Sunday 23 November 2014

Trip down memory lane for driver of maiden journey

Emma Jane Hade

Published 01/07/2014 | 02:30

Luas Driver Instructor Eddie Byrne, who drove the first LUAS from Sandyford to Stephens Green, pictured in the cab of a green LUAS  after the LUAS green line 10th brithday celebrations,at the LUAS stop on Dublin's St Stephens Green yesterday.
Luas Driver Instructor Eddie Byrne, who drove the first LUAS from Sandyford to Stephens Green, pictured in the cab of a green LUAS after the LUAS green line 10th brithday celebrations,at the LUAS stop on Dublin's St Stephens Green yesterday.

THERE was a special guest at the 10th anniversary of the first ever Luas journey – the driver who took that first journey in 2004.

Eddie Byrne was on hand to help Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and Junior Minister Alan Kelly cut the large tram-shaped birthday cake at the St Stephen's Green Luas stop in Dublin yesterday morning, as they celebrated 252.3 million passenger trips over the past decade.

Accompanied by his wife, former butcher Mr Byrne said that he remembers the day he piloted the tram on its maiden voyage from Sandyford to the city centre on June 30, 2004, and he compared it to a wedding day, admitting that he was a "little bit nervous" on what was a very busy day.

The 53-year-old said that he ditched his 24-year career as a butcher to become a Luas driver, as he "took an interest in it".

And by doing this, he became the third generation of his family to work in the rail industry. "My grandfather drove a tram and my dad worked in Irish Rail," he explained.

"I decided myself I needed a career change. I said to myself that I'll give it a go, and 10 years later I am still here."

Speaking at the event, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said that it was "a very proud day".

There are 10 days of celebrations ahead to mark the 10th birthday of the service, and cupcakes will be distributed by staff at various stations over the coming days.

Irish Independent

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