If you thought tram travel was a relaxed affair you haven’t seen Adham Fisher attempting ‘the record’.
The Leicester lad is, right now, aiming to become the fastest person to visit every stop on Sheffield’s Supertram network. It’s his fourth attempt.
The current best is 1hr 43m 48s held by city transport buff Phil Brown. But our challenger is hungry for glory.
Today, he’s already ticked off all points from Halfway and Herdings Park to Sheffield Railway Station
And, as The Diary joins him, he comes bounding down the steps three at a time, sprinting onto the platform and flinging himself onto a...train?
“This is the fastest way to Meadowhall,” he explains breathlessly. “If I get there this way, I can tick all the stops off on the tram on the way back.”
There’s a science to this, it seems.
And perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.
Although Guinness only recognises such records on the London Underground (16hr 30m) and New York City’s subway (22hr 52m), enthusiasts battle to set the best times on urban rail systems the world over. Entire websites are dedicated to the hobby. Adham himself has attempted 35 records and believes he holds the fastest time in Paris, Lille, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Chicago, Toronto, Nottingham and Tyne and Wear,
But right now there’s no time to brag.
At Meadowhall the 27-year-old events company worker sprints across the bridge for a tram heading back into the city.
Once aboard he’s too hyper to sit down, constantly checking his watch, prowling back and forth, snapping pictures of every tram stop sign.
And as Castle Square approaches he debates whether to jump off and get on the tram behind in a complicated bid to save seconds.
Sheffield’s trams must depart and arrive at the terminus at a set time, but in between speeds vary. Timing can also be affected by traffic, request stops and the number of passengers. But he opts to ride it all the way to Malin Bridge.
“It’s a pesky stop, this,” he says.
Why? Because it’s out on its own, a third of a mile from the main line which continues to Middlewood terminus. The solution? To sprint back to Hillsborough where - joy of joys - a tram bound for the end of the line has just pulled up.
A few minutes later Adham stands with his finger on the ‘open’ button as the tram slows. He battles through the doors to land on the last platform and stop the clock.
It’s a new record of 1hr 38m 47s.
“Five minutes off the record,” he says. “That’s a pretty good feeling. But I still don’t think I’m much good at this sort of thing.”
He explains that the London title, despite 11 attempts, still eludes him.
Does he believe he’s eccentric?
He bridles: “Not at all. I would much rather spend 17 hours on a tube than go up Everest mountain climbing. That’s eccentric.”