Perhaps we should not allow ourselves to get too carried away at the prospect of trams carrying passengers in Edinburgh by Christmas, whatever hints may have been dropped during private briefing sessions (your report, 3 July). There is still much to be done.
Tram-testing on the city’s central streets will inevitably take some time. Before any testing can start, the entire tram signalling system with white-light signals will have to be installed and commissioned, and fully co-ordinated with traffic lights to ensure that trams can run safely through junctions.
It is highly likely that there will need to be several attempts to get the phasing and co-ordination of tram signals and traffic lights operating correctly so that city traffic and the trams can run in harmony.
The trams are longer than any other road vehicle, with greater potential to trail across and block junctions, so tram detection sensors in the signalling system will have to ensure no possibility of conflict or collision with other traffic.
Ticket machines will have to be installed and the integrated ticketing system will have to be commissioned – yet more technology to get up and running efficiently.
So far we have received very little information about how this will work, and what bus/tram ticket co-ordination there will be, but this is likely to require thorough trialling and testing to ensure that yet another layer of new technology operates properly. Tram-running in central Edinburgh will be a huge change for the city to adjust to, and cannot be rushed.
It would be preferable to take more time to ensure that everything is running smoothly before passengers are carried.
Otherwise it is likely we will have to endure more bad news about the so-called “Great Tram Disaster”.
Primrose Bank Road
Your headline “City’s trams ‘to be running by Christmas’”, missed out an important word: “maybe”.