Leaders: ‘We need to prepare for a culture change with trams’

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We’re famous in Edinburgh for our spooky goings-on, so it seems appropriate that “ghost trams” are to be used in the final phases of testing the system.

It may seem odd to drive empty vehicles through the city in the wee small hours, but it makes sense to carry out as many of these vital safety checks as possible at times when they will cause the least disruption. And residents certainly won’t lose any sleep as the trams glide quietly past their doors.

It is the near silence of the trams, however, that causes many of the safety concerns. That is something we are all going to have to get used to – and quite soon. The tram drivers may be going through intensive training right now, but the rest of us will need to “train” ourselves too.

During visits to the continent, some of us have discovered how easy it is to almost walk into the path of a tram. They are so quiet that, if you don’t see them coming, you won’t hear them until the driver rings a warning bell. Trams require a different road culture from the one we know and we are going to have to get used to that.

The good news is that tram systems elsewhere in the UK have managed to get started without the kind of multiple crash problems experienced in the US a decade ago.

Tram operators in general have learned the safety lessons and realise they need to educate other road users as well as their staff.

In the coming months, we’ll have to play our part, too, to make sure we don’t get “spooked” by a noiseless tram gliding up behind us.

Serve us a classic

AFTER Wednesday’s roller 
 coaster, it feels like we are back in familiar territory for Scottish sports fans. Any glory that we can grab is always earned the hard way. It is sure to be another nailbiter today as Andy Murray bids for his sixth Grand Slam final. C’mon, Andy, we know you can do it.

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