Testing on a new section of Edinburgh’s award-winning tram system has reached another major milestone with an expanded team of tram drivers set to test their skills on the Newhaven line for the first time today, April 19.

Around 40 new drivers, who were taken on by Edinburgh Trams as part of a successful recruitment campaign, will join their more experienced colleagues in helping to usher in a new era for the network.

Before taking the controls of a real tram on the line, they’ve received thorough training at the operator’s purpose-built learning and development facility, where a state-of-the-art simulator has familiarised them with both the existing system and almost five kilometres of new track, with its eight new stops, connecting Leith and Newhaven to the city centre.

Marlene Pearson, the operator’s Training Manager, explained:

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.

Testing on the Newhaven line began last month to ensure the newly constructed line, software, and signals work effectively and safely, and further details can be found here.

Edinburgh Trams’ Managing Director Lea Harrison added:

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.