Edinburgh's trams were due to be running by 2011, some 65 years after the last tram trundled through the capital's streets. However, after delays, budget issues, and a contractual dispute, the trams opened on 31 May 2014.
A fleet of 27 trams were due to ferry up to 20,000 passengers per hour through the city from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven. However, the line now stops in Edinburgh City Centre at St Andrew Square / York Place and will cost up to £776m (see completion schedule).
The trams are due to be integrated with bus timetables and tram tickets should cost the same as bus tickets.
Edinburgh Tram Routes
The first phase of the new Edinburgh tram system was due to follow a route from Ocean Terminal at Leith Docks in the North of the City, pass along Leith Walk to Princes Street via St. Andrew Square, continue West to Haymarket, past Murrayfield, out to the busy Edinburgh Park interchange, continuing past the Gyle near the city outskirts, and on to Edinburgh Airport.
Edinburgh’s trams are likely to be the biggest in the UK at 42.8m long and 2.65m wide with 7 articulated sections. There is a capacity for approximately 250 passengers on each, which is the equivalent to 2.5 double deck buses.
The trams are 100% low floor with level boarding, large door vestibule areas and wide aisles making the tram ideal for buggies and prams
On-street the trams can travel up to 50kph (30mph) and off-street the trams can reach a maximum of 70kph (about 45mph).
The trams will be able to negotiate tight curves and steepish gradients, such as the gradual climb on Leith Walk if in coming decades the original tram plan is completed (there is no plan to put a tram up the Mound).
Trams are expected to have low noise, smooth acceleration and braking, and state of the art security features and information systems.
The trams are expected to alleviate congestion on the main route, but critics have argued that the trams are adding more traffic congestion and pollution.