Surplus Edinburgh trams set to run in London instead

TEN trams which have been acquired by the City of Edinburgh may run in south London instead, because the project to develop a tram system in the Scottish capital has fallen so far behind schedule.

The council-owned tram development company TIE confirmed today that it has been shortlisted by Transport for London as one of three potential suppliers of additional trams for the lines which link Wimbledon with Croydon and other local destinations.

London Tramlink has become steadily more popular since trams returned to the capital just over ten years ago, with ridership up by almost 50 per cent. Now Transport for London wants to increase the size of its fleet from 24 to 34, so that more frequent services can be operated from early next year.

In Edinburgh, however, the plan to run trams from the airport through the city centre to Leith and Newhaven has continued to flounder.

Crisis mediation talks between the contractors and the development company broke up without agreement just over a week ago, and are not set to restart until the second week in April.

Railnews has also learnt that the first phase of the Edinburgh system, which is not expected to open before mid-2013, is now likely to serve only the section between Edinburgh Airport and Haymarket, which means that the cross-city centre corridor along Princes Street will not see trams for several years yet.

Beyond that lies the next section onwards to Leith, but no date has been given for services there, and until that happens no more than 17 trams will be needed by the city.

A spokesman for TIE said the ten surplus CAF-built trams could be provided on long-term loan, and no decision would be taken until the detailed tender documents had been received from Transport for London.

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