Monday, 16 December 2013
A Christmas Miracle!
16th December 2013
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!
Tram Passenger #1