A TRAM made its first daytime journey along Princes Street yesterday as the £776 million project continues to near completion.
One of the vehicles arrived at the St Andrew Square tram stop at about 10am in a media relations exercise to show off new branding designed for the service.
Shoppers and tourists alike stopped in their tracks before reaching excitedly for their camera phones as one of the newly-branded vehicles completed a return lap on the city’s main shopping thoroughfare.
There was a distinct lack of noise in the city’s heart as many watched the tram pass in silence at about 10am and again just after noon. Others pointed or took photographs as souvenirs. One of the few loud sounds was the audible “ding ding” of the tram’s electronic bell as it made its first daylight trip on Princes Street.
Traffic, including taxis and buses, was stopped by signals on connecting roads to allow the tram to pass.
The vehicle stopped for about ten minutes at the Princes Street stop near The Mound, allowing passing admirers to have a good look.
Earlier, the tram had pulled into the St Andrew Square tram stop to be photographed in all its glory, bearing the new logo stamped down the side of its carriages.
Passers-by stopped to look through tinted windows, while some stood in front of the stationary vehicle to get their own photo taken as a keepsake.
Spanish-born musician Cioroiu Cornel started playing his accordion just metres from the tram stop, with Over the Rainbow among his repertoire.
The tune was fitting, with many pundits no doubt feeling they had witnessed a dream after the years of travails attached to the project.
It was the second coming for Gulam Aris Choudhury, owner of nearby Italian restaurant Zest, who had turned out at midnight a fortnight earlier to witness the tram’s maiden journey through the city centre.
He said he was “very excited” about the service’s imminent launch, adding: “The last four years it was a really, really bad time for the business because of all the roadworks.
“But now everything is in the clear. I think trams will help the business. We’re happy.”
Liberton couple Helen and Jim Liddell had been shopping at the nearby John Lewis department store when the tram arrived.
Mr Liddell, 72, could still recall the “old, rattly” trams rumbling along Princes Street more than 57 years ago and said the new incarnation looked good against Edinburgh’s scenic backdrop.
Retired Scottish Conservative politician Murray Tosh also came across the tram by chance. He said: “It’s just the Scottish way to moan about these things, isn’t it? Once it’s up and running people will use them and people will then start to complain there aren’t enough of them.”
New uniform suits us just fine
THE uniform that will be worn by drivers and ticket inspectors working on the eight-mile long tram line has been modelled by three new staff members.
A dark grey fleece with several zips and bearing the new Edinburgh Trams logo – complete with distinctive dark red coloured font – will help keep out the chill in winter. A light grey collared shirt, tie and black trousers round off the outfit, which will be far more casual than a standard suit.
Transport convener Lesley Hinds is pictured with driver Evelyn Kiernan, duty man Graeme Healy and driver Davis Paton.