Edinburgh’s £207.3m trams to Newhaven project enters testing phase

EDINBURGH’S trams to Newhaven project is set to enter a testing and commissioning phase as the £207.3 million development nears completion.

Two-way traffic will return to Leith Walk this month as electrification of the full line gets underway which will allow for the period of testing and commissioning.

The City of Edinburgh Council said that the first test trams are expected on the route at the beginning of March, with final track preparations taking place in the lead up to the first tram running.

It comes as all tram track, overhead line poles and communications, and power ducting has been installed – with 93% of the overhead lines being in place, and the final section at Picardy Place being installed over the next two weeks.

The council said that the wider project remains on schedule for completion by spring this year and within the £207.3 million budget, with all major construction works now complete ahead of the testing and commissioning period.

However, it added that ‘small pockets’ of public realm works will be completed over the coming months. The local authority explained that the delay has been caused due to the industry-wide challenges surrounding the availability of materials and skilled labour.

Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said, “In just a matter of weeks we’ll see test trams running the length of the trams to Newhaven route, which is really exciting. Energising the overhead lines and buffering of the tram tracks are the final steps before this happens.

“Reopening Leith Walk to two-way traffic is a key moment for the project too and, I’m sure, for all those who live and work in the area. I’d like to thank residents and businesses for their patience and support while we’ve carried out these works.

“Once fully complete, this project will be transformative for Leith Walk and the rest of the route, while benefitting the wider city economy and helping to cut congestion. Not only will it provide reliable, high-capacity connections to the north of the city but has significantly improved and enhanced public spaces and active travel links along the line.”