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Metro and tram openings in 11 Chinese cities in December

Metro and tram openings in 11 Chinese cities in December

Chinese cities opened around 305km (190 miles) of new metro lines in just six days in late December, as well as all-new tramway in the city of Huangshi. A decrease in end-of-year openings compared to recent years is ascribed to adverse effects resulting of the COVID-19 pandemic on construction activity. Monday 26 December: Qingdao and Hefei This latest wave of openings began on 26 December. Qingdao (Shandong province) launched its new 30.7km (19-mile) line 4 from Hall of the People to Dahedong, including 25 stops, while on the same day Hefei (Anhui) extended line 5 by 15.5km (9.6 miles) from Wanghucheng West to Jiqiao Road. Wednesday 28 December: Huangshi, Taizhou, Jinhua, Shenzhen, Nanjing and Foshan The busiest day for openings came on 28 December, including the introduction of two all-new systems. Huangshi (Hubei province, population 2.5m) inaugurated service on its new 26.9km (16.7-mile) 29-stop tramway; the north-south line runs between Huangshi Avenue and Garden Expo. Built in just over two years and costing CNY4.58bn (EUR640m), the double-track Yellowstone Rail Transit route runs on a viaduct to serve Huangshi North railway station as well as featuring a 1.5km (0.9-mile) tunnel under a mountain ridge. Rolling stock comprises 36.6m 100% low-floor trams built by CRCC. Each four-section vehicle has capacity for up to 300 passengers and is equipped with onboard batteries (top-ups taking place at stops). Free rides took place 28 December – 31 January. On the same day, Taizhou (290km/180 miles south of Shanghai) opened its 52.4km (32.5-mile) metro line S1 from Taizhou station in the north to Chengnan in the south of city; construction started in November 2016. Worked using 25kV ac overhead, the 15-stop line...
Beating the Bottleneck: Nexus’ Metro Flow

Beating the Bottleneck: Nexus’ Metro Flow

Completed in record time, Nexus’ Metro Flow project promises to boost capacity on the UK’s pioneering light rail network by up to 24 000 daily journeys when the system’s new Stadler trains arrive in 2023. Clearly, this is good news for journey times, the environment and gives a much-needed boost to the local economy. But what is Metro Flow, and how has it made such a difference? In March 2022, the UK Government’s Budget Statement confirmed funding was available to address long-standing bottlenecks on UK networks and to improve resilience. The Tyne and Wear metro had such a bottleneck in its system and Nexus designed the Metro Flow programme to address this issue. Over the last 12 years, Metro: All Change has largely rebuilt the system, delivering huge improvements to a network which first opened in 1980. However, the 4.6km section between Pelaw and Bede, a legacy of the system’s history, was still causing a major headache as large potions were just single-line. Surrounded on both sides, there was no room to lay a brand-new track, so Nexus instead turned its attention instead to the neighbouring freight line. But as this wasn’t electrified, access was impossible for Metrocars. This bottleneck was holding the Metro back as it lengthened journey times and led to unavoidable delays across the network. Since laying a new track was not an option, the other alternative was to convert the freight line which ran parallel to the current Metro line. After consultation with local residents and taking ownership of the line, Nexus were ready to set their plan in action. The tracks were replaced, new...
A strategy for the future of light rail in the UK

A strategy for the future of light rail in the UK

Light rail, like many other public-facing sectors, has faced a challenging two years. The COVID-19 pandemic saw passenger numbers, and revenues, plummet. Yet now, as we move forward again, I can say without doubt that the future is looking bright. Why? Because in so many ways, light rail provides answers to some of our cities’ most pressing problems – enhancing connectivity, driving inward investment, reducing congestion, and improving air quality, to name but a few. At UKTram, we are proud to have published A Light Rail Strategy for the UK, drawing on expertise from across the sector to build a compelling case for tramways and similar transit systems. The blueprint, launched with support from Transport Ministers Grant Shapps and Baroness Vere [both of which have since left their transport roles in the UK’s Department for Transport], highlights something that operators and users have known for some time – the benefits of putting tramways at the heart of future integrated urban transport networks are many, sizeable, and long-lasting. Convincing messages The strategy forms a coherent and convincing argument for expansion – a rallying call and a bold vision for the future. It also explains how, with closer collaboration to drive innovation and best practice, that vision can become reality, setting out a clear programme of initiatives that will help to reduce the cost and complexity of projects whilst driving cross-sector partnerships. Make no mistake, there is no problem with popularity. Light rail patronage has increased steadily over the past 20 years; pre-pandemic, 282m journeys were made in the year to March 2019. With little reason not to expect those numbers to return...
European Light Rail Congress 2023 – Tenerife

European Light Rail Congress 2023 – Tenerife

Don’t miss out on the unique chance to meet, engage with and explore the European Light Rail Market. The European Light Rail Congress brings together senior and key professionals for two days of debate around urban development strategy and innovation with light rail as a key driver to sustainable mobility. Following a successful fourth running in May 2022, planning is already well underway for next year’s event in the spectacular setting of the La Laguna Gran Hotel, located in the heart of the historic centre of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife. With presentations, interactive debate and exhibitions from the sector’s most innovative suppliers and service providers, this two-day congress also includes a technical visit, evening receptions and over eight hours of dedicated networking sessions. Read TAUT’s report about our last European Congress in Zaragoza here to gain a detailed view of the topics discussed, the technology and speakers showcased and the opportunities raised at our May 2022 event. For 2023, we are delighted to have the support of Metrotenerife, with Metrotenerife Chairman and Vice-President of the Government of Tenerife, Enrique Arriaga commenting: “The change and improvement of mobility in the city is a priority. As the most important annual meeting in Europe on light rail and urban tramways, in 2023 we will present our model of sustainable mobility and the innovation, technology, strategic solutions and design keys to the present and future of public transport and mobility.” Check out our photos of our 2022 event here. With a constantly evolving schedule, exclusive networking opportunities and confirmed speakers such as Tranvias de Zaragoza, Metro de Sevilla, Metro de Málaga...
Kiel: Future-proofing public transport

Kiel: Future-proofing public transport

The capital of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, has set the goal of significantly reducing pollutant emissions by 2035. A key contributor to achieving this ambition will be increasing public transport use, although bus services are already at capacity and any expansion would pose significant challenges. For these reasons, Kiel City Council has studied the installation of a new public transport system on segregated track, and has already begun the design processes to enable this transition. Both tram and Bus Rapid Transit solutions will be assessed, with the city aiming to decide upon which option it is to pursue at the end of 2022. Rail-borne transport has characterised the cityscape over many decades. Kiel’s first horse tramlines, built to the unusual 1100mm-gauge, were established in 1881; five years later these three routes were electrified as the system quickly grew to eight lines. During World War Two, the tramway was badly damaged along with the rest of the city. Reconstruction lasted until the early 1950s and the tram continued as the primary mode of public transport until the mid-1960s. Closures began in 1967, with line 3 being the first to cease service. More lines transitioned to bus operation until, on 2 May 1985, the final tram passengers were carried on line 4 around ‘the Hörn’ from Kiel-Wik to Kiel-Wellingdorf. Fast forward two decades and discussions began on a plan to improve public transport by way of a dual-system light rail network. The proposed Stadtregionalbahn (SRB) concept was based on the example of Karlsruhe and would have resulted in improved connectivity between Kiel and the surrounding region. When the Rendsburg-Eckernförde district...
A ten-point plan for Light Rail in the UK

A ten-point plan for Light Rail in the UK

Norman Baker, UK Light Rail Minister from 2010 to 2014 and now External Relations Director for Campaign for Better Transport, sets out a simple vision for the future. We know light rail works. It works for passengers, for economies, for communities, and for the environment. In the latter case, light rail is responsible for just 0.13% of the UK’s transport emissions, which is basically nothing. During my time in the Department for Transport I pushed to get these benefits recognised – and we had a number of successes. However, the growth we hoped for in the wake of the Green Light for Light Rail report I initiated in 2010 hasn’t really materialised. So, to give light rail the platform it deserves to deliver for more towns and cities in the UK, I have come up with a simple ten-point plan. Firstly, the Government needs to amend its decarbonisation plan to include a target for growth. It has many warm words about light rail, but nothing specific in its decarbonisation plan. Why not? Next, we need to look at the 1992 Transport & Works Act to determine whether it is still fit for purpose, where it can be simplified, and how we can reduce the time between a scheme being put forward and the date it is given permission to start construction. We then need to encourage the Government to look at areas of the country, in conjunction with local authorities, to identify where light rail may be the sensible answer. It is only right and proper for towns and cities to come up with solutions to serve their own...