Driver training gets underway on Edinburgh Trams extension

Another day and yet another milestone on the Trams to Newhaven project in Edinburgh as driver training gets underway on the nearly 3 mile extension. Edinburgh Trams announced that driver training on the tracks would be getting underway from Wednesday 19th April after initial training had taken place on state of the art driver simulators at the depot.

Drivers being trained on the extension include 40 new drivers who have been taken on by Edinburgh Trams following a recruitment campaign ahead of the opening of the extension. More experienced drivers will also go through the same training on the new line.

All drivers will have already received thorough training at the purpose built learning and development facility. This includes a state of the art simulator which familiarises them with not only the new section of tramway but also the existing line.

Marlene Pearson, Edinburgh Trams Training Manager, said: “With Trams to Newhaven on schedule to begin passenger service soon, this sophisticated technology proved invaluable as we set about training extra drivers. Likewise, it allowed us to upskill all drivers and familiarise them with the extended line well ahead of the testing taking place. Simulator training also affords our driver trainers a well-rounded view of each candidate’s aptitude and trainability as it creates actual traffic situations and realistic effects of weather and light conditions. At the same time, it enables qualified drivers to hone their concentration skills in a safe environment, whilst familiarising themselves with signals, speed limits, and preparing for unexpected obstructions.”

In a new update from Edinburgh Trams they have provided a roadmap (or more precisely a tramline!) of how testing and commissioning is progressing on the extension. It has now passed the construction phase with nighttime gauge and signalling testing having taken place and now the start of daytime familirisation training. The next stages will include timetable testing, enhanced timetable testing before services start this spring.

Lea Harrison, Edinburgh Trams Managing Director, said: “Our innovative approach to driver training has delivered numerous benefits for our business but, ultimately, the focus has been on keeping everyone safe. This is why we put new recruits and existing tram drivers alike through rigorous training and ongoing professional development programmes to maintain the highest safety standards.”

Tram frequencies and service hours have also now been confirmed. These will remain as they are now with trams running up to every 7 minutes, 7 days a week. The first tram from Newhaven will be at 0520 every day of the week with the first service from the Airport to Newhaven at 0626, earlier trams towards Newhaven will be running with a time from Princes Street given as 0447.

Fares will also not be changed from the current levels meaning a day ticket for the complete network except for Ingliston-Airport will be £5.00 for adults – to include the Airport section it will be £12.00. Adult singles are £2.00 or £3.80 for a day return.

Publicity for the opening of the line is also starting to appear across the network. Such as this poster. (Photograph by Roy Calderwood)

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