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LRT’s role in the Welsh rail revolution

LRT’s role in the Welsh rail revolution

KeolisAmey has unveiled bold plans for the Wales and Borders rail network and the development of the South Wales Metro, working in partnership with Transport for Wales. The 15-year franchise was formally announced on 4 June, following the end of a ten-day ‘standstill’ period in the procurement process. KeolisAmey will take over from incumbent operator Arriva Trains Wales on 14 October 2018, and has already outlined a series of investments to 2025 that will see new rolling stock, enhanced services, station improvements and the introduction of smart ticketing initiatives. The plans include a new street-running line down to Cardiff Bay that will see tram-trains running in the city from 2023. The joint venture already runs London’s Docklands Light Railway and Manchester Metrolink. Keolis is also part of the Tramlink Nottingham concessionaire, operator of Nottingham Express Transit. The total planned expenditure is GBP5bn (EUR5.67bn) over 15 years, with GBP3.5bn (EUR3.97bn) allocated to an increased annual operating subsidy and GBP1.5bn (EUR1.7bn) on capital investment, weighted towards the first five years. This includes GBP800m (EUR906m) for new rolling stock to replace 95% of trains by 2023; half of these will be assembled at a new factory under-construction at Llanwern by Spanish manufacturer CAF. KeolisAmey will lease the new rolling stock. A further five Vivarail three-car hybrid D-train units have been ordered for use on the Wrexham – Bidston, Conwy Valley and Chester – Crewe routes in North Wales, with the first deliveries beginning in early 2019 ahead of entry into service next summer. The D-Train concept was launched in 2015 and uses the bogies and aluminium bodyshells of withdrawn London Underground D78...
First UK tram-train reaches Parkgate

First UK tram-train reaches Parkgate

The final route testing phase for the UK’s tram-train pilot began on 5 June, with the first Stagecoach Supertram Citylink tram-train (399.202) running to Rotherham Parkgate. Line speed testing of the 12km (7.5-mile) route is set to begin in the week commencing 11 June, with the long-awaited opening to follow later in the summer. This significant milestone follows trials earlier in May on the national railway network for the first time and completion on 21-22 April of the installation of 750V dc overhead on the Tinsley Chord, the 160m section of track built to link the Supertram network with Network Rail’s freight line. Launched in 2009, the scheme is intended as a pilot project for the UK, with other cities following its progress as they look to further implement of the mode. Approximately GBP60m (EUR68m) has been invested in the project; a collaborative effort between the UK Department for Transport, Network Rail (leading on infrastructure construction and development of technical standards), the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and Stagecoach Supertram (responsible for operational development and ongoing service provision). When the line opens later this year, passengers will be able to board at Cathedral tramstop in central Sheffield and travel to Parkgate shopping centre via Rotherham Central station. Three services will be offered per hour, seven days a week, with a 25-minute travel time. Three tram-trains, with one in reserve, are required for this...
Berlin tramway expansion proposals unveiled

Berlin tramway expansion proposals unveiled

Further details of a proposed major expansion of the Berlin tramway network were uneiled in May. The programme, part of the BerlinStrategie Stadtentwicklungskonzept 2030 plan developed following the election of a ‘red-red-green’ alliance in 2016, includes the much wider return of trams to the western part of the city than had previously been planned. The proposals were developed by Center Nahverkehr Berlin and the Berlin Senate; however, there has been ongoing debate over whether to favour tram or U-Bahn expansion, with opposition party FDP favouring the latter. As yet there is no formal commitment to the financing implications from the parties involved – the Senate, transport authority Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg, and Berlin’s transport operator BVG (Berliner Verkehrsgesellschaft). Proposed routes have been broken down on the basis of priorities, with suggested delivery from 2020 through to after 2035: First priority 2020-25: Hbf – Jungfernheide; Alexanderplatz – Kulturforum; Pankow – Pasedagplatz; Heinersdorf – Blankenburg; Warschauer Str – Hermannplatz; Adlershof – Schöneweide; Warschauer Str – Ostbhf; plus new alignments at Ostkreuz and Mahlsdorf. 2026–30: Schöneweide – Hermannplatz – Potsdamer Platz; Spittelmarkt – Mehringdamm; Kulturforum – Rathaus Stegliz; Jungfernheide – Tegel (Urban Tech Republic TXL)–Kurt-Schumacher – Platz; Jungfernheide – Rathaus Spandau 2031-35: Rathaus Spandau – Hahneberg; Falkenseer Platz –Freudstrasse Second priority 2026-30: Sterndamm – Johannisthaler Chaussee; Lützowstr – Zoo; Hbf – Perleberger Strasse; Turmstrasse – Rathaus Pankow After 2035: Rathaus Stegliz – Friedenfelser Strasse Wishlist 2031-35: Virchow Klinikum – Ernst-Reuter-Platz – Zoo; Mierendorffplatz – Luisenplatz; Mahlsdorf – Riesaer Str No requirements for additional vehicles have been published, but new depots are proposed at Tegel (where the airport is to close once the under-construction Berlin-Brandenburg...
Eversholt joins the Revolution VLR team

Eversholt joins the Revolution VLR team

British rolling stock leasing company Eversholt Rail announced on 11 May that it has joined the consortium developing the Revolution Very Light Rail (VLR) vehicle. Led by Transport Design International (TDI), the consortium also comprises Cummins, Prose, RDM Group, the Railway Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), Transcal and the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), a department of the University of Warwick focused on commercialising technology. The Revolution is a modular 18m bi-directional vehicle that can accommodate up to 116 passengers (56 seated). Made from lightweight composite materials, the aim is to achieve a tare weight of less than one tonne/linear metre. The UK Department for Transport (DfT) is investing GBP3m (EUR3.4m) in the project through the RSSB’s Future Railway Enabling Innovation scheme to fund the development of a self-powered bogie with an integral, hybrid propulsion system and kinetic energy recovery system. It is hoped that the first Revolution vehicle could be on test towards the end of...

New York’s radical subway upgrade masterplan

An enhanced modernisation plan for New York’s deteriorating subway and overwhelmed bus system was unveiled by New York City Transit President Andy Byford on 23 May. The ambitious vision, Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit, calls for the introduction of CBTC signalling on five lines by 2023, together with upgraded power supply, and on six more by 2029, as well as night-time and weekend station closures to bring 150 stations to a state of good repair in the next five years, with another 150 in the following five-year period. Further plans include enhanced accessibility, new elevators at 50 additional stations and a new fare collection system for contactless and smartcard payments across subway, bus and paratransit services by 2020. To fulfil the plan, more than 3650 new cars will be required over the next ten years (all new cars to be CBTC equipped and retrofitting existing cars) as well as improved depot and maintenance facilities. The scale of the programme and its reported USD19bn pricetag immediately drew distance from State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have repeatedly clashed over who should finance the rehabilitation of the subway. The rail network has long been a political football due to its unusual governance, serving the city but being controlled by the state. Following the declaration of a ‘state of emergency’ for the MTA in July 2017, the two sides spent months debating who should fund a USD8bn subway rescue plan. The eventual outcome was an approximate 50/50 split. Mr de Blasio told local media: “It’s now fully understood that the responsibility for the...
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...