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Tramway operation resumes in Öskemen

Tramway operation resumes in Öskemen

The Kazakh city of Öskemen (Russian: Ust-Kamenogorsk) took over the legal entity of its tramway on 17 May. After agreeing terms with the electricity company and staff, it resumed tramway operation on 19 May using the KTM-5 trams taken over from the previous private operator. Öskemen is a city of 321 000 inhabitants located in the east of Kazakhstan at the confluence of the Ulba and Irtysh rivers. During the Soviet era, tramways were opened in Alma Ata (Almaty) (1937), Temirtau (1959), Ust-Kamenogorsk (1959) and Pavlodar (1965), and like many the Ust-Kamenogorsk system was operated by an industrial concern rather than the local municipality. After independence in December 1991 this was split off to a private company, but due to a lack of investment services gradually declined until just 20 of the 60 KTM-5 trams (built between 1977 and 1986) were running each day on the four-line 16.5km (10.3-mile) system. By March 2018 the owners were behind in payments to the local electricity company and services were restricted due to limitations placed on the energy supply. Tram services ceased completely on 12 March. Tramway service was popular and the city council was already making plans to take over operations. On 25 January it successfully won 13 ex-Berlin 1985 Tatra KT4DtM trams at auction that were available in the former capital city Almaty (tramway operation ceased there on 31 October 2015). The first five arrived in Öskemen on 10 May. The KT4DtM trams, repainted in blue and white livery in Almaty before delivery by road to Öskemen, should enter service this summer, as two specialists from the former capital arrive...
Tramlink begins search for automatic braking system

Tramlink begins search for automatic braking system

Transport for London (TfL) is seeking a supplier for a new automatic braking system that would see a London Tramlink vehicle brought to a controlled stop if it exceeded the speed limit at designated high-risk locations. An official Invitation to Tender is expected this summer with a contract placed by the end of October for installation by the end of 2019. Although initially focusing on priority locations suggested by the UK’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), the chosen system is required to be flexible enough to be rolled out across the network. The tender includes options over a five-year period for maintenance and additional units; the specification includes a requirement for notification of the system’s control centre in incidents of speeding. Feasibility studies have been in progress since the derailment of tram 2551 at Sandilands on 9 November 2016 that resulted in seven deaths and 51 injuries. The procurement addresses RAIB Recommendation 3 that ‘UK tram operators, owners and infrastructure managers should work together to review, develop and install suitable measures to automatically reduce tram speeds if they approach higher risk locations at speeds which could result in derailment or overturning’. Work continues in evaluating options for improving the containment provided by tram windows and doors to address Recommendation 6, and testing is underway on a new ‘iTram’ system adapted from that used on London Buses (addressing Recommendation 5) to monitor vehicle speed and location as well as provide enhanced real-time passenger...

Metrolink considers zone-based ticketing

A new four-zone ticketing system for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network is under consideration, Transport for Greater Manchester announced on 21 May. If approved, the changes would take place early next year and could cut the current 8556 stop-to-stop fare combinations to just ten zone-based fares. Customers would be able to use one ticket for unlimited travel within their chosen zones. Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham described the area’s fares and ticketing system as “too complex, too disjointed and in need of an overhaul.” Ahead of any potential change, customers will be able to use contactless payments to tap on and off trams, an innovation that is being rolled our across the network later in the year. Combined bus/tram smart card ticketing has already been introduced. A public consultation exercise on the proposal is set to run ahead of any final decision. This will include an online questionnaire to gather feedback. A number of stops on the network, including Stretford and Brooklands, fall between two zones; fares here would be calculated on the lower zonal cost relative to the direction of...

Taking our cities back from the private car

We live in a world undergoing rapid urbanisation. Today, 54% of the world’s population live in cities, and by 2050 that number will grow to nearly 70%. In addition, road congestion and pollution are at all-time highs. Life in city environments is becoming increasingly challenging and less liveable. Finally, the rise of digitalisation and an ‘always on’ culture has transformed the way passengers perceive mobility services. It is therefore becoming more and more important for mobility service providers to have a deeper understanding of passengers’ needs – and it is also more important than ever to develop smarter mobility and flow management. At Keolis, we believe that mass transit is the best solution to provide the necessary capacity, frequency and fluidity to handle urban growth and passenger demands. It is also one of the best ways to meet today’s – and tomorrow’s – environmental challenges. We are convinced that mobility must be Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric (CASE). Building future mobility upon these four pillars will help us address the issues cited above. On 1 February 2018, together with 14 of the world’s leading transport and technology companies including BlaBlaCar, Lyft, Via and Uber, we signed the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, pledging to prioritise people over vehicles, lower emissions, promote equality and encourage data sharing, amongst other goals. The ten principles of this charter are: 1.  We plan our cities and their mobility together 2. We prioritise people over vehicles 3. We support the shared and efficient use of vehicles, lanes, curbs and land 4. We engage with stakeholders 5. We promote equality 6.  We lead the...
Hamburg’s green depot

Hamburg’s green depot

For the first time since the 1960s, Hamburg’s Hochbahn is building a new depot for its U-Bahn system. The urban rail network in this north German harbour city is growing – and that makes greater capacity for fleet stabling and maintenance essential. The most recent ridership figures show a 2.5% rise, to 455 million a year, and the current ‘big ticket’ projects are the five-stop line U5, as well as a one-stop extension of U4. Hamburger Hochbahn is also expanding its fleet: in 2016 the number of vehicles was 230, but 260 are expected by 2030. That means the existing combination of a workshop in Barmbek (north of the city centre) and a running depot in Farmsen (in the north-east) will no longer be enough. So the solution is a new depot – for which the foundation ceremony took place in October 2017. Environmental ‘upper league’ The new Billstedt depot will literally be a green facility – the main building incorporates a grassed roof – and also features heating from the district grid; a rainwater reclamation system; and insect-friendly lighting. Billstedt is described as playing in the “upper league” when it comes to Germany’s innovative standards. The choice of location was driven by more basic considerations. Expanding the existing facility at Farmsen was a non-starter because it has insufficient space. In what had previously been a yard area, between Billstedt and Legienstrße to the east of the city, there was more space however. Choosing this spot put the new depot adjacent to U2 and U4, maximising efficiency by minimising empty stock working. Once it opens (in 2019), Billstedt will maintain trains...