The Edinburgh Tramway currently consists of an 8.7 mile route from Edinburgh Airport on the western outskirts of the City to York Place in the City Centre. The route was initially intended to continue on to Newhaven, near Leith on the shoreline of the River Forth, however the route was cut back to York Place due to a funding crisis. However there are now plans for the line to be extended from York Place to Newhaven in the next few years, indeed at York Place, there is a crossover built in to allow for the track to easily be added in.
There were plans for a branch from West of Haymarket to Granton that would mostly have been on the alignment of a former railway line, and would eventually be joined up with the original line at Newhaven, creating a circular route and also for a branch from the Airport line at Ingliston heading to Newbridge, both lines have been cancelled but may be revived in the future.
The opening of the tramway was much delayed having been due to open in February 2011 and eventually opening on 31st May 2014, over 3 years late.
The first tram arrived in Edinburgh during 2010. Tram 252 was displayed on Princes Street at the newly built tram stop over the summer and it was later displayed at Leith.
From December 2013 testing took place on weekdays between Edinburgh Airport and Edinburgh Park. Tram 264 had the honour of becoming the 1st tram to reach York Place, doing so overnight between 4/5th December 2013. On 18th December tram 265 also reached York Place with a run to reveal the livery that the trams would carry in service (actually the 3rd livery carried by the trams since delivery) to the press.
Testing and driver training intensified over the following months eventually with a full trial timetable running in the weeks before the tramway opened, all leading up to the big day, when the tramway would finally open to the public.
The tramway finally opened to the public on Saturday 31st May 2014, with a low key launch. 1000 platinum tickets were issued (the number was evenly spread between machines at each of the stops on the system) for the first 1000 passengers. Tram 255 was first to leave Gogar depot that morning, heading to the turn back loop at Haymarket Yards as a standby tram for any breakdowns. Tram 275, the first service tram, arrived at Gyle Centre from Gogar Depot just before 5am and such was the demand to travel on it, it left for York Place full and standing with many people left behind! Demand for travel on the first day was so high that an additional 3 trams had to be brought into service to cope with the crowds. 13 trams were used altogether with 255, 259, 260, 261, 263, 266, 267, 271, 273, 274 and 275 as well as a further 2 trams being used that day. Overall, 39636 passengers used the trams on the first weekend with 24176 passengers on the Saturday and 15460 on th e Sunday.
Passenger numbers and Service frequency increase
Since that opening weekend, the tramway has gone on to be a massive success with passenger numbers being higher than expected. In the first year alone, the trams carried 4.92 million passengers. Running times have been extended to match the Airport opening hours and the frequency of the service has also increased as well.
Until 2016, the usual service frequency was 8-10 minutes Monday - Saturday and 12-15 minutes on a Sunday using a maximum of 15 trams from the fleet of 27 trams.
Additional peak time extras were introduced during Summer 2016 and from January 2017, the trams became even more frequent running every 7 minutes during the day time with services reducing to every 10 minutes early morning and into the evening.
An additional stop was built near to the tram depot and connected to the Edinburgh Gateway rail station, which opened at the same time as an interchange for the Fife Circle and services from the North of Scotland. The stop opened in December 2016 and is located between Gogar Depot and the Gyle Centre tram stop.
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Special all night services were introduced on Saturday Nights in August 2017 to allow better travel home from the event. On 10th September, special 'Bike Express' trams were run from St Andrews Square non stop to Ingliston Park and Ride in connection with the 'Pedal for Scotland' event. These extras were running early morning and afternoon only to allow competitors to reach the Ingliston Showground where the event was starting from / ending.
Plans are also afoot to extend the tramway to the originally planned phase 1 terminus at Newhaven. The expected cost is £144.7 million. The cost would have been higher if it wasn't for the fact that the trams for the route are already in the fleet and the track and overhead poles for the route are already in stock. A final decision on whether the extension goes ahead is due in September 2018 and if it does go ahead, it should be complete by 2022.
During 2018, peak time extras have been introduced, increasing the frequency to anywhere between 3 and 7 minutes on weekdays. The timetable can be downloaded from the Edinburgh Trams Website
|Stop Name||Near by Landmarks||Notes|
|Edinburgh Airport||For Edinburgh Airport||Double track terminus with scissors crossover|
|Ingliston Park and Ride||For Ingliston Park and Ride|
|Gogarburn||For RBS Headquarters|
|Gogar Depot||Tram Depot, can be viewed from service road just off A8 at Gogar Roundabout. Also has a small staff only halt on the main line.|
|Edinburgh Gateway||For Edinburgh Gateway Station||Interchange for services to Fife and the North|
|Gyle Centre||For the Gyle Shopping Centre||grassed tracks either side of station|
|Edinburgh Park Central||For Edinburgh Park|
|Edinburgh Park||For Hermiston Gait Retail Park and interchange with Edinburgh Park Rail Station||Interchange Station|
|Bankhead||For Stevenston College|
|Saughton||For Carrick Knowe and Stenhouse|
|Balgreen||For Edinburgh Zoo|
|Murrayfield||For Murrayfield Stadium and Roseburn|
|Haymarket||For Haymarket Rail Station, Bus Interchange, Dalry Road, Edinburgh International Conference Centre||Interchange Station, start of the street section, there is also a bypass loop to allow shortworkings in Haymarket Yards, just round the corner from this stop|
|West End- Princes Street||For Shandwick Place, St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral||tram stop on island in middle of road|
|Princes Street||For Princes Street, The Mound, National Gallery for Scotland||tram stop on island in middle of road|
|St Andrews Square||For Edinburgh Waverley, Bus Station, St Andrews Square, St James Centre, National Portrait Gallery||tram stop on island in middle of road|
|York Place||For Broughton Street, Leith Walk, Omni Centre, Edinburgh Playhouse||Single track terminus, platform built on the trackbed of Westbound track, extra set of points added in case line extended to Newhaven|
Some Features of the Route
|Concreted curved track and ballasted straight track between Ingliston Park and Ride and Airport stops||Curved Grassed tracks between Gogarburn and Ingliston stops||Grassed tracks and road crossing between Gogarburn and Gogar Depot|
|Gogar Depot seen from the road bridge just off the A8||Curved tracks from Gyle Centre heading to Gogar underpass and at the otherside is Gogar Depot||Road crossing and grassed tracks at Gyle Centre|
|a foot crossing and the view from Edinburgh Park Central towards Gyle Centre stop||View of the bridge over the Edinburgh - Glasgow Rail line from Edinburgh Park Central||View of the bridge over the Edinburgh - Glasgow Railway taken from Edinburgh Park towards Edinburgh Park Central|
|View from Edinburgh Park towards Balgreen||Turnback Siding at Haymarket Yards||Street tramway with track built into road surface between Haymarket Yards and Haymarket Station|
|track spreading for the centre platform at St Andrew Square Stop||Sweeping Curve from St Andrew Square - York Place||A sign of things to come in the future? extra set of points on left hand side at York Place coming from where the single track platformed terminus currently is.|
Some of the furniture you will find at the tram stops
|Shelter at Edinburgh Park Central||Stop sign featuring the new branding||Destination screen at Gogarburn|
Please see 'The Trams' page for more information