Edinburgh Trams

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Edinburgh Trams
Edinburgh tram 03 first day of operation.JPG
A tram on Princes Street in May 2014
Owner Transport for Edinburgh
Locale Edinburgh
Transit type Light rail/Tram
Number of lines1
Number of stations15
Annual ridership2.8 million (2021/22) [1]
Headquarters1 Myreton Drive
EH12 9GF
Website www.edinburghtrams.com
Began operation31 May 2014
Operator(s)Edinburgh Trams Ltd.
Number of vehicles27 Urbos 3
Train length42.8 m (140 ft 5 in)
Headway 3–10 minutes
System length14 km (8.7 mi) [2]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 V DC OHLE
Top speed70 km/h (43 mph) off-street

Edinburgh Trams is a tramway in Edinburgh, Scotland, operated by Edinburgh Trams Ltd. It is a 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) line between St Andrew Square in the New Town and Edinburgh Airport, with 15 stops. [2] [3] [4]

First discussed in 1998 and designed over the next decade, construction began in June 2008, and after encountering delays it opened on 31 May 2014. The scheme had an initial estimated cost of £375 million in 2003, but by May 2008, when contracts were signed, the cost had risen to £521 million. The final cost after delays was £776 million.

After running for two years, the scheme had achieved pre-tax profitability (excluding maintenance and infrastructure costs) and exceeded the original ridership targets. [5] It has run at an operating loss since 2018 (e.g. −£9.4 million in 2018). [6] On 14 March 2019, Edinburgh Council voted to approve the extension of the existing line from York Place to Newhaven. [7] The extended line is due to begin operation on 7 June 2023. [8]



Edinburgh and Leith were originally served by horse-drawn coaches, and then from 1871 various companies and corporations ran trams that were horse-drawn, then cable driven and finally electric, until 16 November 1956. [9] [10] After that date, public transport consisted of buses and a limited network of commuter rail lines.

Towards the end of the 20th century, there was revived interest in trams in the United Kingdom and networks were reintroduced in Birmingham, Croydon, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield. [11] Proposals for a network in Edinburgh were made in the 1990s, and a plan to build a line along Princes Street and Leith Walk to Newhaven was proposed in 1999 by the City of Edinburgh Council, Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise and the New Edinburgh Tramways Company. [12] [13]

Proposals and agreement

A 2001 proposal envisaged three routes, lines 1, 2 and 3. The first was a circular route around the northern suburbs, and the others were radial routes to Newbridge in the west and Newcraighall in the south. [14] All lines would have passed through the city centre. In May 2004, a 15-year operating contract was awarded to Transdev, to operate and maintain the tram network. [15] [16] This contract was cancelled in 2009. [17]

Two bills to reintroduce a tram network were passed by the Scottish Parliament in March 2006. [18] [19] Lines 1 and 2 received parliamentary permission, but funding the entire network was deemed impossible. Line 3, to be paid for by a proposed Edinburgh congestion charge, was scrapped when the charge was heavily defeated in a referendum and construction of the remaining two lines was split into four phases:

A map of the planned tramway Edinburgh tramway map.svg
A map of the planned tramway

The future of the scheme came under threat in 2007, when the Scottish National Party (SNP) published its manifesto for the Scottish Parliamentary election. The party made clear its intention to cancel the scheme, along with the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link, to save £1.1 billion. [20]

Following a lost vote in the Scottish Parliament, the SNP-led minority Scottish Government agreed to continue the line from the airport to Leith on condition that no more public money would be supplied. A report by Audit Scotland, commissioned by the Scottish Government, confirmed that the cost projections were sound. [21] [22] [23] The cost of the scheme in 2003 was estimated at £498 million, £375 million in funding from the Scottish Government and £45 million from Edinburgh Council. [24] [25]

On 25 October 2007, the council approved the final business case. [26] Approval was given on 22 December 2007 for TIE to sign contracts with CAF to supply vehicles and BBS (a consortium of Bilfinger Berger and Siemens) to design and construct the network. [27] [28] Contract negotiations finished in April 2008, and construction started in June 2008. By this stage the cost of the project was estimated at £521 million. Funding problems and political disputes led to the scaling back of the original plans. In April 2009, the council cancelled phase 1b, citing revenue shortfall created by the economic slowdown to save an estimated £75 million. [29] The Granton extension was also cancelled. [30]

Construction: 2007–2012

Tracks being laid on Princes Street in November 2009 Tram works in Princes Street, Edinburgh.jpg
Tracks being laid on Princes Street in November 2009

Until August 2011, the project was overseen by Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE), a company wholly owned by the City of Edinburgh Council, who were responsible for project-managing the construction of the tramway. [31]

After the draft business case was accepted by the Scottish Government in March 2007, [32] initial construction work commenced in July 2007, with the diversion of underground utilities in preparation for track-laying in Leith. [33] These works followed a plan by System Design Services (SDS), a joint design team led by Parsons Brinckerhoff and Halcrow Group.

In May 2008, final contracts to build the tram system were awarded to BSC, a consortium of Bilfinger Berger, Siemens and Spanish tram builder Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF). [34]

The tramway uses a mix of street running and segregated off-road track, with conventional tram stop platforms. [35] Stops are fitted with shelters, ticket machines, lighting and CCTV. The network is operated from a depot in Gogar, close to the A8 roundabout, immediately west of Edinburgh Gateway tram stop. [36]

The route of the line required the construction of bridges to cross railway lines at Edinburgh Park and Stenhouse, and a tunnel under the A8 near the Gogar roundabout. A bridge at Balgreen was widened. [37] Works to build a tram interchange at Haymarket station involved the demolition of a Category C(S) listed building, the former Caledonian Alehouse on Haymarket Terrace. [38]

Some on-street track was laid in a special foundation with cobbled road surfacing designed to be sympathetic with the style of Edinburgh streets but was removed in many places due to objections from cyclists. [39] The trams are powered by overhead cables attached to purpose-built poles or mounted on the sides of buildings. [40] Nine electrical sub-stations were planned for the line to Newhaven, both underground and above-ground [41] but only five were built after the line was truncated at York Place. [42]

Revisions and delays

In 2008 and 2009, the project met with delays to work on tramway infrastructure. Phase 1b of the project was cancelled because of a funding shortfall in April 2009. [29] Contractual disputes delayed track-laying in the city centre. In December 2009, media reported that the project budget was running over £545 million, and the system was unlikely to come into operation until February 2012 or later. [43] The operating contract with Transdev was cancelled in December 2009 to reduce costs and it was announced that the trams would be operated by Edinburgh Trams Limited, a subsidiary of Transport for Edinburgh. [17] [44] In March 2010, Bilfinger Berger announced that the estimated completion date would be in 2014. [45] [46]

Contractual disputes

In February 2009, work on the Princes Street section stopped due to contractual disagreements between TIE and BSC after the latter submitted a request for an additional £80 million of funding. [47] [48] Edinburgh Council believed the contractors' claims were unjustified as they had agreed to fixed-price contracts. [49] After negotiations, BSC agreed to commence construction in March 2009 within the original budget, although disagreements remained. [50] Work restarted and line construction went ahead.

In August 2009, TIE began legal proceedings against the BSC consortium over delays to the project, [51] and track-laying on Leith Walk, Shandwick Place and Haymarket was suspended. At issue were alleged changes to BSC's work specification, including track works on Princes Street and £5 million additional costs for foundation work near Murrayfield Stadium. The BSC consortium alleged that TIE had not diverted the underground utilities in time for track-laying to begin, breaching contractual agreements and costing the consortium additional staffing expenditure. [52]

In January 2010 the independent arbiter found in favour of TIE on some points, but on most of the disputed issues ruled in favour of BSC and awarded the consortium 90% of its additional costs, estimated to be up to £80m. [53]

Delays in track laying and depot construction affected vehicle testing. By September 2009, construction was reported to be nine months behind schedule, and CAF was due to deliver the first trams from its factory in Spain. With key project dependency out of synchronisation, TIE held discussions with Transport for London about delivering the trams to Croydon to conduct operational tests on the Tramlink network. [54] [55] Tram vehicle testing commenced in March 2010 on the Siemens test track in Wildenrath, Germany. [56] The tests included recreating the steep gradients of Leith Walk, and using weights to simulate the heavy passenger load expected during a Murrayfield match day. [57] [58]

Funding crisis

Gogar depot in October 2012 Gogar Tram Depot, Edinburgh.JPG
Gogar depot in October 2012

Following further disputes and delays, it was reported in March 2010 that Edinburgh Council was considering cancelling the contract with Bilfinger Berger. [59] By June 2010, the project's cost had risen to £600 million. [60] Council project managers were reported to be in crisis talks, considering options including: borrowing £55 million to fund the increased costs; phasing the introduction of the tram line, so that trams would initially run between the airport and Haymarket; and terminating the contract with Bilfinger Berger. [61] The council asked TIE to draw up costs for truncating the line at four places: Haymarket station, York Place, the foot of Leith Walk or Ocean Terminal. [62]

Work resumed in May 2011 at priority locations, Haymarket Yards and Gogar, while the project's future was decided by the council. In August 2011 it was announced TIE would be disbanded and consultants Turner & Townsend would manage the project. [63] [64]

On 30 June 2011, Edinburgh Council voted to continue the line between Edinburgh Airport and St Andrew Square. Costs rose to an estimated £770m, leaving the council with a shortfall of more than £200m. [65] [66] The option to scrap the project was considered, but rejected. [67] On 25 August 2011, the council voted to cut the line to run between the airport and Haymarket, reducing the expected cost to £715m. [68] A week later, after the Scottish Government threatened to withhold £72 million of funding, [69] the council reversed its decision, restoring the terminus at St Andrew Square. [65] On 29 November 2011 it was announced that the eastern terminus would be at York Place instead of St Andrew Square; the intention had been to build the tracks to a reversing point at York Place (without a stop for passengers). Extending passenger services from St Andrew Square to York Place would enable Broughton Street, Picardy Place and the surrounding area to be better served at comparatively little additional cost. [70]

The first electric wires were energised in October 2011 within the depot at Gogar. Testing trams began in December 2011 near the depot at Gogar, on a 500-metre (550 yd) length of track. [71] [72] On 15 December 2011, the contractors handed the depot to the City of Edinburgh Council. [73]

The first completed section of line, between the depot and Edinburgh Airport, was used to test a tram at full speed on 19 December 2012. [74]

With extra interest payments factored in, the cost of the line was expected to exceed £1 billion. [75]


Construction works outside Haymarket railway station in August 2012 Tram works at Haymarket railway station, Edinburgh.jpg
Construction works outside Haymarket railway station in August 2012

Delays in construction were criticised by businesses, who claimed their income was damaged by long-term road closures in the centre of the city, and also by some residents. [49] [76] [77]

Cycling groups voiced safety concerns after people were injured as their bicycle wheels became caught in the track. They reported the road surface around the tracks was crumbling, raising further safety problems. In response, TiE promised to carry out repairs and Edinburgh Trams agreed to fund special training for cyclists. [78] In 2017, a woman was crushed to death by a passing bus when her bicycle wheel was caught in the tracks. Further safety concerns were raised by residents along the routes about the suspension of overhead electric cables from residential buildings, and some property owners refused permission for cables to be attached. [57]

To remedy crumbling tarmac along the tracks on Princes Street, the road was closed in September 2011 and remained closed for ten months. [79] [80] A road closure between Haymarket and Shandwick Place in March 2012 led to complaints from businesses and residents. It remained closed until October 2013. Originally to open as Shandwick Place tram stop, it was renamed West End - Princes Street prior to opening at the request of local traders, who felt the new name had greater associations to the city centre and would encourage more tourists to get off there. The stop was renamed again in August 2019 as West End. [81] [82] [83] [84]

Completion: 2013–2014

From late 2012, work continued mostly on schedule. [85] More than 150 metres (160 yd) of flawed concrete trackbed had to be replaced between Shandwick Place and Haymarket. [86] [87] In June 2013, overhead electric wires were installed on the city centre portion of the route. This was considered the last major step in the construction process. [88]

Controversy erupted over concessionary travel for the elderly and disabled. Originally, it was planned that concessionary travel, that is the ability of those with a Scottish National Entitlement Card to travel on public transport free-of-charge, was not going to be offered on the tramway. This was despite the fact that Edinburgh Trams is to be run by Lothian Buses, who are mandated to offer free travel to those with concession cards on all their bus routes. [89] This revelation quickly caused city leaders to support an Edinburgh Evening News campaign to ensure that concessionary travel would be offered on the new tramway. City transport convener Lesley Hinds stated "People in Edinburgh have paid through their council tax and their taxes for the trams to get up and running and it would be wrong for a large proportion of the population not to be allowed to use their concessionary bus pass". [89]

Trams on Shandwick Place during driver training in March 2014 Edinburgh trams, Shandwick Place.JPG
Trams on Shandwick Place during driver training in March 2014

Despite this, the Scottish Government refused to pay for concessionary travel for the tram scheme, as it does for all bus routes in Scotland. Talks between the Scottish Government and Edinburgh Council eventually decided that concession cards should be valid for tram travel, but that they should be paid for by the Council instead of the Government. [90] It was revealed on 15 August 2013 that the cards would be valid, and that travel would be paid for by Edinburgh Council. However, only people with cards issued in Edinburgh would be able to use them. [91] This compromise upset many people in the Lothians, who often commute or travel into Edinburgh. [92]

Works were two months ahead of schedule by September 2013, when Edinburgh Council announced the tramway would open by May 2014. [93] All tram and road works were completed by 19 October [82] with testing of the trams between the depot and Edinburgh Park commencing on 8 October 2013. This was followed by the energising of tram wires from Bankhead tram stop to York Place on 19 November, marking the first time that the route was completely energised. [94] Testing along the full length of the route began on 5 December. [95] [96] [97]

The tramway opened to passengers on 31 May 2014. [98] [99]

A non-statutory public inquiry to scrutinise the delivery of the project was announced on 5 June 2014. [100] This was subsequently upgraded by the Scottish Government on 7 November 2014 to a statutory inquiry to ensure that key personnel would provide evidence. [101]

Extension from city centre to Newhaven

Construction work on Leith Walk in 2021 Tram Construction works (geograph 6733260).jpg
Construction work on Leith Walk in 2021

Edinburgh Council stated on 17 March 2014 that works would be conducted along Leith Walk to prepare it for a possible future extension of tram service. [102] In December 2014, Edinburgh Council ordered a detailed business case for extending the line to Leith. [103] The council said in July 2015 that three options for an extension to Leith had been costed. These were a £144.7 million extension to Newhaven, a £126.6 million extension to Ocean Terminal, or a £78.7 million extension to the Foot of Leith Walk. [104]

In 2017 the business case to extend the system to Newhaven was approved. [105]

In June 2018, Colin Beattie, the MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh backed plans to extend the tram system to Musselburgh. [106]

In March 2019, Edinburgh Council approved extending the system from York Place to Newhaven, with the line due to be operational by early 2023. [7] Preliminary works to Constitution Street and Leith Walk started in November 2019. [107] Work was suspended in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic [108] but was restarted in June 2020. [109]

In February 2022, the eastern terminating York Place stop was permanently closed for demolition and to enable connection to the Newhaven extension which will relocate the York Place stop to Picardy Place. [110] Services initially terminated at the West End stop (between February and April 2022), before being extended to the St Andrew Square stop, the current terminus (until the Newhaven extension opens in 2023); however, trams still run to York Place to turn back. [111]

On 13 March 2023, following completion of tracklaying and the installation of overhead power lines, test trams began running during the night between Picardy Place and Newhaven, becoming the first tram to run in Leith since the closure of the original tramway system. [112] The first test trams ran at walking pace, but their speed was later increased to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h). On 19 April daytime testing commenced, with 40 newly-recruited drivers under training. [113] On 25 May it was announced that revenue service will begin on 7 June. [8]

Current line


Map of the Edinburgh trams route Edinburgh Trams Map.png
Map of the Edinburgh trams route

The single, 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) route begins running on-street at York Place, in the city centre. [114] [115] It turns into North St Andrew Street, crosses St Andrew Square. From the square, it heads southeast into Princes Street, and west along the street toward Haymarket, via Shandwick Place, Atholl Place and West Maitland Street. [116] At Haymarket, the route heads onto a segregated track parallel to the Glasgow to Edinburgh mainline. It follows the railway line west for about 6.8 kilometres (4.2 mi), to Edinburgh Park railway station. There, it leaves the railway line on a segregated track and heads north to Gogar Roundabout from where it heads northwest via Ingliston Park and Ride to Edinburgh Airport, where it terminates. [116]

An additional tram stop was opened in December 2016 in the Gogar area, between the Gyle Centre and Gogarburn tram stops. [117] This stop, called Edinburgh Gateway, is situated alongside a new railway station on the Fife Circle Line to form a transport interchange between Edinburgh Trams and the Fife Circle and Edinburgh to Aberdeen Lines. [118] After this stop opened, crews changed here rather than at the special short platform which had been constructed alongside the nearby Gogar depot. Thus, the additional stop at Edinburgh Gateway did not affect the end-to-end running time between the Airport and York Place. [119]


ImageTram stopLocationTransport interchangeServesComments
Trams at St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (geograph 3996542).jpg St Andrew Square 55°57′15″N3°11′32″W / 55.9543°N 3.1921°W / 55.9543; -3.1921 BSicon BUS2.svg Lothian Buses
BSicon BUS2.svg Edinburgh Bus Station
National Rail logo.svg Waverley
St Andrew Square
St James Quarter
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Current terminal as a result of the extension works.
Princes Street tram stop, Edinburgh.jpg Princes Street 55°57′07″N3°11′52″W / 55.951808°N 3.197813°W / 55.951808; -3.197813 Princes Street
Royal Scottish Academy
National Gallery of Scotland
The Mound
Royal Mile
Edinburgh trams, Shandwick Place.JPG West End 55°56′54″N3°12′43″W / 55.948423°N 3.211843°W / 55.948423; -3.211843 Shandwick Place
West End
St Mary's Cathedral (Episcopal)
Tram tracks at Haymarket station, Edinburgh.jpg Haymarket 55°56′43″N3°13′07″W / 55.9453°N 3.2187°W / 55.9453; -3.2187 BSicon BUS2.svg Lothian Buses
BSicon BUS2.svg Scottish Citylink
National Rail logo.svg Haymarket
Dalry Road and neighbourhood
Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Murrayfield Stadium tram stop (geograph 4018205).jpg Murrayfield Stadium 55°56′31″N3°14′14″W / 55.941957°N 3.23718°W / 55.941957; -3.23718 Murrayfield Stadium
Roseburn area
Balgreen tram stop (geograph 3806652).jpg Balgreen 55°56′19″N3°15′04″W / 55.938493°N 3.251132°W / 55.938493; -3.251132 Balgreen, Saughtonhall, Edinburgh Zoo (approx. 1,300 metres)
Edinburghs Long-Awaited Trams (geograph 4010827).jpg Saughton 55°55′57″N3°16′30″W / 55.932484°N 3.274907°W / 55.932484; -3.274907 Broomhouse
Saughton Mains
Carrick Knowe area
Bankhead Tram Stop on the Edinburgh Tram Route (geograph 5499699).jpg Bankhead 55°55′43″N3°17′37″W / 55.928718°N 3.293474°W / 55.928718; -3.293474 Bankhead
Edinburgh College (formerly Stevenson College)
Sighthill Industrial Estate
Napier University Sighthill Campus
South Gyle
Edinburgh Park Station tram stop (geograph 4167955).jpg Edinburgh Park Station 55°55′39″N3°18′28″W / 55.9276°N 3.3077°W / 55.9276; -3.3077 National Rail logo.svg Edinburgh Park Hermiston Gait Retail Park
Edinburgh Park Central tram stop.jpg Edinburgh Park Central 55°55′51″N3°18′51″W / 55.930966°N 3.314143°W / 55.930966; -3.314143 Edinburgh Park
Tram stop at The Gyle (geograph 3579360).jpg Gyle Centre 55°56′18″N3°19′06″W / 55.938301°N 3.318375°W / 55.938301; -3.318375 Gyle Shopping Centre
Edinburgh Gateway Tram Stop from the station,.jpg Edinburgh Gateway 55°56′28″N3°19′12″W / 55.941°N 3.320°W / 55.941; -3.320 National Rail logo.svg Edinburgh Gateway Interchange Stop offering links from Fife via ScotRail
Edinburgh tram at Gogarburn (geograph 3377522).jpg Gogarburn 55°56′18″N3°19′50″W / 55.938196°N 3.330665°W / 55.938196; -3.330665 Headquarters of The Royal Bank of Scotland and its parent, NatWest Group
Ingliston Park & Ride tram stop (geograph 3505899).jpg Ingliston Park & Ride 55°56′25″N3°21′15″W / 55.9404°N 3.3542°W / 55.9404; -3.3542 BSicon BUS2.svg Lothian Buses Ingliston Park & Ride
Royal Highland Showground
Tram crossing and signal (geograph 3738450).jpg Edinburgh Airport 55°56′53″N3°21′40″W / 55.947992°N 3.36113°W / 55.947992; -3.36113 BSicon FLUG.svg Edinburgh Airport

Former stops

ImageTram stopLocationTransport interchangeServedComments
York Place tram stop, Edinburgh.jpg York Place 55°57′24″N3°11′18″W / 55.956597°N 3.188248°W / 55.956597; -3.188248 Broughton Street and neighbourhood
Omni Centre
Edinburgh Playhouse
St Mary's Cathedral (RC)
Permanently closed in February 2022 due to the Newhaven extension.

York Place will be replaced by Picardy Place when the extension opens in 2023

Frequencies and journey times

Services operate between 05:00 and midnight, at 7- to 10-minute intervals 7 days a week (the period during which the interval is every 7 minutes is shorter on Sunday than on other days). Journey times are approximately 30 to 35 minutes from the city centre to the airport. [120] The first morning services commence at the Gyle Centre and the last evening services terminate at Edinburgh Airport from York Place and Edinburgh Gateway on city-bound services after 22:48 from the Airport. [121] During the Festival, trams run later on Friday and Saturday nights. Service frequencies are usually extended to every 3 minutes before and after events at Murrayfield Stadium. [122]

Rolling stock

Current fleet

Edinburgh Trams currently operates a fleet of 27 trams, as follows: [123]

ClassImageType Top speed Length
 Capacity In
 mph  km/h StdSdgWTotal
CAF Urbos 3 Edinburgh tram, 5 August 2014 (1).jpg Tram 437042.878170225027251-277All lines2010–20122014–present

CAF Urbos 3

A £40 million contract to build 27 Urbos 3 trams, sufficient for phase 1a and (unbuilt) 1b lines, was awarded to CAF. When the line was cut back to York Place, only 17 trams would be needed. [124] An unsuccessful attempt was made in 2011 to lease ten trams to Transport for London for use on Tramlink. [125]

The trams are bi-directional, 42.8 metres (140 ft 5 in) long and with low-floor access to meet UK Rail Vehicle Access Regulations for disabled people. [126] [127]

In April 2010, the first tram was delivered and displayed at the Princes Street stop at the bottom of The Mound, [128] before being moved to open storage in Broxburn. [129] The 27th tram was delivered in December 2012. [130] The trams have wrapped advertisements for promoting local events and commercial advertising. [131]

Fares and ticketing

Fare structure

Ticketing and fares are integrated with Lothian Buses. A proof of payment system applies. The single fare within the city zone is the same as on Lothian Buses (£2, with effect from 1 April 2023); day tickets and Ridacards are equally valid on trams and buses. As an exception, the tram fare from the city zone to the airport is £7.50 one-way compared to £5.50 for the bus. [132] [133]

The "Ridacard" is a smartcard season ticket issued by Transport for Edinburgh; it is valid on both Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses (available for 1 week, 4 weeks or annually). On 1 September 2014, a rechargeable pre-paid smartcard for single journeys on both buses and trams, called "Citysmart", was introduced.

Free travel is available to holders of City of Edinburgh Council-issued Scottish National Entitlement Cards which are eligible for concessionary travel, and for a companion travelling with the cardholder of National Entitlement Cards with a companion entitlement. Passengers with National Entitlement Cards eligible for concessionary travel but issued by other local authorities are not offered any fare concession, with the exception of blind or visually impaired cardholders. [92] [134] [135]

An "onboard fare" of £10 is charged to passengers who have not pre-purchased a ticket or validated either a Ridacard, a National Entitlement Card or an m-ticket before boarding. [135] [136]

Ticket machines

The segregated track begins in Haymarket Yards (March 2014) Tram track at Haymarket, Edinburgh.JPG
The segregated track begins in Haymarket Yards (March 2014)

At the request of Lothian Buses, installation of 30 ticket machines at key bus stops began in 2007. Passengers had to purchase tickets before boarding the bus, reducing dwell times, [137] but the machines were not popular with users and were scrapped in 2011. Consideration was given to installing similar on-street ticket machines, [138] and new, advanced machines (capable of reading smartcards and accepting credit/debit cards) were installed in early 2014 at each tram stop. The new ticket machines are the Galexio-Plus type supplied by Flowbird Transport Ltd. [139] Ticket machines do not accept banknotes or give change. The minimum spend for a card transaction was originally £3 which was more than the cost for a single ticket. [140] The minimum spend was scrapped in September 2019 following complaints from customers and negative press comments. [141] [142]


Services run every 7 minutes throughout the entire line, between St Andrew Square and Edinburgh Airport.

Bicycle policy

In May and June 2015 cyclists were allowed to board the trams with their bikes, during a trial period which was supported by cycle campaign groups Spokes and Pedal on Parliament. Following this, Edinburgh trams became the first modern tram network in the UK to permit the carriage of bikes on a permanent basis, with up to two bicycles being allowed per tram outwith peak hours (7.30 am to 9.30 am, and 4 pm to 6.30 pm) and excluding the period of the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe (usually 3½ weeks during August) and other large events. [143]

Corporate affairs

Ownership and structure

Edinburgh Trams Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Transport for Edinburgh Limited. By virtue of its controlling interest in the parent's equity capital, the City of Edinburgh Council is the ultimate controlling party. [144]

The key trends for Edinburgh Trams Limited since it commenced operations in May 2014 are (years ending 31 December):

An Edinburgh tram, pictured in 2014 An Edinburgh tram (geograph 3970422).jpg
An Edinburgh tram, pictured in 2014
Turnover (£m)12.9915.8116.755.196.29
Operating profit (£m)0.450.250.251.609.407.887.687.21
Net profit after tax (£m)1.297.628.998.878.76
Number of employees (average)130163189210185207
Number of passengers (m)2.955.205.596.677.307.452.252.57
Number of trams (at year end)2727272727272727
Notes/sources [145]
[144] [144] [144] [147] [148] [149]

Edinburgh Trams made a pre-tax profit of £252,000 for 2016, against a predicted loss of £170,000, which meant that profitability had been achieved two years ahead of schedule. [150] This was based on excluding maintenance and infrastructure costs. Including these, as has been done since 2018 when these costs were shifted to Edinburgh Trams, the small operating profit (£3m) has turned to a large operating loss (e.g. −£9.4 million in 2018). [144] It has not achieved an operating profit since full costing. [144]


Fifty-two ticket inspectors have been recruited to prevent fare dodging. Edinburgh Council is aiming for a 3% fare evasion rate, lower than any other tramway in Britain. Thirty-two drivers were employed, after passing psychological tests designed to eliminate risk-takers. [151]

Accidents and incidents

Frequent accidents involving cyclists and the tramway have been reported since the opening of the system in 2014. These are typically caused by bicycle wheels getting stuck in the rails or by bikes skidding on the rails. [152] A study published in 2018 found that, up to April 2016, 191 cyclists in Edinburgh had suffered tramway-related accidents serious enough to require hospital treatment. [153] In September 2022, using Freedom of Information data, the BBC reported that there had been 422 accidents involving cyclists on the tram tracks, as a result of which 196 cyclists had made successful claims against Edinburgh City Council, resulting in £1,262,141 being paid in damages. [154]

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Easter Road</span> Football stadium

Easter Road is a football stadium located in the Leith area of Edinburgh, Scotland, which is the home ground of Scottish Premiership club Hibernian (Hibs). The stadium currently has an all-seated capacity of 20,421, which makes it the fifth-largest football stadium in Scotland. Easter Road is also known by Hibs fans as "The Holy Ground" or "The Leith San Siro". The venue has also been used to stage international matches, Scottish League Cup semi-finals and was briefly the home ground of the Edinburgh professional rugby union team.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Haymarket, Edinburgh</span> Human settlement in Scotland

Haymarket is an area of Edinburgh, Scotland. It is in the west of the city centre and is the junction of several main roads, notably Dalry Road, Corstorphine Road, and Shandwick Place. Haymarket contains a number of pubs, cafés and restaurants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blackpool Tramway</span> Light rail transit system in Lancashire, England

The Blackpool Tramway runs from Blackpool to Fleetwood on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, England. The line dates back to 1885 and is one of the oldest electric tramways in the world. It is operated by Blackpool Transport Services (BTS) and runs for 18 km. It carried 4.8 million passengers in 2019/20.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lothian Buses</span> Municipal bus operator in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Lothian Buses Limited is a major bus operator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the largest municipal bus company in the United Kingdom: the City of Edinburgh Council owns 91%, Midlothian Council 5%, East Lothian Council 3% and West Lothian Council 1%.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transport in Edinburgh</span> Overview of the transport system in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a major transport hub in east central Scotland and is at the centre of a multi-modal transport network with road, rail and air communications connecting the city with the rest of Scotland and internationally.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Granton, Edinburgh</span> Edinburgh suburb

Granton is a district in the north of Edinburgh, Scotland. Granton forms part of Edinburgh's waterfront along the Firth of Forth and is, historically, an industrial area having a large harbour. Granton is part of Edinburgh's large scale waterfront regeneration programme.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edinburgh Airport Rail Link</span>

The Edinburgh Airport Rail Link (EARL) was a proposed rail link to Edinburgh Airport, Scotland. The project was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2007, but following a change of government, was cancelled in September 2007 on the grounds of cost.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glasgow Airport Rail Link</span> Proposed rail line

The Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) is a proposed link between Glasgow City Centre and Glasgow Airport. The original plans for an airport rail link were proposed during the 2000s to directly link Glasgow Central station with Glasgow Airport in Scotland. The link was intended for completion by 2013 and would have had a service of four trains per hour via Paisley Gilmour Street railway station.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pilrig</span> Suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland

Pilrig is an area of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. The name probably derives from the long field (rig) on which a peel tower (pil/peel) stood. There is evidence of a peel tower situated on an area of higher ground above the Water of Leith.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transport Initiatives Edinburgh</span>

Tie Ltd. was a Scottish company which, from May 2002 to August 2011, project-managed large-scale transport projects on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council in Edinburgh. It was brought in as part of a public-private partnership (PPP) to improve Scottish public transport infrastructure development. Following its management of the controversial Edinburgh Trams project, the company was closed down in 2011.Transport for Edinburgh took over the Edinburgh Trams functions from Tie.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transport in Nottingham</span>

Nottingham is the seventh largest conurbation in the United Kingdom. Despite this, the city had a poor transport system in the 1980s. The government has in the early twenty-first century invested heavily in the transport network of Nottingham, which has led to the re-opening of the Robin Hood Line and the construction of a light rail network, Nottingham Express Transit.

Edinburgh Corporation Tramways formerly served the City of Edinburgh, Scotland. The city used four-wheeled double-decked trams painted dark red (madder) and white – a livery still used by Lothian Buses and the post-2014 Edinburgh Trams.

Trams operated in Edinburgh from 1871 to 1956, and resumed in 2014. The first systems were horse-drawn, while cable-haulage appeared in the city in 1888. Electric trams first ran on systems in neighbouring Musselburgh (1904) and Leith (1905), meeting the Edinburgh cable-trams at Joppa and Pilrig respectively. Electrification meant cable trams last ran in 1923, with through running now possible to Leith and as far east as Port Seton. The various systems were operated by different private and municipal entities over the years; the Edinburgh and Leith systems had been merged under Edinburgh Corporation by 1920, but it wasn't until 1928, after the partial closure of Musselburgh line, that all trams operating in Edinburgh were in the sole control of the corporation. The last electric trams ran in 1956, but electric trams returned in 2014 with the opening of Edinburgh Trams. Many of the trams from the horse/cable/first electric era were built in Shrubhill Works. Two trams have been preserved, a horse tram and an electric tram, built by Shrubhill in 1885 and 1948 respectively. A 1903 Dick Kerr cable-tram has also been purchased for preservation. Remnants of the cable-tram system can be seen in Waterloo Place and Henderson Row, and of the Musselburgh line at Morrison's Haven.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edinburgh Gateway station</span> Railway station in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Gateway station is a railway station and interchange at Gogar in Edinburgh, Scotland, which opened on 11 December 2016. It is served by ScotRail and Edinburgh Trams, and serves both Gogar and Edinburgh Airport, to which it is connected by the tram line.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Lothian Buses</span>

Lothian Buses is the largest provider of bus services in and around Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. It is entirely municipally owned, being 91% owned by the City of Edinburgh Council, with the remainder owned by Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian councils, although it no longer provides bus services in West Lothian under the same name. Lothian Buses plc is registered in Annandale Street, Edinburgh as company number SC096849.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">CAF Urbos 3 (Edinburgh)</span> Part of the Edinburgh Tram network

The Edinburgh Tram network operates a fleet of CAF Urbos 3 low-floor trams that were specially designed for use in the city. Twenty-seven were built in Beasain, Spain, between 2009 and 2011.

Various studies, from 1989 onwards, considered the reintroduction of trams to Edinburgh. In 2001, a proposal for a new Edinburgh Trams network envisaged three routes across the city, Lines 1, 2 and 3. Line 1 was a circular route running around the northern suburbs, with the other two forming radial lines running out to Newbridge in the west and to Newcraighall in the south respectively. All lines would run through the city centre.


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