Rail service improvements and disruptions

15.03.19

£200m Edinburgh tram extension given green light despite criticism for ‘arrogant’ plans of ‘unknown financial risk’

Councillors have rubber-stamped £207m plans to extend Edinburgh’s tram line from the city centre to Newhaven despite major criticism over the project’s rising costs and the disruptions it could cause.

Edinburgh City Council voted 36 to 26 in favour of the controversial plans to extend the tram line in the Scottish capital by 2.8 miles to Newhaven.

Supporters claim the extension is needed to match the city’s growing population with the tram works due to be completed by 2020 and operational in early 2023, as Edinburgh faces the choice to “develop or die as a city.”

But the plans have been approved before the findings of an inquiry into the problem-hit installation of the core tram network in 2014 have been published, with that project coming in at twice its original budget.

The Newhaven extension has also already seen a substantial rise in costs with the final business case predicting costs of £207m compared to the original estimate of £165m.

The city council expects nearly 16 million people to use the completed tram line in the first year of its operation, and construction work is set to get underway at the end of March with work also ongoing to finalise a £2.4m package to support businesses through the process.

The city council’s transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes called it a “crucial decision” for Edinburgh.

She said: “Taking trams to Newhaven will allow brownfield development sites to be transformed, opening up the whole of north Edinburgh to a wealth of opportunities in terms of jobs, housing and local facilities. And vitally, this will be achieved without putting pressure on existing council budgets.

“Our city is growing faster than anywhere else in Scotland and boosting our public transport infrastructure in a sustainable way is fundamental to catering to our expanding population.”

She added: “I firmly believe the tram project is in the best interests of the city's current and future residents and, as an a dministration, we will do everything in our power to make sure it's delivered on time and on budget. Next stop: Newhaven!”

The extension proposals, which will be funded by borrowing and repaid revenue from future ticket sales and a £20m dividend from Lothian Buses, was rejected by the two opposition parties.

The Conservative transport spokesperson, Nick Cook, said the council should invest in schools instead of a £93m per mile tram extension and warned of “unknown financial risk” and “terrible value for money.”

He added: “The Edinburgh tram inquiry is set to become one of the most expensive in British history. It is arrogant in the extreme that the council has today opted to proceed without the Inquiry’s full findings.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Grand Central plans new rail route from Blackpool to London from spring 2020

25/06/2019Grand Central plans new rail route from Blackpool to London from spring 2020

Grand Central will run a new route from Blackpool to London from spring 2020, the train operator announced today. T... more >
Transport for Wales awards first ECI contracts for £700m South Wales Metro

25/06/2019Transport for Wales awards first ECI contracts for £700m South Wales Metro

Transport for Wales (TfW) has awarded three companies to begin preparatory works on the £738m South Wales Metro, t... more >
Increasing passenger confidence and accessibility with the Rail Delivery Group

25/06/2019Increasing passenger confidence and accessibility with the Rail Delivery Group

The Rail Delivery Group plans to make travelling by train easier than ever before by making trains and stations more acc... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Increasing passenger confidence and accessibility with the Rail Delivery Group

25/06/2019Increasing passenger confidence and accessibility with the Rail Delivery Group

The Rail Delivery Group plans to make travelling by train easier than ever before by making trains and stations more accessible and developing a ... more >
Diversity, inclusion and marking 100 years of Women in Engineering

24/06/2019Diversity, inclusion and marking 100 years of Women in Engineering

100 years of Women in Engineering, and transforming the future too One hundred years on from the birth of the Women in Engineering Society (... more >
Challenging perceptions of apprenticeships in the rail industry with Anna Delvecchio

20/06/2019Challenging perceptions of apprenticeships in the rail industry with Anna Delvecchio

RTM talks exclusively to one of the rising stars of the industry and Transport’s Woman of the Year 2018, Anna Delvecchio. Amey’s... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

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

By Ewan Quayle, Rail Technology Magazine Reporter Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on R... more >