AN idling tram being used to test noise levels sparked rumours that the near-billion pound transport network had broken down just weeks into daytime testing.
Engineers were carrying out inspections yesterday, measuring the level of noise and vibrations emanating from carriages to assess the nuisance affect on shops and offices along the 8.7-mile route – and the potential impact on the integrity of buildings.
It follows fears last summer that a one-way city centre traffic system would lead to more buses on George Street and undermine the centuries-old buildings that could deteriorate under the stress.
Using sound level devices, test crews entered buildings along Princes Street and other areas in the heart of the Capital to survey the impact in decibels from idling trams.
Engine noise, driver horns and passenger bells were among the sounds measured in testing, with the recorded results being compared with the results of similar tests carried out before the tram tests.
The stationary trams sparked a flurry of interest on social media with several city residents voicing fears the beleaguered transport system may have already come unstuck.
One onlooker, who tweeted an image but declined to be identified, spoke of his relief that the static tram was fully functioning.
He said: “It was the first time I had seen a tram on Princes Street and I wanted to see how fast they travel.
“But this one didn’t move for over five minutes.
“I thought it might have broken down, but it’s good to know it’s not another fault and just routine testing.”
It follows the Capital’s first tram-jam of modern times after an on-call ambulance parked on tram tracks, creating tailbacks on a city centre street on Monday.
The delay, caused by paramedics attending an emergency, sparked questions over what would happen in the event of a major incident on the line after spectators believed the tram had broken down.
Tram bosses insisted that following an emergency along route affected passengers would be directed to the nearest bus stop.
Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Surveys to measure noise and vibration levels in selected buildings adjacent to the tram route were carried out before the on-street tram tests began.
“These are follow-up tests for comparison.”
Tram chiefs revealed this week that a flood of e-mails have been received from volunteers to help test the tram system. Around 1000 would-be passengers are needed to act as “guinea pigs” for the system.
It is understood more than 500 e-mails were received within just six hours.
The large-scale dummy-run – given the exotic codename Exercise Salvador (Spanish for “saviour”) – is set to take place on March 13, and the lucky volunteers set to take part will be e-mailed in the coming days.
Edinburgh Trams are expected to receive their first fare-paying customers in May.