The first mass transportation of passengers on the Edinburgh Trams system has been deemed a success following the completion of exercise “Salvador”. 1,000 volunteers were involved in the exercise which was testing crowd control procedures at Murrayfield Stadium.
All 1,000 spaces on the exercise had been filled within 24 hours of the appeal being made with many further potential volunteers having to be turned away – hopefully a testament to the fact that at least some of the people of Edinburgh are coming round to the idea of having trams back in their city.
The exercise took place on Thursday 13th March and included two test trips. After a briefing in Murrayfield Stadium from Michael Powell, Safety and Standards Manager of Edinburgh Trams, the “passengers” made their way to the tram stop where they were met by a team of Ticketing Services Assistants who were to manage them on to the waiting trams. Each volunteer was assigned a journey towards either Haymarket or the Airport and after the trams travelled a short distance they returned to Murrayfield for stage B of the exercise.
The volunteers then made their way back up the steps to the Murrayfield stop and once again onto the waiting trams for another short journey before a return to Murrayfield. Then as a thank you for their participation they were all able to enjoy a ride between Murrayfield and the Airport and back – the first time that a full tram has made the journey.
During the exercise Edinburgh Trams staff were on standby to see how people acted around the trams including how they crossed the tracks and where they headed when entering the tram. Edinburgh Trams will now use this information when formulating plans for major events, including a One Direction concert taking place at Murrayfield in early June – only a few short weeks after the opening of the tramway.
It is hoped that an official opening date for the tramway will be announced next month with Edinburgh Trams officials saying it will be made four weeks in advance of opening. On opening there will only be a “slight celebration” following the problems experienced in the project over the years.