East Lothian Courier

‘QMU option’ could see trams reach the county

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A ‘QMU [Queen Margaret University] option’ has been highlighte­d as a potential future tram route, as the possibilit­y of extending Edinburgh’s trams into East Lothian is considered.

It comes as council bosses in the Capital are set to plead with Scottish Government ministers to hand over up to £2 billion for a new tram line connecting the north of the city with the south.

The plans have been touted previously and would see the tram line pass over the Royal Mile and through the Old Town towards the southern boundary of the city.

Scott Arthur, City of Edinburgh Council transport convener, is optimistic that the entire line could be open by 2035, with the northern section from Granton to the city centre operationa­l by 2031. It is hoped that work will start in five years’ time.

Pressed if he was confident the tram project would be up and running by 2035, Mr Arthur said: “I think so.”

If completed, city bosses hope it would double the number of passengers that use the tram.

Council bosses have slightly amended the initial plans between Granton and the city centre to make it easier for people to reach the Western General Hospital with the route joining the original tram line at Roseburn.

Considerat­ion is also being given to potential future routes into East Lothian, as well as Midlothian.

That includes a possible ‘QMU option’ – highlighte­d in maps of possible future tram routes put forward by City of Edinburgh Council – which would connect Queen Margaret University in Musselburg­h with the rest of the tram network.

Subject to approval of councillor­s, a 12-week consultati­on will be held on the plans and alternativ­e options that have been discounted.

The latest part of the tram network to open from the city centre to Newhaven cost about £207 million and was funded by borrowing paid

back by future ticket sales.

But the latest plans will need upfront capital costs, funded by the Scottish Government.

If approved by councillor­s, a formal request will be made to the Scottish Government to help fund the project, while Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop has held talks with Mr Arthur.

An East Lothian Council spokespers­on said: “While we are aware of the City of Edinburgh Council report regarding the tram network – and are happy to discuss potential opportunit­ies to further improve public transport locally as and when they arise – extensive considerat­ion would need to be given to what may or may not be feasible. More generally, we are supportive of Scotland’s Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 (STPR2) and the need to improve mass transit over the city region.”

Transport Scotland said it was yet to receive a formal approach for capital funding for the trams project.

 ?? ?? Trams could extend into East Lothian under possible options being considered
Trams could extend into East Lothian under possible options being considered

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