Warning films as trams start daytime testing

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Trams are to begin rolling through the city centre during the day for the first time later this week.

Up to now trams have been tested at night on a section between Haymarket and York Place and during the day between Edinburgh Park and the airport.

A still from a tram safety video. Picture: contributed

A still from a tram safety video. Picture: contributed

However they will now glide quietly alongside city centre traffic ahead of the live launch in May.

Now, in advance of the city-centre roll out, a series of safety bulletins have been released.

Edinburgh trams video: Walking safely

Edinburgh trams video: Driving safely

Edinburgh trams video: Cycling safely

Pitched at cyclists, motorists and pedestrians, council chiefs hope they will reduce the chances of ­serious mishaps or injury.

The films – available to view on the Evening News website – warn residents to listen for the distinctive tram warning bell while cyclists and motorists are being urged to give them space.

It is understood that tram bosses remain cautious with regards to setting a definite date for the return of the tram to city streets in daylight hours, but the plan is set to be in motion “by the end of this week”.

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds, right, urged people to be careful and follow the advice set out in the safety films.

She said: “Up until now, trams have only been running at night when the city centre roads are much quieter. Daytime tests aren’t far away and it’ll take some time for people to get used to seeing trams running on streets, so we’re asking drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to take extra care while everyone becomes familiar.”

She added: “I’ve seen first hand in Dublin how trams interact with traffic and, as progress continues to be made along the route, it’ll be important that people are aware of the differences. The May service launch is drawing ever closer but there are still many important tests and a driver training programme to complete. It’s also the right time to remember some straightforward but very important safety messages.”

The testing phase will eventually see multiple tram test journeys along the full line over the week with a gradual build up to allow commuters, walkers and cyclists get used to the Capital’s new transport system.

Edinburgh Trams director and general manager Tom Norris said: “Our team have been training extremely hard and we’re now ready to move into a phase where many more trams start to run along the route. Safety is our first ­priority and our drivers are all fully aware that other road users need time to get used to interacting with the new trams.

“Our main message is that trams are big and quiet so give them space, look before you cross the road and listen for the bell.”

With tram drivers mixing with cars, cyclists and ­pedestrians for the first time, road users are being reminded trams have right of way.

The £776 million tram line is scheduled to be fully operational by May. Further safety information can be accessed at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/trams/tram_safety.

Leith rumours ‘pure speculation’

SPECULATION was rife this week on social media that the city council had secretly signed contracts to extend the tram line to Leith.

However, this was dismissed out of hand by transport bosses.

A line to Leith was ditched by trams bosses as project costs spiralled out of control in 2011 – even though Leith businesses had put up with years of utility and transport chaos in preparation.

Original plans would have seen the tram line travel from Edinburgh Airport all the way down to Ocean Terminal.

City transport convener Cllr Lesley Hinds said: “There is no contract for extending the tram route to Leith, this is pure speculation.”