Wednesday, 8 August 2012


8th August 2012

Dear Marie,

I must admit I am quite surprised not to have heard from you over the past few days. You may recall that you promised that Edinburgh Trams would be in touch with candidates for the TRAM GENERAL MANAGER position, to advise them whether they have been selected for the next stage in the process (online ability and psychometric tests), by last Friday (3rd August).

To date I have still heard ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from you regarding where I can access these tests. At first I was somewhat concerned that you might have slipped behind your published recruitment schedule, let's face it, that wouldn't exactly be unknown for Edinburgh Trams. I must admit I had a bit of a panic attack when I thought that maybe the entire recruitment process had been halted due to the recent public outcry regarding the appointment of several more people to the Edinburgh GRAVY-TRAM with nothing for them to do for at least two years. I could almost see that £80K SALARY slipping through my fingers, Marie!

Luckily I soon came to my senses, and realised the obvious reason - the other candidates have probably not been quite so efficient in demonstrating their skills and abilities via email as myself, and you have obviously decided to FAST-TRACK my application straight to the next stage (interview).

Of course this is quite acceptable, but I suggest you probably should tell candidates when they have been selected for a fast-track recruitment process like this, to put their minds at rest. Transport Convener Lesley Hinds was telling me just yesterday that one of her main aims is to improve communication regarding Edinburgh Trams, and I think it's time for you to embrace that sentiment too, Marie.

However, I am happy to confirm that I will be available for the face-to-face panel interview commencing 13th August. Would you like me to prepare a presentation?

Actually, I have started my presentation already, Marie. It is entitled "SELLING EDINBURGH TRAMS". Don't worry, I'm not referring to the inevitable selling of the entire tram line to someone like FirstGroup for a nominal £1 in about 2020! No, my presentation is about SELLING the IDEA of EDINBURGH TRAMS to a cynical public, after many years of pointless disruption to their lives and businesses.

To SELL the IDEA of EDINBURGH TRAMS making a WORTHY CONTRIBUTION to the city, we need to make full use of the popular public profiles of some of the key players in the development of our Tram line. Seeing these popular characters endorsing the line is sure to bring the public back ONBOARD. I suggest we select some UPBEAT phrases praising the trams, and feature these as part of the tram livery. We could associate these POSITIVE phrases with respected well-known local characters.

As you have probably guessed by now, I have put together some artists impressions to give you an idea of the sort of thing I mean. I'll bring a camera along to the interview and hopefully take some better photos we can use. With 27 trams, we can probably feature most of the Edinburgh Trams employees or tram advocates somewhere on a tram.

As an extension of this idea, I was also thinking we could perhaps offer members of the public the chance to have their (or their loved ones) faces featured on an Edinburgh Tram? What significant-other could fail to be impressed by the unique Anniversary gift that says it all - their face on the back end of a tram?

As well as being a sure-fire revenue earner, this would help reinforce the idea that we are IN TOUCH with the man on the street. We are LISTENING, and LESSONS have surely been LEARNT.

I've got some more exciting ideas for my presentation too, but I'm not sure if we will have time to include them. If you could let me know where the interviews are going to be held, and whether there is equestrian access, that would be of great use and would be much appreciated.


Aldo Broon


  1. Dear Aldo

    I continue to follow, with great interest and support, your application for Tram General Manager and am concerned to note that you have not yet been contacted by Edinburgh Trams regarding an interview.

    The suggestions you have so far advanced to promote the project have been entirely in keeping with Edinburgh Trams’ ethos and I wonder if perhaps a few more suggestions regarding how to overcome inevitable tram operational difficulties may demonstrate your understanding and assist your application further?

    Having noticed the restricted road space in the city centre now and on the assumption that the Tram GM would be involved in the recruitment and training of tram drivers, may I suggest that you indicate in your communications your understanding of the importance of tram operators to have certain attributes? For example, multi-way simultaneous eye-mirror co-ordination for the avoidance of pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles; knowledge of the appropriate expletives to be used in instances of encroachment onto the tram’s path such that will communicate both the imminent danger, whilst promoting Edinburgh Trams’ new touchy-feely image; the importance of vitriol and proven expertise in fisticuffs to discourage rival bus operators from similar encroachments for sustained periods, thereby impeding tram journeys and ultimately putting off passengers. A physical litheness and fleetness of foot may also be desirable in tram drivers as, when the inevitable public complaints regarding flange-squeal arise at the Portrait Gallery corner, for instance, drivers may be called upon to leap from their seats lickety-split, oil-can in hand, to lubricate steel wheels and track.

    Many of these issues could be addressed by the recruitment of “tram runners”. The 1865 Locomotive Act required self-propelled mass-transit vehicles on public roads in the UK to be preceded by a man on foot, waving a red flag and blowing a horn. Come to think of it, as our trams are unlikely to be able to reach more than a snail’s pace through the city centre as they negotiate the various dangers and impediments, it occurs to me that gargantuan snails may be the answer. They could (a) oil the wheels and track with no additional expense for materials, (b) terrify potential trespassers, (c) withdraw to the comfort of their shells during traffic jams for a snooze, or to protect themselves from anti-tram protesters, or wait for their allotted vehicles to catch them up. Perhaps they could sport madder-red top hats, similar to Victorian funeral mutes, and black neckerchiefs to give visual expression to the inevitable death of Lothian Buses as we know and love it. The fact that mutes were only present at the most expensive funerals has a certain irony when considered in the context of Edinburgh Trams. And, as snails eat green leaves, decaying matter and algae, they would be truly “green”: no dependence on diminishing, expensive, polluting fuels and they can clean the streets as they go!

    I merely throw these suggestions into the pot for you to consider, if you feel that your application could be further strengthened and you can readily source mutant snails – ebay might be worth a further visit?

    Regards and best of luck as you continue to negotiate your way to inevitable interview success.

    Sarah B

    1. Thank you for this comprehensive and insightful comment Sarah. I think your ideas have a lot of merit, and with your permission I will add them to my folder of 'future enhancements' which I intend to implement as soon as I have managed to secure a cushy job with Edinburgh Trams.

      Actually, your mutant snail idea has already proven to be prophetic, as I notice that it has recently been reported that the trams currently being driven round the depot suffer from a creaking grating noise, due to the lack of 'track lubrication'. You obviously have a greater insight into the potential issues with tram systems than many of the current employees of Edinburgh Trams.

      I shall mention the snail idea to Lesley Hinds, the next time I see her. She seems very receptive to ideas and suggestions (although not quite so keen to acknowledge where they came from).

      Best Wishes,

      Tram Visionary and Troubleshooter (voluntary)


Thanks for your comment! I hope you continue to enjoy following Aldo's Quest to get himself on the Edinburgh Gravy-Tram!