Cracks show in Edinburgh trams project

The trams are to run along the former guided busway

MORE cracks are showing in Edinburgh’s beleaguered tram project with the discovery of damage to parts of the line.

Contractors are already repairing the road surface in the city’s Princes Street, but a section of track running between the Broomhouse and Stenhouse areas of the city is may also be in need of repair.

Cracks have appeared at two metre intervals along the line.

The news has led to concerns that the problem will only get worse when the line opens in 2014.

If contractors are forced to go back and repair the section critics say it will add to costs and timescales on the already over-budget and behind schedule project.


But cracks are already showing in the concrete

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the Labour transport spokeswoman, said: “The concern is with the condition of the concrete and has anyone inspected it to see if they have put down tram lines which are fit for purpose?

“Secondly has it been inspected to ensure that it will not cost more money later?

“It must be concerning that there are cracks on the tracks and the track bearing support. I am no expert but most people would be concerned that that this is something that they may have to do again.

“We will have heavy trams, heavier than the normal trams we have heard, and that could have a big effect on this.

“We need assurances from the tram project [team] that we are not laying down rails when we will have to dig up the concrete in years to come. It is a long-term project and we do not want to do what we had to do with Princes Street.”


Princes Street is already having its tram lines repaired

The route was once a “guided busway” but the £10million scheme closed in 2009, just five years after opening.

The tram rails were laid on top of the old structure later the same year.

Concerns about the state of the route were raised by local resident Paul French, 51.

He said: “The cracks go all the way to the ground and it is every two or three metres.

“If you have cracks in concrete then it will get weeds and grass through it and will get the weather through it as well.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council said: “Worksites are inspected on a regular basis, including the busway, and any works required prior to the route becoming operational will be handled in due course.”


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  1. If the concrete laid to support rubber tyred single deck buses is cracking under the weight of concrete sleepers and steel rail track then that concrete will be unable to support 45 ton 5 coach trams. The trams will also create cyclical loading and unloading on the concrete that is cracking. In my opinion the concrete under the sleepers and track is insufficiently thick or insufficiently reinforced to support the sleepers and track and must be be brocken out and replaced.

    This will involve the removal of the sleepers and track before work can commence.

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