LRTA logo Light Rail Transit Association
Light Rail for better public transport

Edinburgh Introduction

Since the closure of the Edinburgh tramway network in 1956 there has been a number of attempts to reinstate a tramway system and with the announcement by the then Scottish Executive in March 2003 of a GBP375 million investment in public transport improvements for Edinburgh, which would fund at least one, and possibly two, of the 3 proposed tram routes, the possibility of a modern tramway system in Edinburgh now looked better than it had for 50 years.

The tramway proposals were taken forward by 'tie' (transport initiatives edinburgh) which was an arm's length Council-owned company. It was to deliver a number of major public transport schemes in and around Edinburgh within the next 10-15 years, including the tram network, the West Edinburgh Guided Busway and a heavy rail link to Edinburgh airport.

The lines proposed were:

The actual project has been considerably revised due to a number of factors. Only one tramline would be built initially, from Newhaven via Leith and the city centre to the Gyle and terminating at the airport. Instead of a heavy rail link to the airport, interchange stations will be available at the Gogar depot for the Fife line, and Edinburgh Park for the Glasgow (Queen Street) lines (a new electric line has been opened by extending the Bathgate line as part of EGIP - Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Project). However, during fractious weeks at the City of Edinburgh Council, it was proposed that for cost reasons even this one line, if it was to survive at all, would be reduced. It was finally opened at the end of May 2014 running between the Airport and York Place, just short of the intended Picardy Place stop.

The guided bus route has been replaced by the western tram route.

The tramline has proved to be an outstanding success for the extent to which it runs, and has also succeeded in increasing the number of bus users. In Passenger Focus reports the tram service and its staff continue to score highly.

Edinburgh Introduction: top