'Noddy train' plan for Royal Mile

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IT might just turn out to be the quickest way of getting around the city centre if Edinburgh's traffic woes continue.

The road trains – commonly known as "Noddy trains" – are a familiar site in tourist resorts across Europe, but now a Hungarian entrepreneur wants to bring them to Edinburgh.

Pter Plinks has applied to the city council for a street-trader's licence for his two-carriage "fun train".

Seen as an alternative to the more traditional tour buses, the train's journey would last about half-an-hour, with the trip starting and ending on Johnston Terrace.

It would tour around the Old Town – Mr Plinks has presented details of five alternative routes to the council – but would avoid Princes Street due to concerns about mixing with the traffic.

It is thought prices would be broadly in line with the open-top tourist buses, around 6 or 7 a time, and the train would carry around 60 passengers. However, Mr Plinks is likely to face an uphill battle, as a similar scheme was rejected by councillors in March last year, following concerns about the vehicle's speed and manoeuvrability.

A decision on the fun train will be made in the next couple of months and Mr Plinks hopes to have an all-year-round service in place by the summer.

Glasgow-based Mr Plinks, 37, said: "My colleagues in Hungary have been operating and buying these trains for over five years, including one in Budapest.

"I think there is a demand for a more novel way to get around Edinburgh. It is a unique experience and one that sets us apart from the buses. There may be concerns about the speed, but we'll be going at the same speed as the buses and I think there will be a big demand from tourists."

The train has a maximum speed of 15mph and the operator intends to offer free monthly trips to the city's nursery schoolchildren.

A similar venture in York was controversial when it was first introduced, but has since proved popular with tourists.

Southside councillor Cameron Rose said: "This is quite different to what we currently have in Edinburgh so it is worth considering.

"The traffic implications will have to be carefully considered, but it does present an interesting option for growing tourism in the city, particular in areas outwith the city centre."

The fun train is not the first novel idea to ferry visitors around the Capital. In 2005, there was a plan to carry tourists around the Capital on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorbike

, but the scheme never took off.