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Cities reject free transport proposals

Cities reject free transport proposals

Suggestions by German Government ministers that cities could offer free public transport to combat local emissions have been rejected by places intended to lead a pilot. The government had said Bonn, Essen, Herrenburg, Reutlingen and Mannheim could be the ‘lead cities’ in an initiative intended to reduce air pollution. However, local politicians have said the idea is a non-starter without funding. German cities have been under pressure from the European Union over air quality; and the country’s Environment Minister, Transport Minister and Head of Chancellery wrote a joint letter to EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella, proposing low-emission zones, free public transport, additional incentives for electric cars and technical retrofitting of vehicles to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulates. Operators’ association VDV says that before free public transport is considered, there must be an expansion of capacity and efficiency with the help of public funding. It estimates an additional EUR12bn/year in subsidy would be needed as well as significant investment in infrastructure. For instance, Köln (Cologne) carried a record 280.6m passengers in 2017 and peak-hour services are overloaded, while the infrastructure through Neumarkt in the city centre cannot carry any more services at peaks. However, in a development that could have far-reaching consequences, Germany’s Bundesvweraltungsgericht court ruled on 27 February that under certain circumstances cities would have the right to ban diesel vehicles. This decision brings the possibility of vehicles not built to the latest ‘Euro 6’ standards not being allowed in certain areas – the expectation is that any restrictions will be brought in gradually. The court ruling came about due to concerns about air pollution in Düsseldorf...

Sutton tram extension back on?

In late February, London Mayor Sadiq Khan revealed an updated 25-year transport strategy for the UK capital that includes a possible West London orbital rail line and a specific proposal to develop the long-awaited Tramlink extension to Sutton. The document states that the Mayor’s office is to work with the London Boroughs of Merton and Sutton to develop the major extension to Tramlink that was previously announced under Mayor Boris Johnson in 2013. The strategy also references longer-term projects such as a potential DLR extension from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead in a bid to deliver 90% increases in rail capacity in the capital by...

Dublin Metro by 2027?

Dublin could have a ‘Metro Link’ by 2027 under a EUR3bn proposal detailed in ‘Project Ireland 2040’, the Irish government’s National Development Plan 2018-2027. Consultation is expected in early 2018 on an ‘Emerging Preferred Route’ that would see the proposed Metro running from Swords in the north, via Dublin Airport and a tunnel under the centre of Ireland’s capital, to Sandyford in the south. The latter would be reached by utilising the route of the existing Luas Green line. Previous plans for a metro were deferred in 2011, but the idea was reactivated in 2015. Also expected to be complete in 2027 is a EUR2bn expansion of the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) network. Plans include high-frequency electric services to Drogheda (on the Northern line); Celbridge/Hazelhatch (Kildare line); and Maynooth and M3 Parkway (Maynooth/Sligo line). Further expansion of Dublin’s Luas light rail network, including of the Red line in the city centre and to Poolbeg; the Green line to Bray; and a line to Lucan, is listed as being for delivery...

Work to begin on Montréal light metro

CDPQ Infra, promoters of Montréal’s 67km (42-mile) REM automated light metro, announced on 8 February that construction will start in April. Testing is due at the end of 2020 and passenger service on the first section of the system in mid-2021. Infrastructure, accounting for 80% of the cost, will be provided by the Group NouvLR consortium, including SNC-Lavalin, Dragados Canada and AECOM. Rolling stock, systems, operations and maintenance will be in the hands of another consortium, Group des Partenaires pour la Mobilité des Montréalais, formed by Alstom and SNC-Lavalin. Alstom will supply around 200 cars. The CAD6.3bn (EUR4bn) project cost is being met by a mixture of federal/provincial funding (CAD1.28bn/EUR815m each) and private funding from Caisse de depot at placement du Québec. CDPQ Infra is creating a subsidiary to own the Mont Royal tunnel, Viaduc du Sud and rail infrastructure at Gare Centrale, and will offer track sharing with other operators. The decision not to choose Bombardier for the rolling stock is a blow for the firm’s North American rail business (Caisse holds a 30% stake in Bombardier Transportation) that is already facing difficulties over late delivery of Canadian orders to Toronto and Waterloo-Kitchener. The La Pocatière plant will have no work once the current contract for Montréal metro trains is completed. In moves to address this, Vancouver has brought forward delivery of 56 Skytrain vehicles from 2024 to 2019-20, and Québec is buying 20 more Montréal metro...
T69 fleet sold for GB12 000!

T69 fleet sold for GB12 000!

Just GBP12 000 has been raised from the sale of 13 of the former Midland Metro fleet of AnsaldoBreda T69 trams, which are to go for scrap. The vehicles, mothballed in 2014-15 following their replacement by CAF Urbos 3 vehicles, were sold by auction in February (TAUT 962). Tram 7 has been acquired by UKTram as a rolling testbed, while 11 (in Birmingham Corporation blue and cream) has been given to Birmingham...
US budget threatens transit New Starts

US budget threatens transit New Starts

President Trump’s proposed 2019 budget, published on 12 February, aspires to a 17.6% reduction in Department of Transportation funding, including elimination of TIGER grants and a wind down of Capital Investment Grants by not entering into any new contracts for federal funding. It also proposes halving Amtrak subsidies. The programme would have implications for many schemes awaiting approval, including the Durham – Chapel Hill light rail, Minneapolis-St. Paul Southwest and Bottineau light rail lines, Sacramento Streetcar, Orange County Streetcar and New York’s BQX line. In the Seattle area, up to USD1.7bn in funding for light rail projects could be at risk. However, Congress must approve the budget and both sides of both houses have reservations about the proposed budget, particularly the rise in the federal deficit. This would increase by USD984bn in the next financial year from increasing military, veterans and homeland security expenditure – despite cuts to welfare programmes and leaner budgets across selected Federal agencies. In early February, in order to prevent a shutdown of the Federal Government, the President signed a two-year bi-partisan budget deal. The congressional budget does not include the cuts mentioned above. Congress is due to pass a long-term funding package by 23...