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Edinburgh News 2012

12 December 2012: Tram "walked" to the airport
28 November 2012: Overhead goes live
24 October 2012: Schedule optimism
18 September 2012: Joining sections
24 July 2012: Visible progress
21 June 2012: Bad and Better News
14 February 2012: Strong civil engineering progress

12 December 2012: Tram "walked" to the airport

At long last a tram has moved away from the Gogar Depot under its own power. As part of the system test, the tracks were tested by a tram moving at walking pace from the depot to and from the Airport terminus. From now on the speeds will be gradually increased to the full 45 mph. Testing of this section of the route is scheduled to last till March 2013.

Photograph published online by The Scotsman newspaper.

A five-year contract is due to be signed with Parkeon to provide integrated ticketing equipment and its maintenance for trams and buses. The firm already provides the services for Lothian Buses. It is reported that a new management organisation consisting of people experienced in integrated tram and bus sevices is to be set up, and recruitment for non-executive directors is currently taking place.

28 November 2012: Overhead goes live

System testing has started, with the power having been switched on over the 1.7 mile section from the Gogar Depot to the airport. Test running is scheduled to start in the next three weeks. Photographs taken Monday 26th November show checks being done on the track area at Ingliston P&R and the restoration landscaping after removal of the construction camp huts.

Much needed progress in relationships is also in evidence by the photo published by Edinburgh Trams of representatives from the Consortium (Bilfinger SE, Siemens AG, and CAF) in the Scottish Parliament with Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP and Edinburgh Transport Convenor Cllr Lesley Hinds.

24 October 2012: Schedule optimism

Construction progress has been very good recently, and there have even been rumours that limited "interest rides" could be arranged ahead of schedule to try to give the still generally sceptical citizens an experience of modern trams before the line opens for business. Most vehicles have now been delivered.

Princes Street is due to open completely to traffic soon, and York Place, beyond St Andrew Square, is currently being reformed to take the tramline and the temporary terminus stop.

Meanwhile, west of the city, weeds rather than grass have emerged at the Gyle, where the track will cross the road into Edinburgh Park, which will be track in grass.

Around the Ingliston Park & Ride bend and stop, ballast was being laid over the concrete based track, and overhead line equipment was being readied to extend the test track from the Gogar Depot towards the airport. Apparently it is hoped to start test running on this section in the second week of November.

Horse tram 23 is now in the Vintage Bus Museum, which is closed for the winter.

18 September 2012: Joining sections

The sections of track which have been laid are being extended as civil engineering allows, and some are being joined up. A greater sense of a tramline under construction can now be felt.

Trackworks from Haymarket stop to West Maitland Street,
reproduced with permission from Edinburgh Trams

The construction of cross-overs just beyond here will be interesting. These cross-overs are to allow Haymarket to be used as an intermediate terminus. One line of the trackwork from Princes Street to St Andrew Square has been extended, and the road opened to public transport traffic to the top of Leith Walk, to allow York Place to be prepared for the temporary terminus.

Track extending from Princes St into St Andrew Square.

Trackworks to extend from Princes St into Shandwick Place.

To the West of the city, off-road trackworks have made good progress.

Ingliston Park & Ride tramstop, shown with a substation to the right.

Tramstop for the Royal Bank of Scotland HQ complex, showing the area between rails recently seeded with grass.

Meanwhile the restoration of No.23 horse tram has been completed, and it has been suggested that track may be acquired, and a local farmer would be willing to help make the horse tram a working exhibit at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum. As always, the Edinburgh Horse Tram Trust would be grateful for contributions to make this a real possibility.

24 July 2012: Visible progress

There is evidence from the publicity photographs from the Edinburgh Trams website, and also from exploring the city that the (overly) heavy concrete trackbed is nearing completion along several sections of the line. There are stacks of sleepers (to be embedded in more concrete), as well as rails near these trackbeds. To the population this will be visible (very concrete) progress of building the tramline. It is to be hoped that this evidence, along with the re-opening of Princes Street, will begin to turn some feeling in favour of the line, due to the anticipation of its completion. Although there still hangs a lot of resentment at the cost, disruption, and perceived lack of usefulness of the whole project.

Also showing progress is the restoration of the horse tram No.23. This should be complete within the next month or so, and will be on public show in the paintshop (beside Loco Shed 47) at the Lathalmond Scottish Vintage Bus Museum open weekend on 18/19 August. Thanks to Alan Brotchie for the accompanying photograph below.

21 June 2012: Bad and Better News

Further bad PR has affected the Tram project as Reporting Scotland reported that with the disbandment of TIE in the autumn of 2011, directors were paid total severence pay of £406,000. The news programme also reported that track in Princes Street was being replaced. Unfortunately Reporting Scotland is renowned for its inaccurate reporting, as of course only the road surface is being replaced due to the stresses caused by over 400 buses an hour.

The better news is that after the elections the new council is a coalition of Labour and SNP, and they have agreed to complete the tram project as quickly as possible, even though that means only between the airport and the temporary terminus at York Place. The prospect of extending the line, or even network has been said to be "for the next generation". Hopefully the citizens will recognise the trams' benefits and demand an earlier date. Meanwhile civil engineering continues throughout the route, and beyond both ends of Princes Street, causing much disgruntled reaction. LRTA members' only real scunner is due to the over-engineering to the foundations of the trackbed, as the photograph taken on 19th June at the St Andrew Square stop shows.

14 February 2012: Strong civil engineering progress

Civil engineering construction work is proceeding well along the entire (shortened) route of tram line 1, and of course the moans and grumbles by the citizens at the traffic disruption have started up again. In their January publicity Edinburgh Trams has released a photo update including the following scenes. These show the road area just west of the Haymarket stop nearing completion, earthworks underway at Balgreen, looking towards Murrayfield, and finally the trackbed under construction for the curve beside Ingliston Park & Ride near the airport.

The above photographs are from Edinburgh Trams publicity

More trams have arrived at the Gogar Depot, but still need outlined in traditional Edinburgh Madder and gold. Unfortunately the test track is not as long yet as had been planned, and only extends from the overbridge to the private driveway to Castle Gogar.

While the City's tram project continues, work is also going well on horse tram 23 at the Lathalmond Vintage Bus Museum. Below it is shown being prepared for the paint shop.

Thanks to Alan Brotchie for the above photographs

Edinburgh News 2012: top