As of today, Tuesday 13th it’s 18 days until we will be able to open our doors for the first fare paying passengers on Edinburgh Trams, and we can’t wait. Since the last time I wrote, there has been huge progress on all fronts on our build up to service. I think I speak for all our staff when I say that we’re all looking forward to starting passenger operations . We’re nearing the  start of the journey for Edinburgh Trams, when the testing and commissioning period is complete.

The tram timetable is now, for all intents and purposes, up and running. There will be minor tweaks from the 18th of May, which will see the start time brought forward slightly. There are still some test scenarios that we will be working on, that means at certain times of day we may reduce the timetable to allow these tests to happen. In particular we’re looking to test a timetable with around a 5 minute headway, one which will be similar to our planned service on Murrayfield event days. Since Exercise Salvador at Murrayfield, we’ve been working very hard to refine our processes to make the event day service as smooth as possible for our future passengers.

We’re also looking to simulate certain failure events which will mean an emergency timetable will need to be put in place to keep trams running.  This week we will test a number of scenarios across the network. This is to make sure our controllers, drivers and Ticketing Services Assistants (TSAs) are prepared to deal with situations which are out of the norm. In a perfect world we would never suffer disruption, but that’s not realistic and we need to be fully prepared to respond to scenarios as they arise.

Our emergency exercise programme was completed in March and we are very thankful to the emergency services and the Council for the great support they showed throughout the intense programme. There were numerous worst-case scenarios tested, which has helped the organisation plan and refine what we do in an emergency. Our training doesn’t stop there; our TSAs still have final refresher training to do which includes a module on conflict avoidance. Once final training is complete and we approach go-live expect to see a much greater TSA presence in and around our tram stops.

I’m delighted to tell you that on Saturday 17th and Saturday 24th of May between 12pm-2pm, we will be running two tram roadshows at St Andrew Square. We plan to bring two trams into the platforms and will invite members of the public to come and have a look inside. Our staff will be on hand to talk about fares, service and what to expect from Edinburgh Trams.

Tram 275 #readytoroll continues to be used in our operational fleet and we’ve been really pleased with the public response. As our own excitement is growing for our launch day, we hope our future passengers are looking forward to using our new service.  Until then, remember, trams are now running very regularly so be safe and #carefulnow.