Tuesday 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

A Very Merry Christmas to all our readers! With the acting Trams General Manager working his (extremely protracted)  notice period, and the tram Leith extension plans apparently hitting the buffers, here's hoping 2016 will mark the year that Edinburgh Trams finally welcome a fresh approach, and allow Aldo to jump aboard!

Friday 28 August 2015

Edinburgh Trams in fake confectionery shocker!


Tram chiefs have come under fire for spending £80,000 on a General Manager who was made of icing sugar, a Freedom of Information Request has revealed.

The previous Edinburgh Trams General Manager, Tom Norris, was allegedly constructed from a metal or plastic framework, covered in marzipan and icing sugar, we have learned.

"We originally struggled to find a suitable fall-guy for the Trams", explained our council source, "so the decision was made to construct a confectionery stand-in."

"To start with we went for a giant gingerbread man, but to be honest, that was fooling no-one, and besides, someone left it unattended in the City Chambers and Councillor Steve Cardownie had its leg off for his elevenses, so we resorted to plan B - the icing sugar Tom Norris"

The sugary General Manager played a vital role in the first year of tram operations, but it's believed a foolhardy decision to send him on a non air-conditioned tram in the summer months resulted in his unfortunate meltdown.

"Yes, he's sadly no longer with us", confirmed a spokesperson, "but we've almost got the mess off the seats now. Unfortunately we don't currently have sufficient funds to order an icing replacement, however we are currently in talks with Greggs, to see of there is anything we can do with their surplus of Macaroni pies"

Friday 29 May 2015

First Tramiversary!

29th May 2015

Dear Marie,

I hope this letter finds you well, it is quite some time since I've been in touch, and I must apologise for that.

Unfortunately I have spent the last 8 months in TRACTION, after coming a cropper when attempting to pedal my unicycle across the tram lines at slightly less than a 90-degree angle. I have thus been unable to put pen to paper, and while I could have dictated a letter to my manservant BILFINGER, I decided our correspondence was a private matter and unsuitable to entrust to someone of his social class.

I have however kept myself informed of all the exciting events at EDINBURGH TRAMS. It has certainly been a tumultuous year!

Why just the other day young Tom Norris mentioned to me that we were fast approaching the FIRST TRAMIVERSARY of Edinburgh Trams - one entire year of carrying pensioners to the airport - I could hardly believe it, and knew that I must be one of the first to congratulate everyone at EDINBURGH TRAMS!

Who would have believed it possible, that Edinburgh Trams would reach their first anniversary? Certainly not me, Marie, I don't mind telling you - I never fail to be amazed what Lesley Hinds can achieve with an unlimited budget and a willingness to sacrifice everything the Edinburgh Council Tax Payer holds dear in the name of the trams!

Of course it's not all been plain sailing, there have been lots of highs and lows throughout the year, too numerous to mention, but I thought I'd create a nice TRAMIVERSARY artwork for you in which I would try to remember some of the key events. I hope that this will find favour with you and your colleagues and soon take pride of place amongst the other works of art I have sent previously.

Once again, congratulations to all at EDINBURGH TRAMS, I look forward to hopefully joining you on EDINBURGH'S UNSTOPPABLE GRAVY-TRAM, should any suitable vacancy become available in the future.

Best Wishes,

Aldo 'It only hurts when I breathe' Broon

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Operation El Salvador

 25th February 2014

Dear Marie,

I read in today's Edinburgh Evening News that you were looking for ONE THOUSAND volunteers to pack themselves onboard a tram to see if we can get the world record for 'Most One Direction Fans On A  Public Transport Vehicle'. 

What an AWESOME idea, it almost sounds like the kind of CRAZY STUNT that I might think up, had I got that £80K TRAMS GENERAL MANAGER job! Perhaps Tom has the right sort of thinking required for the job after all!

It's ideas like this which are sure to help popularise EDINBURGH TRAMS in a refreshing, fun way with a beleaguered and disinterested general public!

I'm not that keen on One Direction to be honest with you Marie, but I can't pass up the opportunity to be one of the first on board a WORLD (IN)FAMOUS EDINBURGH TRAM!

How much are you paying people to take part, what's the expenses allowance, and should I wear any fancy dress or specialist clothing?

If you want to try out some specific role play scenarios I do have some amateur dramatics experience and already have the costumes for a zombie, a daffodil, and a pantomime horse that I will be happy to bring along if required?

Yours in excited anticipation,

Aldo Broon
Potential Tram Tester.

Monday 16 December 2013

A Christmas Miracle!

16th December 2013

Dear Marie,

Festive Greetings to you, and all my friends at Edinburgh Trams!

Once again it's the time of year for us to marvel at how quickly the last twelve months have flown by - it's strange to think that at this time last year we hadn't carried a single paying passenger on an Edinburgh Tram, and yet here we are, a year later and... well, we've still not carried any but we've certainly got plenty of new staff to make up for it!

With this years Christmas card, I've tried to commemorate a milestone in the Edinburgh Tram story. I refer of course not to Thursday 19th December 2013, which marks the day that our trams are 1000 (ONE THOUSAND) days later than originally promised, but the much happier event on Wednesday December 5th 2013, when a tram once again moved excruciatingly slowly on Princes Street!

The Edinburgh Evening News ran a front page story previewing the event, and as Edinburgh Trams' NUMBER ONE FAN, I rushed along on the night to join the large crowds of well-wishers that would no doubt assemble to applaud and cheer.

I made my way along early with a flask of hot Bovril and my tram-spotters notebook (to note down the number of the tram, and any other identifying features).

I was therefore most surprised when I arrived, to see that the tram appeared to already be running, albeit in Princes Street Gardens rather than on the street as I had expected. And it was being driven by an elderly gentleman wearing a red uniform and sporting a suspicious-looking fake beard. A swarthy looking sort soon approached me and offered me a ride; "Four quid" he growled. "I was under the impression that Lesley Hinds had promised a single journey was to cost no more than a single Lothian Buses fare?" I queried. "FOUR QUID" he barked again, clearly now somewhat agitated, "Four quid for a trip round the Christmas Tree Maze, take it or leave it"

Well I'd heard we'd had to reduce the track length Marie, but the curtailed distance of the proposed £4 trip surprised even me.

Not wanting to pass up this chance to be one of the first paying passengers on a new Edinburgh Tram however, I paid my £4 and climbed on board, quickly locating a surprisingly small seat.

"NO HOT DRINKS" an elven-like ticketing assistant shouted, while grabbing my flask of Bovril, "'ELFIN SAFETY, INNIT?".

That's when I knew that despite appearances, this was definitely a genuine Lothian Buses operation.

A few short minutes later, we had reached our destination, having taken in the sights of Princes Street - the Castle, the Tree on the Mound, The Big Wheel, some huts, and a small ice rink. My head was buzzing as I disembarked - at last I'd done it, I'd travelled on an EDINBURGH TRAM!

As I made my way home, I didn't care that I'd lost my flask, Marie, or that the journey had been shorter than expected, and nearly three times the price. I didn't even mind the fact that due to about 30 guys in HI-VIS jackets hanging about in the middle of the road for some reason, my taxi took twice as long to drive me home. I'd been on a tram, Marie, and that's what mattered. I even heard the driver laughing "Ho ho ho" as he cheerfully sounded the bell.

2014 is surely going to be a GREAT YEAR FOR EDINBURGH TRAMS!

Merry Christmas, and a TRAMENDOUS New Year!

Aldo Broon
Tram Passenger #1

Thursday 14 November 2013

Tweetering with Lesley

14th November 2013

Aldo has a nice chat on Twitter with his good friend Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh Council Transport Convener, and ends up in tomorrows chip wrapper!

With friends in high places, it can't be long now until Aldo gets himself onboard the Edinburgh Gravy Tram!

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Testing Times for Edinburgh Trams - Introducing the TREPPELIN

12th November 2013

Dear Marie,

I hope this email finds you well?

This is just a quick note to let you know that I've now submitted my applications for the 'Part-time Ticketing Services Assistant' and 'Part Time Tram Driver' roles advertised on your website. Please be advised that these applications are IN ADDITION TO, rather than a replacement for, my previous application for 'Ticketing Services Assistant (full time)'.

To be honest with you Marie, considering we've not actually conveyed a single paying passenger yet, I'm a bit confused what the difference between a part-time employee, and a full-time employee would entail, but such is my enthusiasm for Edinburgh Trams, I am prepared to accept any role to get ON BOARD Edinburgh Trams!

I'm sure you can empathise with me Marie, when I tell you that trams are never far from my thoughts. Why just the other day I was thinking about the recent tram testing debacle. As is now public knowledge, tram testing commenced a few weeks ago, and promptly ground to an abrupt halt quicker than an...erm...Edinburgh Tram... when we discovered that our state-of-the-art trams are so heavy that they are cracking the concrete track bed infrastructure.

My major concern is not that fact that we have spent a BILLION QUID on what appears to be a mismatched system, but that Edinburgh Council Tax Payers might get wind of this, and put an end to the EDINBURGH GRAVY TRAM before I’m even able to get onboard!

Image is everything Marie, if we want to stay ON THE GRAVY TRAM, we need to maintain the confidence of the public. In short, they need to see OPERATIONAL TRAMS as soon as possible, tested or not. This presents something of a conundrum, how can we deliver operational trams, when our vehicles are too heavy for the track?

Don’t worry Marie, it’s a rhetorical question – while Trams General Manager Tom Norris is probably crying himself to sleep at night by now, by contrast I consider every successive Tram foul-up as a NEW CHALLENGE, and once again I have come up with an INNOVATIVE, ICONIC and 21st CENTURY solution!

We must simply utilise the AWESOME POWER OF HELIUM to deliver Edinburgh's TRAM VISION!

A lot of people already refer to everyone involved with Edinburgh Trams as a ‘bunch of balloons’, but it’s time for us to CALL THEIR BLUFF, Marie. Balloons are in fact the answer to our prayers!

I have attached an illustration of how I envisage this would work, but basically my proposal involves tethering each tram to a helium gas balloon, thus dispensing with the need for ANY track whatsoever.

As a Human Resources Professional, you will of course be aware that the ‘lifting power’ of Helium at sea level and room temperature is approximately 1 gram per litre of gas, Marie.

I believe the average Edinburgh tram weights approximately 55 metric tonnes (unladen). Thus we will only require 55,000,000 litres of Helium gas to render a tram completely weightless. This might sound like a lot of gas, Marie, but it is only a quarter of the volume contained in the famous Hindenburg airship, and that all worked out fine, pretty much. Also remember that Helium is only one form of gas, we could also (like the Hindenburg) use the cheaper Hydrogen option, or even utilise some sort of mechanism to harness the vast amounts of hot air generated by the Edinburgh City Chambers?

To give you an idea of cost using Helium:

50 litre disposable helium gas cylinder = £30 (Amazon.co.uk)
10 pack economy latex balloons (1 litre capacity) = 99p (Tesco)

The latex balloons, once filled, would be contained within a large plastic sheet. I propose constructing this from recycled bin bags at no additional cost - there are usually plenty blowing about in our street after the cats have ripped open all the ones Lesley's bin men refuse to pick up.
Per tram we require:
5.5M balloon packets = £5.5M
1.1M Helium cylinders = £33M

Total cost to render each tram completely weightless = £38.5M

Total cost of each weightless tram as percentage of entire project budget = £38.5M/£1000M = 3.85%

For less than the cost of the track construction, I think we could easily create a fleet of 20 helium trams, capable of unrestricted flight.

"Is there a name for this new type of vehicle?", I can hear you asking, Marie.

There is now! I call it a TREPPELIN.

With our modern, iconic, and quite frankly FREAKIN' AWESOME LOOKING TREPPELINS , we can ‘fly’ round the track, and thus achieve an operational tram 'network' with no concerns about weight damage to the infrastructure! We can also forget about the previously discovered problem of ‘wheel deformation’ on stationary trams by simply ‘hovering’ our entire tram fleet a couple of feet off the ground even when parked up at the Gogar Depot!

This would also provide quite a unique spectacle for tourists visiting the city! And as we all know, impressing the tourists is what Edinburgh Trams is all about!

This is just the sort of thinking outside-the-box that you could have expected if you had given me that Tram Controller job, Marie.

Has Tom Norris come up with anything as good as that yet – I THINK NOT!

I look forward to discussing this, and many other pretty awesome ideas I have for Edinburgh Trams, at interview.


Aldo Broon

WARNING: on NO ACCOUNT should a balloon-equipped tram be left untethered and unattended close to Edinburgh Airport, as this could very easily escalate into a ‘near miss’ air traffic incident, which is just the sort of bad publicity we DON’T NEED. The newspapers already make a great big deal about us taking out a few cyclists, so I dread to think what they will write about something  serious!