Trams: 1000 volunteers needed for Murrayfield test

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TRAM bosses have issued a call to arms as they seek 1000 volunteers to become the first passengers and test out the new stop at Murrayfield.

The rallying cry comes as the platform is put through its paces before the world’s biggest boyband, One Direction, plays to more than 60,000 screaming fans.

The Murrayfield tram stop. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Murrayfield tram stop. Picture: Ian Georgeson

This summer’s concert is expected to prove the first major test of the tram network and chiefs are keen to iron out any potential “crowd management” problems in good time.

Among their concerns are whether steps leading from the platform to the street are too steep – as previously suggested by critics – to deal with huge numbers of people.

They also want to know how queues are likely to form once the stop is full and how passengers get off the tram when faced with crowds waiting to board.

A total of six carriages carrying around 150 people will be used, with volunteers being run through a host of scenarios.

The Murrayfield tram stop will be tested. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Murrayfield tram stop will be tested. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Tram bosses hope enough people keen to be amongst the first to ride the £776 million transport system will put their names forward.

The large-scale dummy run – which has been given the exotic codename Exercise Salvador (Spanish for “saviour”) – lasts for five hours from 9am on Thursday, March 13.

City transport convenor Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “As well as driver training and system testing, this vital pre-launch period gives us an opportunity to test out various scenarios in a controlled manner so that we are as prepared as possible before we embark on tram passenger services.

“This exercise will help us to see how the system copes with crowd numbers getting on and off the trams at Murrayfield Stadium, which will obviously be invaluable preparation for future match days.”

With the tram network expected to go live in May, it is thought the One Direction gig on June 3 will see the trams put under serious strain for the first time. Celtic’s plans to play European ties at Murrayfield later in the summer will also test the network ahead of the Festival.

Tom Norris, Edinburgh Trams director and general manager, said: “All major public transport systems undergo thorough scenario testing before they go live and Edinburgh Trams has already carried out a wide range of these types of exercises.

“At Murrayfield Stadium on match or event days, we’re looking to ensure we have the best possible procedures in place to manage crowd numbers on to the system.”

The “Salvador” name has not been chosen for any particular reason. To volunteer to take part in Exercise Salvador, e-mail: Document.Control@edinburghtrams.com by March 10.

Safety procedures with exotic names

THE codename Exercise Salvador is a random name – much like those used in police operations or disasters such as hurricanes.

Tram bosses have run numerous similar evaluation and safety procedure exercises under such exotic names.

Exercise Quito was carried out to ensure the nearby viaduct was up to standard while Exercise Havana was concerned with the tunnel beneath the A8.

Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil while El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America.