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Coming down the track: first full tram tests on Princes Street

Edinburgh's historic main thoroughfare Princes Street is to see its first full tram tests tonight and into the early hours of Thursday.

The City Council said after a successful run to Haymarket on Monday the trams team and contractors will roll the 45 metre vehicle on to the street at a snail's pace late at night to avoid traffic.

The test run is a vital part of the process to ready the tram system for service in May. Hundreds of tests and checks are required before a passenger service can be put into operation.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said: "We recognise it's been a long road getting here and there's been a lot of frustration but there has been progress more recently and, at long last, it's good to know there's a tram approaching Princes Street.

"This is a vital phase of our push to get trams up and running and it's important that the contractors have the time and the space to carry out these tests and checks.

The test run is scheduled to begin around 11pm and should be complete by 4am. Drivers are being reminded not to park on tram tracks or on double yellow lines. A tow truck is on standby to remove any cars that block the tram's path.

As testing progresses over the coming weeks the frequency and speed of trams will increase, although prior to the New Year there are likely to be very few runs.

People are being reminded to take safety precautions with the 45mph trams including that children should be supervised and dogs should be kept on leads around tram crossing locations.

The project remains in line with the revised budget (£776m) approved by the council in September 2011, with work either ahead of schedule or in line with the revised timescale reported in December 2011.

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