Full speed tram tests mark the end of successful 2012
Contractors successfully ran an Edinburgh Tram at full speed today as part of a process to ensure the system is ready for service in summer 2014.
The tram runs and system tests are the final part the development of this section of the route. The 2.8km stretch will be handed over by contractors to the Council in March following testing and commissioning.Transport Convener Lesley Hinds and Transport Minister Keith Brown watched the tram test take place from the Gogar Farm Crossing. Cllr Hinds said:
"It's hugely encouraging to see an Edinburgh tram running at full pace and it's a tangible sign of just how far this project has come since mediation last year. Much progress has been made in 2012 with bridges built, tram stops completed, miles of track laid and, most importantly, the project remains on track to hit the revised budget and timeframe.
"On-street works in the city centre will continue next year of course, but we are doing everything possible to limit disruption. Our team will stay in close contact with residents and businesses so they have the information they need to limit the impact of the works.
"We are now nearing later stages of this most challenging of projects. I want to assure people that every last element of it is being closely managed by the project team -everyone involved is ready for this next crucial year as we drive hard towards completion."
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
"The good progress made since the contractual disputes were resolved last year is now hopefully clear for all to see. While the project has caused disruption for some people in Edinburgh, their patience is starting to pay off.
"I was heartened today to see the project taking shape, and Transport Scotland is now playing a key role in overseeing the delivery.
"It will also bring major benefits for the rest of Scotland's transport network. The Airport tram stop, combined with the Edinburgh Gateway rail-tram interchange, refurbished Haymarket Station and existing station at Edinburgh Park, will provide better links and more options with the rail network, Edinburgh Airport and other key transport hubs."
Contractors will continue works until Friday 21st December and will resume on Monday 7th January. A programme is underway in the city centre to reduce the sites and signage over the holiday period.
Access around the West End shopping areas has been improved with better site crossing points, whilst site fencing is being moved as far back as possible to create as much pavement space as possible for the festive period. The Council has also put up a series of signs aimed at guiding pedestrians around shopping areas.
The tram project remains in line with the revised budget (£776m) approved by the Council in September 2011, with work either ahead of schedule or in line with the revised timescale reported in December 2011.
Passenger services are expected to run by summer 2014 and it is anticipated that full route tram testing will take place from Edinburgh Airport to York Place in late Spring 2014. The top speed of the tram is 70kmph (43mph)
Check out our video, 'The Edinburgh Tram - Airport to City Centre'.