Trams to Newhaven in a nutshell

The launch of services to Newhaven has certainly marked the beginning of a new era for us here at Edinburgh Trams. Now that we take customers from the airport all the way down to Leith Walk and beyond, our business is undoubtedly playing a bigger role in the city’s life and prosperity. As we reach our 10th birthday, we’d like to share with you some key moments throughout this project, from start to finish. Take a look!

November 2019 – Construction works start

The first phase of work to take trams to Newhaven started on Constitution Street just before the festive period. This followed six months of joint work by the City of Edinburgh Council, Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul (SFN), and Morrison Utility Services (MUS), to finalise the construction programme and costs for the project.

TtN works star

June 2020 – Works resume despite COVID-19 pandemic

Construction works stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak but resumed following the go-ahead from the Scottish Government to move to Phase 2. The project then restarted on the existing sites on Lindsay Rd, Melrose Drive, and Constitution St, with Leith Walk, Elm Row, and Crown Place to begin next. 

works resume

February 2022 – Works to demolish York Place tram stop, begin

Works to connect the original section of the line to Newhaven required the permanent closure of the York Place tram stop and the temporary suspension of services to other city centre stops. The process of demolishing this stop took approximately two months, with trams returning to Princes Street and St Andrew Square earlier than expected.

York Place closure

December 2022 – Final tracks are installed

Ahead of the first passenger services, the last section of real was laid at Picardy Place. With the construction phase of the project nearing completion, two-way traffic resumed shortly afterwards, between Great Junction Street and Duke Street. Finishing touches were also carried out, including removing most of the fencing and filling excavations around the lamppost columns along Leith Walk.

Tracks installed

February 2023 – Overhead line works are complete

Service to the city centre stops resumed following the completion of overhead line works to connect the existing wires with the Trams to Newhaven Project. This facilitated the start of intensive testing and commissioning to ensure all the infrastructure met the highest safety standards before the launch in the spring of last year.

OLE connection

March 2023 – Trams made it to Newhaven!

History was made on March 13 when the first tram in over 65 years ran down Leith Walk as part of the Testing & Commissioning phase. That night involved trams travelling at a walking pace along small sections of the route, starting at Picardy Place. Frequency then increased in the following weeks, with trams running to a timetable and drivers taking on familiarisation training.

Testing & Commissioning

April 2023 – Driver testing begins

Around 40 new drivers, who were hired as part of our successful ‘Glide to the Future’ recruitment campaign, joined their more experienced colleagues in helping to usher in a new era for the network. Before taking the controls of a real tram on the line, however, they received thorough training at our purpose-built learning and development facility, where a state-of-the-art simulator familiarised them with both the existing and extended lines.

Ryan - Daytime testing

June 2023 – We are open to customers!

Following years of intensive work, we welcomed customers onboard at Picardy Place and Newhaven. With eight new stops, plus 4.6 extra kilometres of track, we introduced our award-winning services to some of Edinburgh’s most densely populated areas, as well as key destinations such as Ocean Terminal and Port of Leith.

Craig Norris