Edinburgh trams to launch on 31 May

EDINBURGH’S new trams will finally come into service at the end of this month.

The launch date for the Edinburgh trams will be announced tomorrow. Picture: Hemedia
The launch date for the Edinburgh trams will be announced tomorrow. Picture: Hemedia

The first tram will leave the Gyle shopping centre at 5am on May 31 bound for York Place in the city centre.

It follows six years of building work and problems, including a long-running dispute between the council and its contractor.

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The controversial project has seen the construction of a line from Edinburgh Airport to York Place, costing about £776 million.

Trams have become a familiar site in the capital recently, with testing of the system ongoing since March.

Thousands of passengers have boarded trams to allow Transport for Edinburgh to check out the operation and crowd management procedures.

Testing and training for drivers and staff will continue over the next four weeks but management feel it has reached a “satisfactory stage”, allowing them to set a start date.

Edinburgh Council transport convenor Lesley Hinds said: “We are very pleased to be able to confirm today that passenger services on Edinburgh Trams will begin running from 5am on Saturday May 31 - we’re ready to roll.

“The trams have already become a familiar sight in Edinburgh’s city centre as the comprehensive testing and training programme has progressed.

“This period has been invaluable for tram drivers and their fellow road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, as everyone gets used to interacting with the trams.

“I’ve been contacted by a great many residents eager to know when they’ll be able to start using the trams and I’m sure that now that the official start date is known, we’ll see that anticipation build further.”

A full timetable and ticket prices will be announced later this month.

Transport minister Keith Brown said: “Now that we have a confirmed date for the first passenger service it’s time to look forward with confidence and for the trams to give something back to Edinburgh.

“There has been much excitement and interest generated by the driver testing phase and the response on social media alone suggests that residents and local businesses are warming to the trams.”