Green light for new tramway in Edinburgh

  • Updated9 September 2004
  • News

Since the closure of its tramway network in
1956, the capital city of Scotland (800,000
inhabitants in the metropolitan area) has seen
many attempts to reinstate light rail. But it is
only in 2003 that the Scottish Executive
formally agreed to fund the construction of a
modern tramway network.

The project, which consists in building 3 lines
linking the Northern, Western and Southern
parts of the metropolitan area with the city
centre, is being carried out by Transport
Initiatives Edinburgh (tie), a private company
set up in 2002 by the City of Edinburgh
Council. tie is also responsible for the
implementation of the proposed congestion
charging scheme, that shall be unveiled later
in 2004.

The introduction of a tram system is part of a
€2.25 billion Integrated Transport Initiative for
South East Scotland. Current projects include
the West Edinburgh Bus System (WEBS), also
being delivered by tie, improvements to bus
services, six new Park & Ride facilities and
increased provision for cyclists and pedestrians.

The aim is to give people a real choice to the
private car and, by reducing road congestion,
to boost the economic performance of
Edinburgh and South East Scotland.

The first two tramway lines that will be built
(Northern loop and Western line) will serve
major areas like the airport and redevelopment
sites along their 31km routes with 33 stations.

13 million passengers are expected to use
these two lines every year when they start
operations in 2009. The cost of the project
amounts to €715 million.

French operator Transdev has been selected by
tie to build, operate and maintain the tramway
network during 15 years.