Tram bosses fear residents being zapped by power lines

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By Rory Reynolds

TRAM BOSSES want to ban Edinburgh house-holders form washing their windows – in case they get ZAPPED by power lines.

Thousands of people living on streets where overhead cables are installed will have to ask for permission from tram bosses to clean their own windows in case electrocute themselves in the process,.

The flaw is just one of the new features that the city will have to get used to, with tram bosses issuing tips on how to cope with the new changes.

The decision has already been taken to build extra-tall 20ft poles on Princes Street to stop the wires electrocuting tourists on open top buses.

Controversially TIE, the tram project delivery firm, have shunned technology that foregoes on-board running equipment, in favour of traditional tram lines.

Electrocuted

It is expected that the lines will be attached to the sides of buildings instead of on poles in the road, sparking fears that anyone outside of buildings could be electrocuted.

Alastair Richards, managing director of Edinburgh Trams admitted that they would have to introduce the public to “do’s and don’ts”

He said: “We’ll make sure well ahead of any overhead wires going up that we go along and talk to people about what’s possible and what’s not possible.

“Most of the windows will be cleaned from the inside, but should people require to gain access, we’ll be able to give them the do’s and don’ts.

“It will work in the same way as when somebody wants to put up scaffolding that encroaches on the road, they have to ask for permission.

Outrage

“We want to make sure they’re safe and can get on and do what they need to do.”

However, the plans are expected to spark outrage from local residents, nine of which are already being taken to court by the city council for refusing to allow the wires to be fitted to their homes.

Gordon Burgess, chairman of the Leith Business Association, said that the electrocution fears were another example of TIE’s “back-of-a-fag-packet project management”.

He said: “Constitution Street has been that width for a long time but this has been an ill-advised project from the start and nothing surprises me about it anymore.

“This is another example of TIE’s inability to deliver the project satisfactorily.”

Stretch

The project, costing more than half a billion pounds, has already caused major disruption to business on Princes Street and Leith Walk.

Last year it was announced that the network, intended to link the airport and the city centre, would not actually stretch to Edinburgh Airport.

Concerns have also been raised that views of Edinburgh Castle could be obstructed by extra-tall poles that will be fitted on Princes Street.

Bosses have said that trams could be ‘retro-fitted’ with on-board power equipment, but it is understood to be a difficult process.

The first of the trams are currently going through finals tests at a special test track in Dusseldorf, before being shipped to Scotland next month.

Crush

Some of the tests currently being undertaken are over-loading the trams heavily to simulate the crush of rugby fans on match day at Murrayfield.

They are also using various gradients to ensure that the trams can deal with Edinburgh’s steep climbs, such as on Leith Walk.

Yesterday (Thursday) Richards confirmed that he would like to see the tram network rolled out across the city, including through Old Town towards Edinburgh University, and east towards the Hibs stadium at Easter Road.

1 COMMENT

  1. What sort of bosses do we have in charge of this tram project? These so called bosses have no knowledge of light rail technology that is safely running all around the world without the fear of electrocuting residents in houses alongside tram lines. Last time that Edinburgh had trams running on these same streets this was not a problem. Why is it a problem now? Maybe an engineer with light rail experience elsewhere in the world would be a more credible head of this body?

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