Trams to Newhaven lines to go live

Trams to Newhaven lines to go live

Aerial view of Leith Walk

The final sections of Trams to Newhaven track in Edinburgh are soon to be laid as the project prepares for the electrification of the full line.

Energisation of newly installed overhead lines during November and December will allow a testing and commissioning period to begin at the start of 2023.

Two final concrete pours will take also take place this week at Rennie’s Isle and Melrose Drive. The Rennie’s Isle pour will be the longest on the project (170m) and once completed track will be laid from Picardy Place to Newhaven, leaving only a small section at York Place to link the existing line with the new track.

To date, 4.5km (96%) of track has been laid, with tram track now running continuously from Picardy Place to Tower Place, 100% of utility diversions have been completed and major civil works are finished on five of the eight new tram stops.

In the lead-up to overhead lines going live, a communications campaign will remind residents, businesses and stakeholders about the changes, including safety requirements and permits needed to carry out any work on properties along the route.

Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said: “Both the electrification of overhead lines along the entire Trams to Newhaven route and final concrete pours are major milestones for this important council project, and signal the final touches being made before we see trams on Leith Walk and beyond.

“A great deal of work has gone into reaching this stage, as progress on tracklaying, completed sections and other elements shows. That the project is still on schedule for delivery on time and in budget is thanks to the efforts of the entire team involved, who have had to contend with a Covid-related site shutdown and industry-wide labour and material challenges over the last three years.

“Of course, I’m also appreciative of local residents and businesses for their patience during this time. I’m confident that the finished scheme will be extremely beneficial to the community, transforming the streetscape, boosting the economy and proving reliable, sustainable journeys to and from the city centre.”

Maria Ortega, Sacyr Farrans Neopul (SFN), project director on Edinburgh Trams York Place to Newhaven, said: “As contractors on the Trams to Newhaven project we are excited to be reaching these key milestones which are critical to ensuring the delivery of the Edinburgh Trams to Newhaven Line. Our efforts are firmly focused on ensuring that we continue to work in a safe and timely manner to deliver a high-quality end product.

“As contractors, SFN has brought extensive experience in the light rail sector to this project. Despite the challenges of unprecedented times that we have experienced throughout the life cycle of the project we are proud of the progress we have made by working successfully alongside our partners, supply chain and client.”

The Trams to Newhaven project remains on schedule for completion by spring 2023 and within the £207.3m budget, with all major construction anticipated to be complete by the end of 2022 ahead of the testing and commissioning period.

However, due to industry wide challenges with the availability of materials and skilled labour, impacted by Brexit and the war in Ukraine along with significant demand for labour in the UK and overseas, there are small pockets of public realm works that will now be completed in early 2023. Full details of the updated programme are available on the Trams to Newhaven website.

Progress to date includes:

  • Almost 4.5km (96%) of tram track laid
  • 100% of all utility diversions completed
  • 4.3km (93%) of communication ducting installed
  • 4.25km of power ducting installed
  • 136 overhead line poles installed (64% of the total)
  • Major civil works completed on both power substations (on Leith Walk and Melrose Drive)
  • Over 67,000 deliveries from the logistic hubs to local businesses
  • Almost 28,000 itison vouchers sold, generating £280,000 spend in participating businesses on the route

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