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European Tram Driver Championship kicks off in Oradea

Primaria Municipiului Galati

Tram-EM 2023, the European Tram Driver Championship hosted by the western city of Oradea for the first time in Romania, kicked off on Saturday morning, with 25 teams from large European cities competing.

The official opening took place in Piata Unirii with the presentation of the teams, each made up of two tram drivers and a supervisor, and short videos and images of trams from the competing cities, with a welcome message from director of the Oradea public transport company (OTL) Adrian Revnic.

The Oradea team, who finished in third place in 2019, have since then proposed to organise this high-level competition in their city, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the event.

"The fact that we managed to bring this championship to Oradea is beneficial from many points of view. First of all, we are on the map of Europe in terms of public transport. The world can see how beautiful this city is and get in touch with our Romanian culture and traditions. Also, the whole of Europe is represented, from Ireland to Ukraine, from Sweden to Italy. Right now, Europe is in our house, and we are happy to be the hosts of this wonderful competition. Our goal is to get to know each other, the big family of tram drivers," Revnic told AGERPRES.

Piata Unirii was prepared as if for a small festival, with an outdoor stage, food trucks, play areas for children, stands with information about the Oradea public transit. Music and cabaret dancing marked the opening the competition that takes place throughout the day in the city centre.

Each team will compete on two types of trams from the Oradea fleet - Siemens and Astra - on a 130-metre section from Strada Independentei to Piata Unirii. The teams are made up of one male and one female tram driver drivers and a third person who will provide technical assistance. Team Ukraine is the only team composed only of women.

"Tested in the competition is the ability to adapt to a new vehicle, reactions to unforeseen circumstances, the skills of the tram driver to perform in the shortest time various actions to prove professionalism," said Revnic.

Leonte Onita and Karoly Eva will represent Oradea.

The 25 competing cities are: Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Debrecen, Dresden, Dublin, Florence, Gothenburg, Hanover, Kosice, Kiev, Leipzig, Malaga, Nurnberg, Oslo, Oradea, Prague, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Szeged, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb.

In this edition, there are also new entries, teams from cities coming to this championship for the first time, such as Szeged and Nurnberg. "This is what usually happens: some of poorly performing teams withdraw from the championships and others enter to promote this wonderful competition throughout Europe," Revnic told AGERPRES.

According to the rules of the European championship, Oradea will enter the competition first, followed by the winning city of the previous edition, Hanover. The order for the rest of the teams was drawn by lot.

At Tram-EM, the first test consists of reaching and maintaining a speed of 25 km/h and braking at a fixed point.

The second test is said to be quite spectacular: a pool table will be placed on a section of the track, and the drivers will have to drive slowly up to the pool table, hit a large cue with the tram so that it hits a white ball and send it to an area of the table for different scores. The team will receive points depending on where the ball lands.

For the first two tests, the contestants will use an Astra tram.

The third test will consist of quickly extinguishing a fire on the tracks. A referee measures the time until the fire is extinguished.

After a lunch break, the teams will return using a Siemens tram.

In the fourth test, the teams will have to place a dummy next to the tram rails, in a curve, as close as possible to the rails, but still not touched by the tram set that passes by. The faster they pass the dummy, the more points they get.

The contestants will proceed to the fifth test: stopping in such a way that the third double door of the tram reaches precisely the middle of the measuring field.

Finally, the sixth test will be an unusual one: the trams will have to hit a large bowling ball; after touching the ball, the tram driver starts the emergency braking, which will hit six huge pins located in Piata Unirii. Time is of the essence, so the drivers will have to get out quickly and stop time with a red buzzer.

This is the 10th edition of the European Tram Driver Championship.

The award ceremony will take place in Piata Unirii at 16:00hrs, and in the evening, the contestants and the locals are invited to a concert by singer Irina Rimes.

The contest is streamed live on the website and on the TRAM-EM and OTL Facebook pages in English and Romanian.


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