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Luton DART people-mover trials start

Luton DART people-mover trials start

Passenger trials have begun on the 2.1km (1.3-mile) people-mover serving Luton Airport (UK). The automated rail system uses two four-car Doppelmayr Cable Liner shuttles to offer a shuttle service to Luton Airport Parkway station on the Midland Mainline in four minutes. Afull opening of the system,known as Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit), is expected atEaster– the weekend of 9 April. Onward connections to London St Pancras station can be achieved from the airport in around 30 minutes. Doppelmayr is responsible for operations and maintenance of the line for an initial period of five years. Planning permission for the project was received in July 2017, withsystem design undertaken by Arup. Construction began in April 2018, with major works contracted to a joint-venture of VolkerFitzpatrick and Kier. With an opening planned for early 2021, DART was originally estimated to cost GBP225m (EUR250m). The final cost of the project, funded by London Luton Airport owner Luton Rising (a not-for-profit company owned by London Borough Council), is still ‘subject to ongoing discussions’ but is likely to exceed GBP290m(EUR323.5m). King Charles III rode the line in early December 2022 in a visit to the...
Durmazlar begins tram deliveries to Reșița

Durmazlar begins tram deliveries to Reșița

The first of 13 new low-floor trams for the new tramway in the western Romanian city of Reșița was delivered by Turkish manufacturer Durmazlar on 29 January. Further deliveries of the 18m double-ended  cars, each with capacity for 135 passengers, are expected in April, June and August under a EUR25m contract awarded in 2020. Homologation of the new trams is being carried out by a Polish company, with drivers undergoing training in Timișoara, around 100km (62 miles) to the north-west. Two contracts to rebuild the city’s tramway, worth a combined RON270m (EUR55m), were signed with construction company PORR in April 2022. A subsidiary of the Austrian-based contractor began work on around 10km (6.2 miles) of new tracks between Bulevardul Muncii and Piața Republicii in May 2022. The contractor is also responsible for electrification, 16 new stops and rehabilitation of the city’s tram depot. The project also includes highway improvements, installation of parallel cycleways and pavements and reconstruction of the 228m Triaj bridge. Reșița (population 73 300) was one of the cities to benefit from the Ceaucescu-era initiative to reduce fuel consumption, opening a standard-gauge tramway in 1988. Construction standards were basic however, and with funds for maintenance limited the line quickly fell into disrepair, being truncated to Piața Republicii in 1995. Following renovation, the Romanian-built trams were replaced by second-hand articulated trams from Dortmund in Germany. Continued lack of investment saw the system deteriorate further, with the last trams running in August 2011. Mayor Ioan Popa campaigned on reintroducing tramway service in 2016, taking advantage of the availability of EU infrastructure funds. Plans to reinstate the tramway were approved in...
Long Island rail service opens to Grand Central

Long Island rail service opens to Grand Central

A key part of the USD11.1bn East Side Access Project, the new Long Island Railroad (LIRR) station below New York’s Grand Central opened on 25 January as Grand Central Madison, initially with a 30-minute shuttle service to Jamaica between 06.15 and 20.00. The inaugural 11.07 train carried Governor Kathy Hochul and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) CEO Janno Lieber, taking 21 minutes to cover the journey from Queens to Manhattan. Once open to all 11 LIRR routes – which the MTA has confirmed will follow with revised schedules by the end of February – the new connection promises reductions in journey times of around 40 minutes for around 160 000 passengers each day. Around 45% of LIRR commuters are expected to travel to Grand Central Madison, with 24 trains/hour, relieving crowding at Penn Station on the West Side, previously the line’s only stop in Manhattan. A separate project has created a new stabling yard in Queens which can accommodate up to 300 cars, and the Harold Interlocking has been updated, including the installation of 97 new track switches, 295 catenary masts, five new bridges, and over 2.5km (1.55 miles) of retaining walls. Grand Central Madison is the largest passenger facility built in the US since the 1950s and includes 17 55m escalators and eight platforms. Lying more then 40m below ground it is reached by a 5.6km (3.5-mile) tunnel, including single-track tubes beneath the East River which were built in the 1960s but never fitted-out. Stymied by the municipal fiscal crisis of the 1970s, for decades planners sought to revive the project. The plans gained momentum again in the late...
First new DLR train arrives in London, expanded order due imminently

First new DLR train arrives in London, expanded order due imminently

The first new CAF Inneo train for London’s Docklands Light Railway has arrived at the system’s Beckton depot, two months ahead of schedule. Transport for London (TfL) reports that 12 trains from the base order for 43, placed in June 2019, will have been completed by April. They are due to enter service from 2024. TfL’s contract with the Spanish manufacturer is worth GBP345m (EUR395m), with the new five-car units replacing 33 of the DLR’s B90-B92 cars, built in 1991-95, by 2026. Each of the new 86.7m walk-through sets can accommodate 793 passengers, although less seating is provided compared to existing stock due to a new longitudinal internal layout. Testing of the new CAF stock is taking place in Spain, where each train has to complete 20 000km (12 400 miles) of incident-free running. The design includes a new turquoise/white livery, replacing the familiar red/blue colourscheme carried since the network’s 1987 opening. In related news, TfL has received confirmation from the UK Government of its intention to fund the purchase of a further 11 trains under its Housing Infrastructure Fund. These additional units will be used to increase frequencies on the network and unlock further housing growth in the Royal Docks and Isle of Dogs areas. The option is expected to be confirmed in in February. The DLR rolling stock replacement programme includes expansion of the Beckton depot, traction power and signalling upgrades, and enhanced customer information systems. Preparatory works are underway and a contract for construction of the new maintenance facility and additional sidings is expected later in the year. The DLR’s second depot opened on the site of the...
Cleveland plans to standardise rail transit fleet

Cleveland plans to standardise rail transit fleet

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) is reportedly close to concluding a deal which would unify rolling stock across its light rail and rapid transit lines, standardising operations and offering a ‘single-seat ride’ from Shaker Heights to Cleveland Airport or from Windermere to the Lake Erie waterfront. Cleveland is one of the major cities in the Great Lakes region (population 368 000) and the origins of its rail transit network date back to 1913 after the Van Sweringen brothers developed the planned suburban community of Shaker Heights and installed a rail link to the city centre (Union Terminal) that became the municipal Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in 1944. It used PCC streetcars which ran on grade-separated right-of-way to provide a fast connection between two lines serving Shaker Heights and the city (21.6km/13.5 miles). These were replaced by 48 Breda LRVs in 1980-81, but only 34 of these 2.8m-wide cars are used for today’s Green and Blue line services. A 3.5km (2.2-mile) light rail extension to the waterfront opened in 1996; closed during the pandemic this should re-open in 2023. The city also has a 31km (19.2-mile) conventional rapid transit line (the Red line) linking Windermere and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport via Union Terminal. Opening between 1955 and 1975, two stations, with split-level platforms, are also used by light rail services on 2.6km (1.6 miles) of track-sharing. Tokyu Car Corporation (now Japan Transport Engineering Company) provided the third-generation of Red line rolling stock; 60 of the 3.15m-wide cars were delivered in 1984-85; 40 of these remain. With more frequent failures and rising maintenance costs affecting patronage, many of GCTRA’s...