By Kane Mumford
THE FIRST of a fleet of trams being delivered for the beleaguered Edinburgh tram project was almost two hours late today.
The vehicle was due to arrive in the capital this morning (October 17) at the city’s new depot after travelling more than 900 miles from Spain.
But traffic hold ups on the city’s bypass meant the tram arrived a lot later than expected.
The vehicle’s ferry journey from Amsterdam to Newcastle was also delayed, according to city council officials.
Spectators attended the under-construction depot in the city’s Gogar area at 11am expecting to see the new tram, the first of a 27-strong fleet due to operate in the city by 2014.
But the three flat-bed trucks carrying the tram in seven segments failed to show up at the expected time of 11am.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council admitted there had been ‘delays’.
She said the tram had already been delayed on its journey from Amsterdam to Newcastle.
The vehicle hit further delays as it was transported along the A1 and the Edinburgh bypass, she said.
The tram eventually arrived at around 12.50pm.
The delays were put down to bad weather.
The rest of the fleet are expected to arrive in the coming months.
The tram was delivered from Irna, in the Basque region of Spain.
The segments of the tram will be eased onto a non-electrified portion of the track.
It will then undergo a series of static tests in December on a 15 metre portion of test track.
Originally due to cost £375 million pounds, costs on the project have spiralled and the budget increased to £545 million.
However, it’s estimated that the total cost could reach £773million.
In August it was announced that international consultancy Turner & Townsend would take over the running of the project from TIE.
The council is desperately trying to sell off their surplus tram vehicles, already painted in Edinburgh livery, to raise funds to plug the spending shortfall.
The line was originally planned to span the city from Edinburgh airport to Newhaven but lack of funding means the trams will instead terminate at St Andrews Square.
Last month it was announced that the council had been shortlisted for an excellence award, despite their handling of the trams project.
Edinburgh City Council is in the running for the title of “Council of the Year in Service Delivery”, despite failing to deliver the tram line on time, on budget, or to its original destination.
The council was up against 300 other local authorities in the competition, which is run by the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE).
Independent MSP Margo Macdonald said she was not surprised to hear about the latest hitch. She said: “I feel that there’s nothing that can happen in this whole situation that can now go smoothly. In the scheme of things it doesn’t make much of a difference if the tram was a couple of hours late but when you look at the bigger picture it is just another little foul-up in one big mistake.”