Major tram route section complete

A 2.8km stretch of track between the Gogar depot and Edinburgh International Airport has been handed over to the Council following a successful programme of testing by contractors.

Today's handover marks the end of a thorough commissioning process which began in November 2012.

The contract completion date for the project remains summer 2014. Once on-street works and overhead cabling work has been completed by the end of the year, a programme of rigorous testing and commissioning will take place in early 2014 to prepare the system and the service for operation.

Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: "With the airport to Gogar section now handed over to the Council and good progress being made all along the route, it's clear to see that the Edinburgh Tram project is heading towards completion.

"The coming months will see on-street works completed, full line tram testing and driver training along the whole route. It's a big year for the project and we can push on safe in the knowledge that this first 2.8km section has been successfully completed and is working well.

"Very good progress being made but there is still some on-street disruption to come and we're determined to limit this as much as possible. Our team will stay in close contact with residents and businesses so they have the information they need to limit the impact of the remaining works."

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "This is further evidence that the project is now making good progress in terms of the revised timetable. The people of Edinburgh and local business community should now be able to plan ahead with confidence and look forward to seeing further evidence of the project coming to fruition over the coming months.

"Once the construction works are complete the emphasis will quickly move to ensuring that the appropriate tests and checks are run as quickly and effectively as possible so that businesses, residents and visitors can really start to benefit.

"The trams can deliver not just for the city but also for the rest of Scotland's transport network. The stop at Edinburgh Airport, refurbished Haymarket Station and Edinburgh Gateway rail-tram interchange will mean improved links and more options for residents and visitors between the rail network, Airport and other key transport hubs."

The tram project team will report to Council in September 2013 with an update to project timescales.

The 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.

Follow Edinburgh Trams on Twitter for updates about the project.

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