A local developer has been given the green light to go ahead with building a tram line connecting Stromness to Kirkwall but which will eventually extend to Burwick.
Successful entrepreneur and former banker, Elrond Elrondsson who moved to Orkney two years ago from Iceland, is ecstatic that his ambitious plans have been given full backing from the council. The tram line will use the existing road meaning traffic will be subjected to significant delays whilst the line is under construction.
The trams themselves will be completely powered using renewable energy sources. Solar panels along the roof will boost the engine ensuring there will be no breakdowns along the way.
At each end of the tram line wind turbines of 140m will mean the trams will be able to recharge when not in use. And as an extra precaution a moveable hatch in the floor will allow the driver and passengers to contribute by pedalling some of the way, keeping fit whilst they do so.
The former Kirkwall bus station is to be fully upgraded to house the trams and a welcoming waiting area will be created including a cafe and bar.
Mrs Flett McGinty, 72, Sandwick, thinks the trams are an excellent idea and will be a big boost to the tourist industry. She said:
“I love going on the trams when I visit my sister, Beatrice, in Edinburgh. I’m sure the visitors will enjoy them. I’ll be able to get the bus to Kirkwall so that I can take the tram to Stromness.”
Objections have been raised, however, by local anti-tram campaigner, Cygnet Swanson. Mr Swanson has launched an online petition which has 43 signatures already and he is confident in getting more. Campaign Against Trams (CATs) will be holding a series of public meetings throughout the 2 days of summer to alert folks to their objections.
Mr Swanson said:
” I am astounded that this tram line has got the green light from the council. The scheme has been match funded with the oil reserve fund money. That is not what I pay my taxes for. I will fight this to the end.”
Apart from Mr Swanson no other objections have been formally raised with the council so it looks like it will be all aboard for Orkney trams.
Reporter: Fergus Graemsay