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Princes Street power lines to be installed in weeks as tram project gathers pace

Shandwick Place

Shandwick Place

 

OVERHEAD lines are to be installed in Princes Street within eight weeks, as new images suggest the tram route is finally beginning to take shape.

Contractors will begin to install one of the final pieces of that stretch when power lines are fitted in October.

Although the line will need to be linked with Shandwick Place in the east and St Andrew Square in the west, road and track works representing the bulk of the work on Princes Street are now largely complete.

Track laying is also underway at St Andrew Square, one of the main stops on the route, with overhead line installation and electrification works planned from October.

Construction work on some of the 11 bridges needed to connect parts of the route in the west of Edinburgh is also under way, with the laying of the main beams at the South Gyle Access and Water of Leith crossings scheduled for completion by Monday morning.

New aerial images taken of Edinburgh Airport also show work coming together.

The main line will be built on to the approach road and run within 100 yards of the main terminal, with a covered walkway stretching the remainder of the journey.

Overhead lines will also be installed running from the Gogar depot – the main tram base – to the airport.

Tram chiefs say they are still on schedule for the network to begin operating by summer 2014 and within the revised £776 million budget approved by councillors last year, although it is clear a good deal of work still needs to be done.

The Edinburgh Park viaduct, which will carry trams over the railway line, is now complete with track laying under way on the connections on either side.

The business park will have its own tram stop named Edinburgh Park Central.

Despite the apparent progress, the project has come under fire in recent weeks after the Evening News revealed that drivers are having to continually run the 18 vehicles around the test track at Gogar to prevent them seizing up.

The remaining nine vehicles will arrive by the end of this year and also need to be run around the 500-metre track. The action is intended to prevent the wheels from flattening should they stand still too long.

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “The fact that we are now laying track in both Shandwick Place and South St Andrew Street is a great indication of the progress being made.

“I think people will start to see visible signs of the project being delivered from now on. In York Place, work has just begun and, while there will be disruption to the local area, we are considering ways of easing traffic levels following feedback from residents.”

Key Dates

Princes Street

• Road/track works: January 2012-July/Sep 2013

• Line installation and electrification: October 2012-early 2014

Shandwick Place

• Road closure: January 2012-July/Sept 2013

• Line installation and electrification: April/June 2013-Jan/March 2014

York Place

• Line installation and electrification: July/Sept 2013-Jan/March 2014

• Road/track works: July 2012-Dec 2013

Tram deliveries

• August 2012 – 18

• December 2012 – 27

 

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