Edinburgh trams: Timeline of twists and turns

A timeline of key events in the tram saga

• September 2001: Edinburgh City Council launches a new transport blueprint, which includes the reintroduction of trams. • May 2002: A company, Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie), is formed to deliver major transport projects for the council.

• March 2003: Then Scottish Executive transport minister Iain Gray says Edinburgh will receive £375 million for the development of a tram network.

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• December 2003: Cost of the two tram lines is estimated at £473m, leaving a £98m shortfall.

• January 2004: Two separate bills for tram lines are introduced in the Scottish Parliament.

• February 2005: Edinburgh’s failed congestion-charging referendum means a planned third tram line to the south of the city is scrapped. Completion date for first two lines slips back to 2009.

• February 2006: Reports emerge that a second tram line, linking Haymarket and Granton, is also likely to be shelved due to funding problems.

• March 2007: First work on Edinburgh’s tram project gets under way in Leith, with the scheme now due for completion in February 2011.

• May 2007: SNP forms a minority administration at Holyrood, left, and confirms plans to scrap Edinburgh’s airport-to-the-waterfront tram line.

• June 2007: MSPs vote to press ahead with the trams, forcing the new SNP administration to hand over £500m rather than risk losing power.

• December 2007: Councillors back the final business case for the project.

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• May 2008: Final contracts worth £521m for the project are signed off by the council and Tie.

• February 2009: A dispute flares between Tie and the construction consortium just before work is due to start on Princes Street, right, amid claims the contractors are demanding more money.

• March 2010: As the dispute drags on, reports emerge that Tie and the council have been warned the earliest start date has slipped to 2014.

• November 2010: Tie chairman David Mackay, who has led efforts to break the legal deadlock, quits and describes parts of it as “hell on wheels”.

• February 2011: An Audit Scotland report on the project calls for Transport Scotland to get involved in the project.

• March 2011: Official mediation talks with the consortium finally get under way.

• May 2011: Tie chief executive Richard Jeffrey resigns, right.

• June 2011: Council leader Jenny Dawe’s Lib Dem group wins crucial vote to press ahead with a curtailed tram line from the airport to St Andrew Square, after opposition groups are divided on their stance.

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• August 2011: Labour and Tories join forces to vote in favour of cutting back the line to Haymarket. Finance secretary John Swinney demands a rethink and threatens to withdraw final tranche of funding.

• September 2011: Councillors overturn previous vote and back tram line to St Andrew Square with price tag of £776m. Scottish Government says it will now “oversee” the project.

• April 2012: Council chiefs admit £592m has now been spent on the project.

• Summer 2014: The new date when the trams are expected to start running.

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