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Edinburgh trams could extend to Newhaven in five years

Council discusses £165m plan for line running down Leith Walk from York Place.

Edinburgh Trams: Services currently run from city centre to airport.
Edinburgh Trams: Services currently run from city centre to airport. Transport for Edinburgh

Edinburgh tram passengers could be taking the line to Newhaven in five years time, according to new plans being discussed by the council.

The £165m proposal would extend the tram line down Leith Walk from its current terminus at York Place.

A final decision on the plan is expected to be made in 2018 if the business case is approved.

Following a three-year construction period, passengers could to be on the trams to Newhaven via Ocean Terminal in the first half of 2022.

The local authority has said it will learn the lessons of the past after the initial construction was plagued by delays and cost increases.

A report will be considered by the council transport committee on September 4 and then by the full council on September 21.

Route: New line will go down Leith Walk.
Route: New line will go down Leith Walk. City of Edinburgh Council

Council leader Adam McVey, said: "As the fastest growing city in Scotland and with our existing system nearing capacity, we have to look at ways of enhancing our public transport system.

"The planned tram extension route takes in Scotland's most densely populated area and, taken with low car ownership, developing high capacity transport to Newhaven would bring a range of local benefits in terms of boosting economic growth, creating jobs, enhancing accessibility, reducing congestion and improving air quality.

"We're now working to make sure that the business case is as robust as possible to ensure we have confidence that the project can be delivered on time and on budget."

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said on Tuesday: "Only yesterday, we were named the UK's best city for transport links, demonstrating the success of our continued work to deliver a truly integrated public transport system for the capital.

"We cannot be complacent, though. We must ensure we keep investing in public transport and sustainable travel, both to cater to ever greater numbers of residents and visitors and to improve our environment."

She added: "The outline business case demonstrates good early performance for the tram, with patronage expected to double in the first year.

"Crucially, however, it also shows Lothian Buses continuing to operate at the high standard of service we've come to depend on.

"We have the opportunity now to study the numbers in more depth before deciding on whether to progress, taking into account the needs of the city's tax payers, and ensuring we learn lessons from the past."

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