Late and over-budget, Edinburgh's problem-plagued tram system opens to travelers

A state-of-the art tram system has carried its first paying passengers through Edinburgh — three years late and vastly over-budget.

The problem-plagued project, which took six years and cost 776 million pounds ($1.3 billion) — twice the original estimate — has been a longstanding headache for residents and transport chiefs in the Scottish capital.

The original plan called for an extensive network to open in 2010.

But amid rising costs and feuding between the city and contractors, the project was scaled down to a 9-mile (14 kilometer) line between airport and city center.

Travelers who took the first ride on Saturday welcomed the return of trams to Edinburgh after almost 60 years.

Marjory Broom said there was a "carnival atmosphere on board with people cheering as the tram set off."