Driver Eddie remembers the day he got us all right on track

By Emma Jane Hade

CHIEF celebrant at the tenth birthday celebrations of the Luas was Eddie Byrne, the man who literally started it all.
 The 53-year-old drove the first ever Luas tram from Sandyford to St Stephen's Green in Dublin on its maiden trip ten years ago. And, he said that he remembers the day well - and even compared it to a wedding.

"I was a little bit nervous," he said. "Somebody asked me to describe it and it was nearly like getting married - the whole day the way it went on and the whole load, it was very busy."

It was a huge career change for Mr Byrne, who now works as a tram driver instructor with Transdev ­- the company which operates the Luas.

He gave a 24-year career as a butcher the chop, in order to become the third generation rail worker in his family.

"My grandfather drove a tram and my dad worked in Irish Rail," he explained.

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

Eddie said: "It's a massive success. Of all the things that we have put out from the Celtic Tiger, this is the one thing we can turn around and say that it's been a great success.

"And even now, during austerity, we are building extensions, because people in Dublin love it.

He has been involved in one collision with a car "Thankfully, the accident I was involved in, there were no injuries," he told the Herald.

He pleaded with drivers to be vigilant around trams. When asked would be driving the tram for Luas's 20th birthday he said that would bring him up to 63-years-old, "but I could still be going".