Edinburgh trams are go
Passenger services for the brand new Edinburgh Trams will get under way from 5am tomorrow (Saturday 31 May 2014), marking the start of a new era for integrated public transport in Scotland's Capital.Following several months of essential and rigorous testing, commissioning and training, from tomorrow the trams will become an key part of Edinburgh's transport mix, offering an efficient and sustainable link between the Airport and York Place in the city centre.
At the official launch today (Friday 30 May 2014), Edinburgh residents for whom the tram will become part of daily life were joined by Transport Convener Lesley Hinds, Transport Minister Keith Brown and key people involved in delivering the new service for a special tram trip to commemorate the occasion.
The tram travelled from York Place to Edinburgh Airport before returning to St Andrew Square, with various photocalls held along the route to highlight selected stops and some of the people who will use them.
For instance, Edinburgh Rugby player Sam Hidalgo-Clyne was joined by rugby fan Tracey Bennet at the tram stop at the newly named BT Murrayfield Stadium, while three airline staff boarded the tram at the Airport.
The trip also featured Evening News competition-winner Margaret Siegel and her family and two passengers who had travelled on the last ever tram in November 1956 - Norman Steven and Alastair Byres.
Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: "Two years ago, I pledged to do everything in my power to ensure we brought this project in on the revised budget and revised schedule. It was never going to be straightforward, but with an incredible team effort and a focus on results, it now feels fantastic to be where we are today.
"The tram project has been hugely challenging for the people of Edinburgh but now there seems to be a growing positivity in the city about the start of a brand new transport service. I know from firsthand experience how trams can transform and enhance a city and I am determined Edinburgh should make the very most of the opportunities ahead.
"I hope that everyone who uses a tram in these first few days and weeks enjoys the experience. We'll be monitoring things very closely to make sure the system is peforming as best it can - these are the early days of a brand new transport system and it needs time to bed in.
"As we've said, there are no current plans to look at extending the line and it would be inappropriate to do anything until we've had a chance to review the service's performance over the first six months or so. I've called for a report to be presented to Council before the end of 2014 so that future options can be debated."
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "The people of Edinburgh and local businesses will be relieved to start seeing the real benefits of a modern tram system.
"Although today is clouded by what happened in the early stages of the project, since being involved we have worked with the Council and the contractor to get it back on track.
"The tram link will support employment and much improved local, national and international transport links. This will include connections to the airport, bus station and railways, such as the recently
refurbished Haymarket Station, and a new Edinburgh Gateway rail-tram interchange as part of the Scottish Government’s £742m Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme.
"In the past week we've seen the launch of three new direct air routes from Edinburgh Airport. Visitors will be impressed by the tram option and there are signs that the project is starting to generate wider investment too. We wish Transport for Edinburgh and the Council well in making the project a success going forward."
Ian Craig, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh, said: "Following many months of preparation for the new service, Transport for Edinburgh is now primed to play a central role in the future success of Edinburgh, moving residents and visitors to where they need to be on a dynamic and fully integrated transport system, utilising tram and bus.
"The service launches today as the result of a huge effort from a team of dedicated people within Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams, working across the widest range of disciplines. I'm proud of what has been achieved but there's much more to be done. This is a brand new system and, as we start to welcome passengers on board, we'll be keeping a very close eye on the service to make sure our customers get the best possible experience."
ABOUT EDINBURGH TRAMS
Edinburgh trams are expected to bring real economic benefits to the city. This includes jobs and investment attracted by the improved and integrated transport links which the tramway will provide for passengers from across of Scotland, the rest of the UK and Europe.
At Edinburgh Park, the tram service is expected to encourage further commercial investment for businesses seeking to locate in West Edinburgh and near to the Edinburgh Park Station with its road, rail and tram links which give passengers easy links across Central and North Scotland. In addition the tramway will help sustain the existing employment at the business park.
Further transport hubs along the tram route at Ingliston Park and Ride, Haymarket and Waverley rail stations and at Edinburgh International Airport will connect passengers with road, rail, bus and air links.
The 14km tram route from the Airport to the City Centre will connect many of the city’s main residential and commercial centres with Scotland’s national transport network.
Edinburgh Gateway station will link passengers from the Fife line and North East Scotland to the airport within 5 minutes. The station is scheduled to open to passengers December 2016. This project is being delivered by Network Rail as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).
Edinburgh’s trams will offer an efficient and sustainable transport system. The trams will be powered by electricity and will have zero on-street carbon emissions. They have regenerative braking which means energy that would otherwise have been wasted can be used.
The depot collects and makes use of rainwater. This grey water is used for washing trams and flushing toilets.
The trams are also expected to make a positive contribution to the city’s natural environment by encouraging people to shift from car to tram use and so help to ease future traffic congestion caused by the predicted growth in the city’s population and increased numbers of visitors. The trams will also help the city cope with the increased demand for public transport in the next decade.
There is also expected to be a net improvement in air quality across the city as a whole, as a result of the introduction of the tram.
The Edinburgh Trams project has a revised budget of £776 million and the project is currently in line with this. Regular budget position updates are presented to Councillors at the Governance, Risk & Best Value Committee.
Edinburgh Trams has 120 staff, made up of 40 drivers, 7 depot drivers, 52 ticketing services assistants and management support.
Safety is an integral part of the design and service provision. Safety management and safety systems have been developed as required by the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems Regulations.
There are 15 tram stops, in order from west to east: Edinburgh International Airport, Ingliston Park & Ride, Gogarburn, Gyle Centre, Edinburgh Park Central, Edinburgh Park Station, Bankhead, Saughton, Balgreen, Murrayfield Stadium, Haymarket, West End-Princes Street, Princes Street, St Andrew Square, York Place.
At this stage, the journey time from the Airport to the city centre will be approximately 34 minutes, however timetables may be reviewed after the first few weeks of passenger service.
Trams will run every 8-10 minutes Monday to Saturday between 05:29 (York Place) and 23:08 (York Place). Trams will run every 12-15 minutes on a Sunday between 05:29 (York Place) and 22:58 (York Place).
Tram vehicles accommodate 250 passengers, 78 seated, 170 standing and 2 dedicated wheelchair spaces. There is ample space for luggage. As the tram vehicles are level with the tramstop, the access to the tram is far easier for wheelchair users than it is on a bus. The design of the system was developed in consultation with accessibility groups. An area on the trams has been provided for those with visual and mobility disabilities, their friends and any assistance dogs.
Tickets are integrated with Lothian Buses ticketing and are available from ticket vending machines at all tram stops. They cost £1.50 for a single in the city zone, £5 for a single for the airport zone and £3.50 for an adult day ticket in the city zone. Full details on ticket fares, and further information on children’s fares (which are different from above) are available here: http://edinburghtrams.com/tickets/cash-fares
• There are 27 trams
• There are 14 Kilometres (8.5miles) of twin lane tram track from York Place to the airport.
• Trams have a top speed of 70kph (43.5mph)
• The length of a tram is 43m
• The overhead line powered by 750V DC and there are 6 sub stations