Latest Rail News


Decision due on Edinburgh tram extension as cost rises to £207m

The business case for extending Edinburgh’s tram network in a £196m project has entered its final stage, with councillors in the Scottish capital scrutinising the case ahead of a decision next month.

Originally estimated to cost £165m, the final business case for the tram network extension reveals that the controversial project could now cost at least £207m – including ‘optimism bias.’

The city council is considering extending Edinburgh’s tram network to Newhaven, adding an extra 2.8 miles of tram line, and the authority expects 16 million people to use the system each year once in place.

Edinburgh councillors will now examine the final business case “in fine detail” in a month-long process, analysing the strategic, economic, financial, commercial, and management case for taking trams to Newhaven and Leith.

If approved by councillors, the tram works should be completed by 2022 and operational by early 2023.

The core tram network was installed in 2014, but the project came in at twice its original budget, and failings on the scheme have led to an on-going public inquiry.

But Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey said he was confident there would not be a repeat of those failings with the new scheme, which launched in 2017 and was followed by an extensive public consultation early last year.

McVey commented: “As Scotland’s fastest growing city, things simply cannot continue as they are – the transport system must evolve to cater to a rapidly growing population.

“The final business case before us now is the result of a huge amount of work by the project team to produce a strong business case for taking trams to Newhaven which – crucially – does not divert funding from other council services.”

The project will be funding through future tram fairs and a special dividend from Lothian Buses, and councillors will be asked to approve the £207m budget on 14 March.

But Conservative leader Iain Whyte expressed “huge concerns” over a project which works out as £92m per mile, and warned that rather than connect the city the plans were “likely to bankrupt the city.”

Deputy council leader Cammy Day said a tram to Newhaven would “not only provide a direct link for the people of Newhaven and Leith to the city centre and out to the airport, but would connect residents and visitors to major employment and travel hubs along the route.

“Completing the original vision for the first phase of the Edinburgh Trams network would unlock a large area of the city for housing development and employment opportunities.”


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

  • 11/09/2019The next generation of rail infrastructure

    How the rail industry delivers the next generation of complex infrastructure will rely heavily on the people tasked with leading the projects, and the technology they use to do it. Faithful+Gould...
  • 11/09/2019Putting passengers first

    How does the rail industry design the railways for the next 40 years, and when it does, how do we make sure it’s all done with the passenger in mind? Jane Fisher joined three members of the Arup team...
View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Connecting Network Rail with the supply chain

17/09/2019Connecting Network Rail with the supply chain

Continuing our mission to connect buyers with suppliers, This year TransCityRail North is adding a new element to the event. We are introducing an incomparable opportunity for you to meet with over 11 procurement directors from Network Rail... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >