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First tracks in the ground for Trams to Newhaven project

Newly installed track outside Ocean Terminal.

Newly-laid tracks for Trams to Newhaven project.

Work to construct the Trams to Newhaven route is well underway, with the first tracks being laid in Leith.

Contractors have begun constructing the 2.91 mile line and are currently working on the sections next to Ocean Terminal and in Tower Street, Leith.

Today (Thursday, 19 November) councillors approved the continued construction of the line in light of an updated Final Business Case (FBC) reflecting on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the project.

The report includes a series of scenarios, developed to stress-test the FBC, each of which demonstrate the economic case for the project remains positive, and in all but one scenario the impact on Council reserves if the project is cancelled would be greater than continuing construction.

On Friday (13 November) Council Leader Adam McVey visited the site at Ocean Terminal to see work progressing.

He said:

It’s fantastic to see tracks in the ground in Leith – it’s a real milestone for this major project. We’re already beginning to see the route take shape and get an idea of just what a positive impact it will have on the local community.

It’s particularly encouraging to know that the economic and business cases for Trams to Newhaven remain sound, despite the challenges of this year. Now we can progress with this exciting stage of the scheme safe in the knowledge that it will deliver the maximum benefits for local residents and the city as a whole.

Depute Leader Cammy Day said:

It’s essential that we continue to invest in sustainable, clean transport and Trams to Newhaven is a key example. There is no doubt in the positive effects this scheme will have on the environment, the local economy and in encouraging development along the line. I’m delighted that the updated business case supports this as progress with construction continues apace.

Work on the Trams to Newhaven project was instructed to stop on 25 March following guidance from the First Minister on COVID-19 and recommenced in June. An updated programme shows that the project is still working towards Spring 2023 for completion and is forecast to be delivered within the agreed £207.3m budget.

The project’s completion will play a key role in the future growth and development of the city. Delivering the tram line to Leith will unlock a large area of the city for housing and economic development, while providing a low-carbon, clean mode of transport to densely populated communities.


Published: 19th November 2020