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Edinburgh trams could be used in Croydon

The tram vehicles that have been constructed for the beleaguered Edinburgh tram line could be put to use in London after the city council submitted a bid to supply new trams for Croydon.

The mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced the shortlisted bidders to supply Transport for London (TfL) with up to ten more trams, which will increase services on the Tramlink network.

City of Edinburgh Council and CAF, who constructed the trams as part of the BSC consortium, have been shortlisted, as have Swiss manufacturer Stadler and Polish manufacture Pesa.

Work on the Edinburgh tram project has stopped as the consortium, led by Bilfinger Berger, and the council’s transport authority tie have been in dispute over changes and delays to the project for more than two years.

The line is likely to be truncated from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre rather than to Newhaven in the north of the city as was originally planned, but there is no confirmed opening date due to the delays. It was originally planned to open this year.

A truncated opening would leave the city with an excess of tram vehicles, as 27 were ordered for the complete line.

The shortlisted consortium will now be invited to submit proposals to Transport for London to supply the additional trams which would increase the frequency of services on the busiest parts of the network between Therapia Lane, central Croydon and Elmers End.

If acceptable bids are received, the extra trams could be in service in just under a year.

A Edinburgh Trams spokesman said that they were “pleased” to have been included as a bidder. “We have for some time made it plain that as part of our normal operations, we would expect to explore all sensible options for cooperating with other UK authorities where there may be an operational synergy of tram vehicles.”

“This is part of our responsibility for making best use of public spending and protecting the interests paid for through the public purse during the construction phase,” he added.                                                                  

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “I have no greater responsibility as Mayor than to ensure people can move around this city with ease, comfort and reliability. Trams in Croydon have proved a major success and this is reflected in journey numbers which have soared by 45% since the network opened in 2000. I look forward to the extra vehicles developing this vital, much-appreciated, and indeed attractive, form of transport further.”

The London Borough of Croydon has confirmed a £3M contribution in funding to the project which will also include the refurbishment of tramstops.

Croydon Council leader Mike Fisher said: “This is looking like a great deal for Croydon and shows the benefits of an ambitious local authority and committed Mayor working together, pooling resources and expertise.

“There is real support to get additional trams for Croydon to keep pace with growing demand for Tramlink services and also to secure major improvements for pedestrians and transport users around and between East and West Croydon stations.”

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