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Edinburgh’s trams are on track for … Croydon

TEN trams due to begin operation in Edinburgh this year are likely to enter service instead in London because the Scottish project is so badly behind schedule.

The last of 27 trams being built by Spanish firm CAF is due to be completed next month but, with work on the route in the capital stalled amid mediation talks, there is little prospect of them being needed in the near future.

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Tie, the council-owned firm overseeing the £545 mil-lion project, confirmed yesterday it has been named as one of three bidders shortlisted to supply 10 trams to Transport for London (TfL) for its Croydon network.

It declined to say how long the vehicles, which cost £2m each, would be used by TfL but a spokesman for the London firm said it had invited bids for a period of “10 to 20 years”.

Tie has proposed a phased approach to the 11.5-mile route, with the leg between the city centre and New-haven Harbour postponed until funding allows.

A spokesman said the number of trams needed had not been decided as plans to phase the route had not yet been agreed. However, John Carson, a former director of maintenance at Network Rail, said: “There are plenty of trams going spare.”

He added: “The 27 trams ordered originally were not only for route 1A but 1B, which was cancelled due to a lack of funds.

“You would need about 16 or 17 trams to run from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven. But if the track only goes as far as St Andrew Square, you would only need six, with two spares.”

A Tie spokesman said: “This is part of our responsibility for making best use of public spending and protecting the interests paid for through the public purse during construction.”

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