Are you a resident or business in the local area? Join our mailing lists

Building the line

Aerial view of Ocean Drive showing track laying

Jump to a section:



Our approach

We are constructing the line using a phased 'one-dig' approach. This means we will not reopen a worksite until all utility and infrastructure works have been completed. By following this approach, the level of disruption to you will be reduced. For example, if your bus stop is displaced, the location of your new bus stop will remain in the same place for the duration of the works.

Additionally, large worksites allow us to be more efficient with our teams on the ground. Should an issue arise where work cannot take place in a specific area, we will have the flexibility to deploy them elsewhere in the worksite. This allows us to avoid unnecessary delays and successfully deliver the project on time.

The tram is being delivered under the Edinburgh Tram (Line 1) Act 2006 and all works will be in line with our Code of Construction Practice (CoCP)

We will always ensure that you are kept aware of any planned works in advance of commencement. Our normal working hours are Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm, and Saturday, 8am to 1pm. 

Contractor roles 

Following site set up, Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul (SFN), and Morrison Utility Services (MUS) roles will involve excavation of the road to allow utility diversions, tracklaying, installation of tram infrastructure, public realm improvements, and heritage and archaeology works. MUS works are now complete.

There will be an onus on the contractor to develop a quality management plan to ensure the project delivery and construction meet the quality requirements set out by the Council.  The project team will include supervisors and clerks of work who will monitor workmanship and ensure quality outputs are delivered. 

View our construction journey flow diagram (PDF). 

Return to top.

Trams to Newhaven Construction Process 

In order to start construction on the project, the Council passed the responsibility for the work sections to the contractors, allowing them to set up and commence site clearance, utility works and main construction works. 

As works progress, traffic management is amended which results in the opening up of partially completed sections. It should be noted that these are not finished and remain the contractors’ responsibility.

Ongoing inspections of works are carried out and from this defects and issues are collated and the rectification of these defects is planned with the contractor.

Once works are completed, further detailed inspections will take place to ensure stringent quality checks are met. If these quality checks are met, the Council will take back the responsibility and the section will be opened back up to the public.

All main construction works are scheduled to be completed during 2022. A period of testing and commissioning will then follow to ensure everything is working properly, with trams due to be operational by Spring 2023. A confirmation of the exact date the trams will be operational from Picardy Place to Newhaven will be given nearer the time.

Detailed below is an overview of what works take place at what stage of construction.

  1. Main Construction – Phase 1 (under large work sites) – to be completed during 2022

  • Site Clearance
  • All underground utilities moved
  • Attenuation pipes to support water dispersal in place along the route
  • Drainage and below ground communications/power ducts installed
  • All tram track in place
  • Base of all tram stops in place
  • All vehicle carriageways work finished
  • All footpath works finished
  • All dedicated cycleways finished
  • All foundation works for Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) poles in place.

Once the above works are finished, the Heras fencing will be removed and there may be changes to traffic management in certain sections.

  1. Main Construction – Phase 2 (under localised work sites) to be completed ahead of open for service in spring 2023

  • OLE pole installation along the route
  • Lighting – in certain sections, street lighting will be incorporated onto the OLE poles in the central reservation.
  • Installation of building fixings for overhead tram wires on certain sections of the route.
  • Where lighting is being incorporated into the OLE poles, and when this is completed, existing lighting columns will be removed from footways.
  • Traffic signals at junctions to be installed
  • Street signage (parking signs, tram safety signage, cycling safety signage, etc)
  • Street lining (including junctions, parking, loading, no parking, directional, etc)
  • OLE Wire installation
  • Cable pulling through ducting installed
  • Tram Stop fit out
  • Sealant works
  • Track grinding
  • Snagging / defect works will continue to be undertaken along the route following main construction activity and up to overall completion of the project.  To note, defect rectification may also take place during the 2 years after completion during which time the contractor remains responsible for correcting defects along the route.
  1. Other works – completed before project completion – to be completed ahead of open for service in spring 2023

  • Installation of bus stops signage and bus shelters
  • Return of post boxes to agreed locations
  • Landscaping works
  • Planters installed along the route
  • Benches in agreed locations
  • Public art in agreed locations

Return to top.

Considerate Contractor scheme

SFN follow the principles of the Considerate Constructors scheme, which requires a firm focus on outstanding management, efficiency, awareness of local environmental issues, and a genuine consideration for neighbours and the community. 

During the time that the above works are being undertaken, all efforts will be made to minimise disruption and inconvenience to residents and businesses as much as possible. Further details can be found on the Considerate Contractor scheme website.