Monday 12th December 2011 – mark that date in your diary for that was the day when finally the first of the new breed of Edinburgh Trams ran under their own power in the Scottish capital. The test runs were undertaken on the short 500 metre test track just outside of Gogar Depot and is probably the most significant milestone in the project yet.
Five of the CAF built trams have now been delivered to the Depot including 252 (which arrived in Edinburgh way back in April 2010 and was originally on display in Princess Street before being moved to temporary storage), 274 and 277 – so just like in Blackpool the trams are not being delivered in number sequence. The major milestones to come document released by Edinburgh Trams last week shows that all 27 of the trams are due to be delivered by the end of 2012.
Gordon Mackenzie, Transport Convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, was understandably delighted with the first test runs: “With work progressing along the length of the route from next month, there is little doubt that the project has gained momentum in recent weeks. I’m sure that the first sight of trams being tested will come as a welcome boost to the people of Edinburgh – as it has for me today.”
The trams are being tested on the first section of track which has been energised across the entire planned line between Edinburgh Airport and York Place in the City Centre. They are expected to be tested at speeds of up to 30 mph but the shortness of the test track is likely to limit the effectiveness of the tests at this stage.
The tramway is scheduled to open in summer 2014 which means there should be plenty of time to test the trams!
* A video of the opening day of test runs is available on the Official Edinburgh Trams website – http://www.edinburghtrams.com/index.php/media/by_type/video.