THE final sections of Edinburgh’s trams to Newhaven tracks are soon to be laid as the full line gets set to be electrified for the first time.
Energisation of newly installed overhead lines during November and December will allow a testing and commissioning period to begin at the start of 2023, the City of Edinburgh Council said.
Two final concrete pours will also take place 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 also been completed and major civil works are finished on five of the eight new tram stops.
The local authority said that the project remains on schedule for completion by spring 2023 and within the £207.3 million budget, with all major construction anticipated to be complete by the end of 2022 ahead of the testing and commissioning period.
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.”