Train Travels: Volume 20 – Edinburgh Trams

There has been a recent addition to Edinburgh City Centre, the Capital City of Scotland. It takes the form of a Tramline that runs between York Place in the centre, and the Airport on the edge of the city, and we decided to make a special visit to the city to check them out…

Airport – York Place

Calling at:

  • Airport
  • Ingliston
  • Gogarburn, Gyle Centre
  • Edinburgh Park Central
  • Edinburgh Park
  • Bankhead, Saughton
  • Balgreen, Murrayfield Stadium
  • Haymarket
  • West End, Princes Street
  • St Andrew Square
  • York Place

The stops are split into two zones, with the City Zone covering all stops except the Airport, which is in its own zone. Fares rise if you are travelling to the Airport, but if you are going around the city zone you can get an all day ticket which is also valid on all buses in the city. The service is great value for money especially with the addition of bus travel, so you can explore the city all day. Ticket machines are located on the platforms.

There is a fleet of 27 trams in service, built by CAF:

1) Urbos 3 Tram

Ed Tram

The trams used on the network originate from Beasain in Spain, and were built by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF). An order for 27 was put in , and they were built between 200 and 2011, and were ready in plenty of time for the line to open on the 31st May 2014. The trams have space for 170 standing passengers, and 78 seated one, and include luxurious seats which are incredibly comfortable. All of the trams are bi-directional, so they feature a cab at each end and save having to turn them round at the end of the line.

To help them blend into everyday life in the city, they were painted in the same livery as the Lothian Buses used throughout the city, the colours of which were introduced in 2010. There is a large tram depot at Gogar, which features an extra stop on the line not shown on the tram line map, as it is only for use by staff.

There are various extensions planned for the route, however the first stage went far over budget, and construction time overran considerably, so extensions are no longer a certainty. The main line is shown in Red, and is called 1a, from the Airport round to York Place via Princes Street. The Trams stop at St Andrew Square, Haymarket and Edinburgh Park Stadium, where you can change for mainline train stations and local bus services.

Below is a selection of pictures I took from the tram as we travelled through the city:

They include:

1) Edinburgh Castle, sat high above the city on a large rocky outcrop.

2) Church of St Johns down Princes Street.

3) St Georges West Church.

4) Murrayfield Stadium, largest Stadium in Scotland (4th in the UK) and the home of the Scottish Rugby League.

5) Gogar Tram Depot where the rest of the fleet is stored.

6) Edinburgh Airport in the distance, with the well known main Control Tower.

Edinburgh View

I’ll leave you with a panoramic picture I took looking out over the City Centre, taken from North Bridge, a road bridge which runs over Edinburgh Waverley Station. The City Centre here is divided into 3 parts, with the new town on the right, the old town on the left, and in the centre a large trench that was originally a large lake, or loch as they are known in Scotland. It was eventually drained and three stations built by rival companies were built here. These were eventually all merged and demolished, allowing for the construction of the present station, called Edinburgh Waverley, in 1866. The large glass roof you can see above covers the station, and continues on over the other side of this bridge.

There are so many landmarks visible from here, starting with Princes street, the road on the left above the station. The Trams run up here so you can easily transit from the airport to the City Centre. Also on the left is the tall spire of the Scott Monument, dedicated to Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832, Scottish Poet) with the Ferris Wheel behind it. Also part of Waverley Station is the Princes Street Mall, which fills the gap between the station roof and the pavement. At the front left of the picture is the beautiful Waverley Hotel, built as the North British Hotel in 1902. Most mainline stations had a large hotel built next to them so travellers had somewhere to stay, and although out of shot, there is a Clock Tower that stands on top of the building, and is visible from all over the city.

Directly in front of us here, past the station, are the Princes Street Gardens, a stunning array of landscaped gardens available for use by the public. Just past that is the light brown form of the Scottish National Gallery. THe railway line runs underneath it and re-emerges on the other side, running through the next section of the gardens, until a tunnel carries the line towards the next major station, Edinburgh Haymarket.

At the back right of the picture is Edinburgh Castle which overlooks the train line, and is sat at the top of the historical Royal Mile which runs from the Castle down to Holyrood Palace. The Old Town itself is incredible to look out, built on a hill the old buildings have been here for centuries, and it is one of Scotlands most well known landmarks.

Edinburgh is an incredible city, and aside from a great public transport network, there are a plethora of landmarks to explore, which you can read all about in my dedicated post here.


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