Edinburgh City Council has initiated a step towards expanding the city’s tram network by announcing plans for a public consultation on a proposed second tram route. This new line aims to enhance connectivity across the city, with discussions set to begin in spring 2024.

With an estimated cost of £2 billion for the new tram line, the council is currently without the necessary funds to proceed. The announcement, therefore, serves as an expression of the council’s intention to advance with the project, despite the absence of allocated funding for the development of essential planning stages, estimated to cost around £44 million.

The consultation, scheduled for a 12-week period in spring 2024, will seek public opinion on the route before drafting a Strategic Business Case. Feedback from this consultation is expected to be reviewed by autumn 2024.

The proposed line, which would intersect with the existing tram route along Princes Street, is designed to run from Granton in the north to the BioQuarter and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in the south-east. This route offers potential benefits, including support for existing and future housing developments, enhancement of the Shawfair town centre, and improved connections with the Borders Railway and the East Coast Main Line.

The council anticipates potential funding from the Scottish Government or Transport Scotland, reflecting the project’s inclusion in strategic transport plans. However, financial support remains uncertain due to current budgetary constraints.

Transport and Environment Committee Convener Scott Arthur highlighted the transformative impact of the tram extension, emphasizing its potential to support local regeneration, economic growth, and connectivity to educational and cultural sites. The council is committed to presenting the route options transparently, inviting public feedback to ensure the project’s success.

This consultation follows the completion of the tram line to Newhaven in June 2023, marking the continuation of Edinburgh’s tram network expansion. The council’s approach underlines the importance of community engagement and strategic planning in developing public transport infrastructure that meets the city’s future mobility needs.