A SERIES of new images has been released of the latest tram developments, following the reopening of St Andrew Square in Edinburgh.
The aerial pictures from City of Edinburgh Council show track-building progress in key areas of the city, including Edinburgh Park, Murrayfield and Haymarket.
The tram depot at Gogarburn and a new underpass are visible in one shot showing the Gogar roundabout. Meanwhile, the tracks on Princes Street will today be put through a grinding process to clean and prepare them for use, which involves a rail-mounted vehicle removing rust and debris. The process began in the Haymarket area on Saturday.
City council transport leader Lesley Hinds said: “Good progress is now clearly visible across the city and I’m confident that all on-street works and cable installation will be completed by the end of the year.
“This means we can start full-line tram testing and driver training along the whole route soon after. 2013 has been a very productive year so far and I expect that to continue.”
Ms Hinds said much of the road and track work would be completed by June and she hopes all contractors will be finished by September, leaving the city easier to navigate.
A major milestone was reached last month, when St Andrew Square reopened after more than a year of tramworks. Laying concrete and joint-sealing work in the area was delayed due to cold weather.
Officials said track work at Haymarket and Shandwick Place, which has caused major traffic diversions, would also be finished this summer.
Work on York Place, at the eastern end of the eight-mile route, is due to be complete by the end of the year. Overhead power lines and underground cabling have yet to be installed.
Officially, the project is not due to be up and running until next July, several years later than expected and at a cost of more than twice the original budget. The project currently remains within its revised £776m budget.
However, test runs on the full route between Edinburgh Airport and York Place are planned to begin early next year.
A further update on the timescale and finances of the project is expected in September, when the start of the trials could be brought forward.
The first trial run on a stretch between Gogar and Edinburgh Airport was carried out in March.
• Pictures courtesy of Edinburgh Trams