Fresh blow for Edinburgh's trams as Croydon says no to leasing vehicles

THE Edinburgh trams project has been dealt a further blow after its directors failed in an attempt to raise vital funds by leasing out some of its redundant vehicles.

Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie), the council-owned firm set up to deliver the tram network, had hoped to raise up to 28 million by leasing ten trams to Croydon in Greater London.

However, Transport for London has now said it is not interested in Edinburgh's vehicles, which are being stored in Spain.

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Tie, which is widely expected to be axed after costs spiralled from 545m to 773m, has 27 vehicles worth 2m each. The current shortfall is estimated to be more than 170m.

It is expected that fewer will be needed to operate the significantly reduced line, from Edinburgh Airport to St Andrew Square in the city centre.

Edinburgh councillor Lesley Hinds said: "One of the options of raising this money was to sell or lease the extra trams that are now not going to be needed.

"The decision from Croydon is disappointing, but I assume the council is working on other options. It just seems to be one disaster after another."

The city's trams are understood to be some of the longest and heaviest ever built. They have already been painted with the Edinburgh livery and have been fitted with leather seats embossed with the Edinburgh Trams logo.

Any city which leases the vehicles would have to spend money removing those additions.

A spokesman for the tram project confirmed the bid for leasing the trams had not been accepted, but said the firm has not ruled out approaching other cities with tram systems.

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