Train interchange delay threatens to push back tram project

FEARS were raised yesterday of further delays to Edinburgh's tram project after it emerged that plans for a key tram-train interchange on the city's western edge will not be lodged for at least another month.

The project has also been made more complicated because the new rail station and adjacent tram stop, on the A8 east of the Gogar roundabout, will be built as separate schemes.

The interchange was ordered by SNP ministers to enable rail passengers to reach Edinburgh Airport by tram after they scrapped a direct link in 2007.

Tram officials are said to have expected a planning application for the station months ago to enable it to be finished in time for the tram line being opened.

Delays to the 545 million Edinburgh Airport-Newhaven line have already pushed back its opening months beyond the planned July 2011 date, and it is now expected to be in 2012.

Network Rail said it would exhibit details of the station plans at the Gogar shopping centre at 29 July and 13 August before submitting an application.

The station will be funded as part of Transport Scotland's 1 billion Edinburgh-Glasgow rail improvement programme. This will include a new junction to enable trains between the cities to run via Gogar.

Steve Cardownie, the SNP deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council, said the rail plans should have been ready by now.

He said: "They appear to be cutting it fine and are taking a risk which would not have been necessary if the plans had been in earlier. If there are any hiccups, it's going to put everything out of synch."