A VETERAN bus driver has turned his garden into a shrine to Edinburgh’s controversial £1bn tram system.
John Allison needed a new summer home so he built it in the shape of a tram – complete with a driver and conductor.
Inside the 60-year-old’s head-turning creation are seats and working buttons, and the tram sits on a set of tracks also created by John.
John’s garden in the Balgreen area also boasts genuine bus stop signs and was created to relieve the stress of driving in the congested city.
John, who took about a year to create his tram system. said: “I decided to build a new summer house because my old one was falling apart.
“So I thought, ‘What could I do that was more interesting and different?’
“As I am a bus driver for Lothian buses I thought I could build a tram.
“It helps to keep me stress-free and it works. I think it is because it is something that I enjoy doing making things up and seeing what happens. It’s good for the soul as they say.”
John has installed a pink-haired female driver in the cabin of the tram, which also features a set of working buttons.
And in the main compartment of the tram he has set up a female conductor, dressed in a genuine tram uniform.
The garden has caused a stir on social media and even stopped a Conservative councillor in his tracks as he used a cycle path nearby.
Mark Brown shared his snaps of the creation with the caption: “I do enjoy a bit of obscurity now and then.
“One Edinburgh back garden spotted tonight with a tribute to the Edinburgh Trams.”
Mr Allison’s garden also includes a temporary bus stop, pot people and a beer garden designed like a bus stop. Lothian Bus company also gave supplies for his makeshift garden such as old bus stop signs, posters and timetables.
The only break from the bus theme is a police box he built and equipped as a Tardis, complete with a K9 and a BBC cameraman.
His efforts have made John a minor celebrity in his own community.
Jack Martin, 80, a retired taxidriver and neighbour said: “I think it is great. I think it is smashing. Lots of people come to see it, they come in with their kids to see his garden. It’s wonderful.
“He helps everybody out. He helps all the neighbours with anything. You will not get many like that. That wall he painted himself and he did the roof himself. He wasn’t paying for someone to do it.”
The real Edinburgh trams continue to be a source of controversy as a result of massive cost overruns and delays that are the now the subject of a public inquiry.
The tram constructed by Mr Allison cost about £250 – or just 0.000025% of the cost of the real thing.
Mr Allison spent a further £250 for the parts to make the Tardis altogether costing the part-time inventor £500.
His home is a former council property which he bought over twenty years ago.