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CAF wins order for up to 77 trams for Montpellier

CAF wins order for up to 77 trams for Montpellier

Montpellier Mediterranean Métropole has awarded CAF a contract for 60 seven-section Urbos low-floor trams to cater for expansion of the French city’s tramway network and its move towards free travel for all in 2023. The deal, worth in excess of EUR223m, includes an option for an additional 17 vehicles. The new trams will be supplied to operator Transports de l’agglomération de Montpellier (TaM) at a rate of two per month over a six-year period from 2024. The majority of the order is planned to replace the Citadis 301 and 401 stock on line 1 (Mosson – Odysseum) and for the future line 5. Running for 16km (ten miles) between Clapiers in the north and Lavérune in the south-west, this EUR440 project is due to complete in 2025. With six-minute planned headways, line 5 is expected to carry 80 000 passengers/day. Other trams from the order will be used to increase network capacity as the agglomeration becomes the first in France to provide all residents of the 31 municipalities with free tram and bus travel in 2023. This initiative began in September 2020 with the offer of free weekend travel; a year later seven-day-a-week passes were extended to all residents under the age of 18 and over the age of 65. Alain Picard, Managing Director of CAF France, said: “This contract is of great importance to us on two counts: firstly because it is the largest market for trams in a firm phase ever awarded in France, then because it is the biggest tram contract ever won by CAF in France”. CAF’s successes in France in recent years include deliveries of Urbos trams to Nantes, Besançon and...
Charlotte approves design contract for Gold line Phase 3

Charlotte approves design contract for Gold line Phase 3

The City Council in Charlotte (US) has approved further work for Phase 3 of the CityLYNX Gold line. A USD4.3m design contract with AECOM for expansion of the east-west line by 9.6km (six miles) will now move forward. The Gold line’s USD150m second phase, which opened on 30 August 2021, has faced criticism for its slower journey times; many councillors in North Carolina’s largest city have suggested their full support for Phase 3 would depend on greater traffic light priority and increased segregation from other road traffic. Despite offering free rides, the line currently carries an average of 1400 passengers/day. Passenger operation on the initial 2.4km (1.5-mile) central portion of the Gold line (opened in 2015) was suspended in June 2019 to permit rebuilding and extension. The current 6.4km (four-mile) line runs from French Street to Sunnyside Avenue with a total of 17 stops. Five of the six Siemens S700 three-section low-floor cars acquired as part of the Phase 2 project are required for daily service by Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), running to 20-minute headways, 05.00-01.00 and seven days a week. Equipped with onboard batteries for the Uptown section (Bus Station – Mint Street), each S700 has capacity for 255 passengers, 56 seated longitudinally. The GOMACO replica ‘Birney’ cars that operated the original Gold line were subsequently sold to Memphis. The future of Phase 3 is largely dependent on a voter-approved sales tax increase later this year, and could open in...
Malaysian Prime Minister inaugurates Putrajaya line

Malaysian Prime Minister inaugurates Putrajaya line

Opening of the first phase of Malaysia’s Putrajaya (MRT-2) line was undertaken by Prime Minster Ismail Sabri Yaakob together with his finance and transport ministers on 16 June. The 17.5km (10.9-mile) section runs from Kwasa Damansara to Kampung Batu with nine new stations, plus three that were formerly part of the MRT Kajang line and closed in October 2021 to enable their reconfiguration. To celebrate the new line’s opening, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri announced a month of free travel on all bus and rail services operated by RapidKL. The line is operated by 20 Hyundai Rotem fully-automated four-car trains, capable of 100kmh/h (62mph) operation. Each 77.4m train, powered by 750V dc third-rail, has capacity for up to 1200 passengers. During peak hours services run every four minutes. Passengers can transfer cross-platform between the MRT Putrajaya line and MRT Kajang line at Kwasa Damansara; the new route is also connected with KTM train services at Sungai Buloh, Sri Damansara Timur (with Kepong Sentral KTM Station), and Kampung Batu. Launch of the service has coincided with the creation of 13 feeder bus routes. Previously known as the Sungai Buloh – Serdang – Putrajaya line, this is the second of the three-line Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit Project to be developed. It will ultimately serve a corridor with a population of around two million, stretching from Kwasa Damansara (a new development in north-west Kuala Lumpur and its southern suburbs), to the federal administrative centre of Putrajaya. The alignment will total 57.7km (35.9 miles), consisting of 44.2km (27.5 miles) of elevated tracks and 13.5km (8.4 miles) of underground running. It will have 36...
Confederation line inquiry gets underway

Confederation line inquiry gets underway

Public hearings are underway in the Province of Ontario’s inquiry into the delayed delivery and technical issues associated with the first stage of Ottawa’s ‘Confederation line’ LRT project. The probe follows breakdowns and repeated closures of the 12.5km (7.8-mile) east-west light rail line between Tunney’s Pasture and Blair Station, which runs (partly in subway) over former a bus formation. Originally projected to open in May 2018, the first passengers were carried in September 2019. The mandate of the commission carrying out the inquiry covers the city’s procurement strategy and contract awards; the performance of winning bidder Rideau Transit Group and its management of subcontractors; and the city’s oversight throughout the process. Established under an executive order in December 2021, the inquiry is expected to report later this year. More than one million documents have already been collected and over 90 witnesses interviewed. The public hearings are expected to involve 40-50 witnesses; hearings are being undertaken at the University of Ottawa and are expected to run until 8 July. Thanks to the initial 1970s planning, Ottawa’s Transitways were built with future light rail conversion in mind. Marking a move towards European-style low-floor LRT, O-Train line 1 (as it is now known) has 13 stops, of which four are in a 2.5km (1.55-mile) subway under the city centre. A fleet of 34 low-floor Alstom Citadis Spirit LRVs, based upon the Citadis Dualis manufactured and operated in France, was ordered in 2013. Each 48m double-ended vehicle has 120 seats, provision for wheelchairs and space for around 180 standees. Boarding is through seven doors on each side and operations are handled in coupled pairs....
Tram-train proposed for Cardiff – Taff Ely corridor

Tram-train proposed for Cardiff – Taff Ely corridor

Proposals for a tram-train scheme to serve a ‘North West Corridor’ (NWC) from Cardiff have been published in a new report, The Case for a Llantrisant to Cardiff Metro. Initial estimates put the cost of delivering the project between the Welsh capital and Taff Ely at GBP500m (EUR575m). Construction would include the re-use of disused rail formation, and services would tie in to the existing South Wales Metro scheme. The report, prepared by transport consultancy Cogitamus, includes an estimated GBP100m (EUR115m) toremodel Cardiff West station and allow more than eight trains per hour to run from the City Line/NW Corridor through to Cardiff Central and Crossrail.   ‘Quick wins’ In the interim, ‘quick wins’ could include work to increase capacity at Cardiff West Junction to allow four trains per hour on the City Line, and the development of a network of express bus routes. Cogitamus Policy Director Katie Allister said: “This would allow the frequencies that we were talking about on the City Line to be raised from two to four trains per hour and you are looking at a GBP20m to GBP30m pricetag for that. “Hugely different, yes, but they are each necessary stepping stones. You need that first bit of work at Cardiff West to allow that more strategic long-term solution to be delivered.” The term ‘North West Corridor’ describes part of Cardiff West bordered by the A4232 link road in the west and the A470 and Merthyr railway line in the east. This extends to the communities known collectively as Taff Ely, along with Fairwater, Danescourt and Creigiau, as well as forthcoming developments at Plasdwr and...
Moskva tramway rolls out new ‘smart switch’

Moskva tramway rolls out new ‘smart switch’

A new ‘smart switch’ has been installed on the tramway in Moskva (Moscow) as the start of a general rollout across the wider network in the Russian capital. Replacing a traditional manually-operated switch near Kursky station in the eastern part of the city, the new version undertakes the role automatically; information about a tram’s route is transmitted from the vehicle to the switch, with the driver receiving confirmation about the blades’ position via a tablet in the cab. The equipment has been installed in one of Moskva’s low-floor PK-TS Vityaz-Moscow trams, after it was successfully tested on the 71-623vehicle known as ‘the carrot’ due to its orange colour. “We will gradually upgrade all the tram switches in Moscow. In addition to the control system, we plan to upgrade their design”, the Moscow Department of Transport reports. “This way, the driver may not be distracted from the road – everything happens automatically. Trams will go faster and trips will become even safer. We use advanced Russian-made technologies… [never] used before in transport”. Although far smaller than at its peak, Moskva’s tramway today still covers more than 400 track-km (250 track-miles). It has been operated by the Moscow Metro since February 2021; unified management and the application of metro standards are aimed at increasing speed, improving operational services and enhancing the quality of passenger...