7 June 2023 announced as date for first passenger service between Picardy Place and Newhaven as Pilrig Wheels installed.
Passenger services on the new tram route to Newhaven are scheduled start at 12pm on 7 June 2023, it was announced today (Thursday, 25 May).
The route, which has been under construction since November 2019, has been delivered within the £207.3m budget meeting the scheduled completion date of spring 2023.
Council Leader Cammy Day welcomed the news from Iona Street, where two historic cable wheels dating back to Victorian Edinburgh’s original tram system were lowered into place on Thursday. The wheels, which are 2.6m in diameter, were rediscovered at the Pilrig Street junction with Leith Walk in August 2021 during Trams to Newhaven excavations and will now be put on permanent display as part of public realm improvements to Iona Street.
Over recent months rigorous testing to ensure the newly constructed line, software and signals work effectively and safely has included running trams at half and full speed and eventually to timetable, work to integrate signalling and interface with Edinburgh Trams’ control centre and driver familiarisation.
Standard timetable testing will continue on the route in the run-up to the launch of services on 7 June 2023.
Council Leader Cammy Day said: “As we welcome back a piece of tram history to Leith Walk, it’s fitting that we’re also able to look forward to the future of Edinburgh’s tram network, and the start of passenger services on the brand-new line to Newhaven.
“While this is a moment for celebration, it’s also a chance to reflect on the last few years, and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank residents and businesses for their patience during this major, complex project.
“The completion of this line, delivering high capacity, clean transport to the densely populated north of the Capital, signifies our aspirations to become a sustainable, net zero city. And by improving connectivity to the waterfront, it won’t only promote further economic development in Leith, but will bring jobs and more affordable housing too.
“We’re now counting down the days to passenger services, and I’m pleased to say this project will be delivered within budget and on time. This is thanks to lessons learned from the previous project along with a great deal of hard work and dedication from the project team and contractors involved in the construction process.”
Lea Harrison, Managing Director of Edinburgh Trams, said: “The setting of a launch date for the new line is fantastic news for city residents and visitors, but particularly communities between the city centre and Newhaven.
“In recent years, thanks to the efforts of the entire Edinburgh Trams team, our multi award-winning tramway has become one of the most popular transport systems of its type thanks to a single-minded commitment to service excellence that will continue into an exciting new era.
“As we approach this major milestone in the history of Edinburgh Trams and the city, we can’t wait to welcome even more customers on board as we introduce swift and reliable services to the vibrant communities along the route, helping to unlock their full potential and providing a real boost for local businesses.”
While the project will open for revenue services on 7 June 2023, outstanding public realm works will continue in some sections.