The International Light Rail Magazine
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Connecting Canberra

Connecting Canberra

In recent decades, citizens of cities the world over have become used to the idea of urban sprawl – particularly in the years after World War Two when new car-based developments encouraged suburban living and out of town shopping. However, in the Australian capital, the prospect is for new developments that in the years up to 2030 will create a more compact city. Canberra’s population is expected to increase to more than 500 000 in the next 15 years, up from around 400 000 today. The city currently has a population density of under 450 residents per square kilometre – low compared to other capital cities around the world. The plan to drive this in the coming decades will help support both more efficient public transport and vibrant neighbourhood centres. Canberrans recognise the relationship between this evolution and greater accessibility. However they also understand the convenience of having a car; as such, a symbolic moment in the push to reduce the reliance on private vehicles came in December 2017, with the arrival of the first of 14 CAF LRVs for the first stage of Canberra’s light rail. Opening of the first line between the city and Gungahlin is expected late this year. It has been estimated that light rail could make public transport travel times 30% faster than that of general traffic. Delivering light rail Since 2016, delivery of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government’s vision of a high quality integrated public transport system that is convenient, efficient and affordable has fallen to Transport Canberra. This organisation combines the former Public Transport Division with the Capital Metro Agency, established by...
LRT Rolling Stock Excellence

LRT Rolling Stock Excellence

Only a decade ago, the managers of the UK’s light and urban rail systems were virtual strangers. Now, they work as a close-knit team, discussing best practice and sharing innovation, and solving problems by talking openly about their successes and challenges. The outcome is a more co-ordinated industry that better serves the 313 million passengers that are carried each year. This impressive ridership figure is rising year-on-year, matched by customer satisfaction levels that most sectors would give their right arm for. In the latest of a series of one-day events supported by UKTram, held in London’s Docklands on 15 February, those with responsibility for the procurement, management and operation came together to discuss topics surrounding rolling stock. TAUT Editor and event chair Simon Johnston said: “These days are vital in understanding the everyday challenges within the industry. We are here to encourage openness and honesty from our speakers with their presentations and need to be asking often difficult questions of each other. “Light rail is a success story in the UK, but within this culture we can still improve and offer even better services. However, this naturally results in some potentially sensitive information being expressed behind closed doors which cannot be fully revealed.” Wire-free in the West Midlands There is a growing demand for wire-free running through Birmingham’s streets. Trials with retrofitted onboard energy storage systems (OESS) have been successful at the factory in Spain, but these systems are now facing a very different climate and operating conditions on the streets of the West Midlands, said Colin Robey, Midland Metro’s former Head of Operations and current OESS Project Sponsor for...
Auckland transport plan includes light rail

Auckland transport plan includes light rail

A NZD28bn (EUR16.5bn)transport plan for Greater Auckland was launched by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff on 26 April, heralding the country’s biggest ever civil engineering works programme. Christened ATAP 2018, the plan is “intended to create a 21st Century transport system for the city region” said Mr Twyford. Mr Goff said he hoped “to double the use of public transport over a short period of time”. Included in the package is NZD8.4bn (EUR4.93bn) for rapid transit, including commuter rail enhancements, a light rail system and a busway linking Panmure and Botany. The NZ Government is already financing the NZD1.4bn (EUR822m) 3.4km (2.1-mile) City Rail Link from Britomart under the city centre to Mount Eden. This will convert the suburban rail system to a through operation rather than terminating at the Britomart stub station. Electrification will be extended south from Papakura to Pukekohe. The light rail proposals include a line from the city to the airport (but designed to serve more than airport traffic) and another to serve the Northwest Corridor (City – Lincoln Rd – Kumeu). Both are designed to support population and employment growth, and relieve congestion, with recommended investment of NZD1.8bn (EUR1.06bn). In the longer term there is potential for light rail to the north shore (Albany and Orewa). Design work is already underway. Funding for the plan will come from rates and development contributions (NZD8.45bn/EUR4.96bn), a regional fuel tax (NZD4.4bn/EUR2.6bn), the National Land Transport Fund (NZD16.3bn/EUR9.58bn) and Crown Infrastructure Partners...

Three become one for German metre-gauge order

On 25 April Cottbus City Council (Germany) approved the joint procurement of 20 trams in co-ordination with the transport undertakings in Brandenburg an der Havel and Frankfurt/Oder. Cottbusverkehr is to order seven trams with an option for a further 13; Brandenburg requires four, with an option for eight more. Frankfurt/Oder will order 13. The tendering process is expected to begin this month for the 30m vehicles, with a requirement for a 60% low-floor design and a passenger capacity of 150. All three cities have metre-gauge tramways, which are electrified at 600V dc. It is anticipated that an order can be placed later in 2018 with the first deliveries beginning in 2020. The new fleets are to replace ageing Tatra KTNF6 cars that date from the 1980s in both Cottbus and Brandenburg that are becoming increasingly maintenance intensive. Frankfurt/Oder is likely to take a similar approach, removing some of its 1980s KT4D cars. As 75% of Cottbusverkehr passengers use the tram, more intensive services rely on fleet availability and this has become a significant challenge. Additionally, changes to the law require full accessibility of public transport in Brandenburg from 1 January 2022; the Land of Brandenburg has committed EUR48m for investment in barrier-free public transport by this date. The order could be worth EUR120m if all the options for up to 45 trams are...
Zürich gets its first look at new Flexity design

Zürich gets its first look at new Flexity design

A full-scale mock-up of the front two sections of the 43m Bombardier Flexity 2 tram design for VBZ was unveiled at Altstetten works on 24 April. The wooden mock-up will be used to consult with staff and passengers to finalise all aspects before delivery of the first two prototypes (4001/2) at the end of 2019 (in time for the Christmas lights according to VBZ director Guido Schoch). Fleet delivery and passenger service with the single-ended cars will come in 2020, with the order completed in 2021. VBZ has ordered 70 of the seven-section trams for CHF358m (EUR300m), with an option for a further 70. The exterior and interior design was developed by Bombardier and VBZ in collaboration with Milani Design & Consulting of Thalwil, using high-quality natural material, including Zürich’s traditional wooden seats. A striking external feature is LED lighting strips each side of the headlights as turn indicators and each side of the doors, which will pulse green at stops and red to indicate closing. Handrails are polished steel. There are 91 seats and space for 187 standing and each tram will have two areas for wheelchairs or buggies. Seats will have USB charging points. Drivers will benefit from the assistance  system developed by Bombardier to warn of track obstructions. Delays during the evaluation and placing of the order (tenders were first invited in 2019) mean that the city’s Tram 2000 cars have had a three-year reprieve; withdrawal will now start in 2020. However the extension of line 2 from Farbhof to Schlieren in December 2019 will require two vehicles from the reserve...