Edinburgh Trams to Newhaven: First trams to be tested on new line at Picardy Place
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Trams will be tested on the new £207 million extension for the first time tonight as the Trams to Newhaven project nears completion ahead of its official launch in Spring this year.
Trams will begin travelling along the new track at a gentle pace across several sections of the route from March 13 until March 17 to assess the integrity of the line and ensure new signals operate effectively and safely. It is understood that trams will operate at a walking pace this week before travelling at faster speeds as the trial progresses. Following phase one further tests will be carried out across the new line.
The testing period comes three years after the construction began in November 2019, with a three-month pause in 2020 owing to the pandemic. The work added eight new tram stops, 228 overhead line poles and just under three miles of track in both directions.
The first phase of trials begins at Picardy Place, where the final piece of track was laid three months ago and 22 months after the first piece of track was laid on Leith Walk. The trails will see trams tested across several sections of the new line this week before testing of the entirety of the track in the coming weeks.
Much to the delight for many residents, two-way traffic was reinstated on Leith Walk last month and in a bid to minimise traffic disruption the testing phase will take place during the evening, with traffic martials in place.
In a statement last month, transport convener, councillor Scott Arthur said: “Once fully complete, this project will be transformative for Leith Walk and the rest of the route while benefitting the wider city economy and helping to cut congestion. Not only will it provide reliable, high-capacity connections to the north of the city but it has significantly improved and enhanced public spaces and active travel links along the line.”