supply. As a result, two-way traffic is expected to be introduced to the length of the street in January. Vehicles can still travel in both directions between London Road and Pilrig Street and the project remains within budget and on schedule to be operational by spring 2023.
Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said: “This is a landmark moment in the Trams to Newhaven project – we now have a continuous line running from the airport to Newhaven, which will be carrying passengers in a matter of months.
“As we near completion the route is really taking shape – it will truly transform travel to the north of the city and boost the local economy. Not only will the tram provide a high capacity, sustainable form of transport for thousands each day, but improvements to the streetscape will create much more welcoming spaces for people walking, wheeling and spending time along the route.”
He added: “The project team has worked extremely hard to get to this stage, despite the Covid pandemic and industry-wide issues with labour and materials. While recent freezing weather has regretfully had a slight impact on plans, the majority of infrastructure work is complete, and the project remains on schedule for delivery on time and in budget by spring 2023.
“I’d like to thank all those living and working near their route for their patience. I look forward to delivering a tram service to your doorstep in the near future, and to the benefits it will bring you and the wider city.”
SCN editor Kieran Findlay visited the Trams to Newhaven team earlier this year and published a long read on the project here.