Edinburgh trams to Newhaven: Tram extension opening date for June 2023 announced
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He said the Granton link was likely to be pursued next because it would be the easiest to achieve.
A line between Haymarket and Granton was originally envisaged as part of the tram project but had to be shelved due to a lack of available funding.
It has been revived under a long-term vision for trams to run between the north and south of the city, linking Granton with the Edinburgh BioQuarter development at Little France, Newcraighall and Dalkeith.
The £207 million tram line extension was previously said to be on schedule to open by “spring 2023.”
Speaking at the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group conference, Mr Lowder suggested people could expect the extended tram service to be operational by 21 June, insisting it would still count as "late spring."
Mr Lowder said: “Later this month, we will switch the power off for about a week’s time, trams will have to turn at Shandwick Place. As soon as the two systems are linked up, Lea and the team will start running trams to Newhaven.
"They will actually be walked in the first instance, to make sure that the tram fits and gets around all the bends. We will bring it back up and do it a bit faster, then put some people on it and then, in late spring, we'll be into service."
Several major cultural projects are planned to take shape in Granton over the next few years, including the transformation of its historic gas holder, a new National Galleries of Scotland attraction and collection centre, and the reopening of Granton's historic railway station into a creative industries hub.
Mr Lowder adde: “The really big question is ‘where next?’ We’ve always said the tram should be the backbone of Edinburgh’s public transport system and served by the bus service, which would then be increasingly recast to bring people to the tram, which then becomes the principle mass-transit mode of transport through the city.
"We definitely want to link the two big developments in the north and south of the city – the Granton waterfront and the bioquarter.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the work the council’s doing at the moment. An options appraisal will come back by the end of 2023, looking at all alignments, deliverability and other considerations like economic and environmental benefits.
“However we would say ‘do the do the easy bit first.’ From our perspective, that’s the Granton spur, for which we have permissions and would be less expensive than going to the south-east. “It goes down what was an urban railway, the alignment is relatively straightforward and the majority is off-road.
“It also makes sense from a visitor economy perspective if we are trying to get people beyond the city centre and opening up the waterfront.
“From our perspective, we should go to Granton first before we work out how to go to the south-east.”