THE extension of the Edinburgh tram network has officially opened to passengers.

After nearly three and half years of construction work on the 2.9-mile track from Picardy Place to Newhaven, the first paying passengers were welcomed aboard by a bagpiper at 12 o’clock on Wednesday.

The £207 million extension sees trams return to Leith Walk for the first time since 1956, with eight new stops added running from the city centre, through Leith and into Newhaven.

However, a two-year project to address remaining issues with the extension is ongoing.

Councillors have already set their sights on extending the network further, with City of Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day saying that they already have permission to go ahead with a line which would connect Haymarket and Granton – completing the “north loop” of the network.

By Wednesday afternoon trams were running regularly between the airport, city centre and Leith, with throngs of passengers making use of the new service.

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It comes as the inquiry into the initial tram project – which cost twice its original budget and finished five years later than expected – is due to publish its long-awaited findings.

Since being set up in 2014 the inquiry has cost more than £13m.