City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Up to £740m To Scrap Edinburgh Trams Project


By edg - Posted on 22 June 2011

Tram works on Princes Street (June 2009)

Edinburgh City Council is due to meet on 30th June to decide on what direction to continue with the Edinburgh trams project. A draft of the report that will be presented to councillors at the meeting has been leaked (see STV news report).

As our posters to the Edinburgh transport blog have said all along - the report lays out how a radically downsized version of the original trams project would still need a massive injection of cash.

Around £200 million more to be precise if the Council votes just to scrap the scheme.

The original trams project, which was due to be running by now from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven was budgeted at £540 million.

The costs associated with each option are:

  1. £690-£740 million: Cancellation of the Edinburgh Trams project
  2. £700 million: Completion of the Edinburgh Trams project to Haymarket
  3. £725-773 million: Completion of the Edinburgh Trams project to St Andrew Square

The Council's preferred solution thus far seems to have been continuing the line to St Andrew Square, although the case for terminating at Haymarket looks much stronger when viewing these numbers (edit: having seen the Council report now I see that the STV news item didn't mention the Haymarket option "would be loss making and would require a substantial subsidy year-on-year going forward").

Whatever the decision on the 30th June, there is the further question of where the council will find the funding shortfall. The Scottish government maintains that it will not provide a penny more than the original £500 million allocated to the project.

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Here's a PDF of the now publicly available Trams Report

People are questioning where the numbers come from - the report doesn't give many details on where the final figures came from, due to "commercial sensitivity".

Lesley Hinds, Labour Transport Spokesperson, made this statement in a Labour party press release:

“I have real concerns over how this report is presented.

“It’s almost as if the Council want to present only 2 options: cancellation or completion to St. Andrew Square.

“I believe other options are available, such as completion to Haymarket, which could be delivered within existing available funding.”