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Trams to return to Kiel

Trams to return to Kiel

Kiel converted its last 1100mm-gauge tramline to bus operation in May 1985. However, since the turn of the century there have been a number of plans to bring light rail back to the north German port city (population 247 550), including the concept of a ‘Karlsruhe Model’ with LRVs running on local rail lines and onto the city streets. This was rejected by local politicians in 2015, after which studies switched to bringing back trams to city lines. Option studies, including both light rail and Bus Rapid Transit, have been carried out since 2020 and showed that trams performed significantly better than BRT with lower operating costs (EUR6m/year) and better operational stability and reliability. An additional consideration is that according to the Municipal Transport Financing Act only rail-bound projects are eligible for federal funding. This could cover up to 90% of project costs for a tramway whereas there are currently no national grants available for BRT. A 35.8km four-line network is planned, requiring a fleet of 46 double-ended 45-54m low-floor trams; the first line could open in 2034 (15.7km FH Kiel – Hbf – Suchsdorf), marking the first reintroduction of trams in a major German city for over 30 years. Four committees of the city council (Building, Economy, Finance and Interior and Environment) have now jointly recommended that final tramway studies should go ahead with formal approval expected by the council on 17 November. Against a background of the broad coalition in support of the project, this should be a formality. > A detailed examination of the tramway studies for Kiel appeared in TAUT 1004 (August 2021)...
Budapest confirms order for 20 more Urbos trams

Budapest confirms order for 20 more Urbos trams

Budapest transport operator Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (BKK) has confirmed an option for further 20 CAF Urbos trams. To be delivered from September 2024, the additional low-floor vehicles are part of a contract agreed in 2014 for a base order of 37 trams, with options for a further 51. Announcement that BKK  would fund the latest option, at a cost of EUR40m came in late October. However, although the per-vehicle cost remains at 2014 prices (plus inflation), economic circumstances have reportedly mitigated against exercising further options; the city has judged that the cost is anything up to 70% below today’s market price. BKK has said it is investigating the possibility of procuring the remaining 31 trams from the original order, but this would depend on contributions from the European Union Cohesion fund. Budapest’s Urbos stock comes in 34m (2200 series, with capacity for 200 passengers), and 55.9m (2100 series, capacity 345) variants, respectively with five and nine sections. The first of these air-conditioned, fully low-floor cars entered service from 2015, with the longer version reasserting the Hungarian capital’s position as running Europe’s longest trams. Budapest’s fleet also includes 40 Siemens Combino Supra NF12B, which at 54m were the world’s longest trams when they entered service in 2006-07. This latest CAF order is for the 34m variant. The nine-section Urbos trams run on line 1, which grew in 2019 to 18.2km (11.4 miles), making it the system’s longest and adding a southern Danube crossing. Budapest has one of the world’s largest tramways, covering around 160km (100...
Final commissioning begins in Huangshi

Final commissioning begins in Huangshi

Trial service has begun on the modern tramway in the Chinese city of Huangshi. Part of its final commissioning phase, a full opening is planned before the end of the year. Test running on a 3.8km (2.4-mile) section, covering four stops, took place in December 2021. The full 26.8km (16.7-mile) standard-gauge route starts from the intersection of Shenjiaying Avenue in the city’s old town and heads south to the Olympic Sports Center Station in Daye Lake. The alignment also features a 1.5km (0.9-mile) double-track tunnel through Huangjing Mountain. Of the 30 stops, one is underground and two are elevated; a depot, workshop and control centre have been constructed to house the system’s CRRC 100% low-floor trams. Each 36.6m four-section car can accommodate 340 passengers, 68 seated. A loan of CNY2.76bn (EUR386m) was agreed with China’s New Development Bank in December 2019 towards the total CNY4.58bn (EUR640m) project cost. Initial work began in September 2020, with an official ground-breaking ceremony on 28 October 2020. The lead contractor is China Construction Shenzhen Decoration Co. Further phases of the project could see extensions to Huangshi’s port district, serving the Yangtze River, and north to Ezhou Airport. Huangshi is a prefecture-status city in Hubei Province which has encountered the same challenges faced by many Chinese cities which are undergoing rapid urbanisation. The old town has been saturated with dense development, impairing growth and economic development. A new economic and technological development zone has developed rapidly since 1992, however the only public transport link to date has been one dedicated bus line which has reached...
Samsun to lengthen Sirio trams to bring higher capacity

Samsun to lengthen Sirio trams to bring higher capacity

The municipality in Samsun, capital of the province of the same name on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, is planning to add extra sections to its Sirio trams as part of an upgrade programme. Rather than buying additional vehicles, the decision to extend the trams to 42m will increase their passenger capacity by a claimed 40% (from 280 to 400 passengers per tram). Once completed, the tramway should be able to cope with 120 000 passengers/day, according to the city’s mayor, Mustafa Demir. Opened in stages between 2010 and 2019, the 36.5km (23-mile) tramway in this city of more than 700 000 people now carries around 92 000 passengers/day. Currently connecting Ondokuz Mayıs University with Samsun’s stadium, the standard gauge line has 43 stops; extension to the city’s airport is possible. The system’s initial 16 Sirio trams were supplied by AnsaldoBreda (now Hitachi Rail). Additions have come from Turkish manufacturer Durmazlar and China’s CNR Tangshan. Mr Demir added: “Within the scope of our work, we have seen that the most accurate result is to add additional sections to the trams instead of buying additional trams… with this operation we will modernise the high-cost equipment such as drive units and gearboxes of all 16 trams, which we purchased in the first...
Germany to introduce EUR49 monthly ticket

Germany to introduce EUR49 monthly ticket

Germany’s Federal Government and Länder (states) announced agreement on 2 November to share the EUR3bn annual cost of a EUR49 monthly public transport ticket from 1 January 2023. The confirmation follows the success of the EUR9 monthly ticket in June, July and August. The agreement is initially for two years, with provision for a price increase after one year. As before, the national ticket will give unlimited travel on trams, buses and regional trains, although this time it will be offered in a digital format. In addition to supporting the scheme’s direct financing, the federal government is to invest EUR1bn a year towards expanding local public transport capacity. The Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen (VDV) association of transport operators welcomed the plan, saying it offers a greater potential for people to change their travel habits long-term, but adding that operators favoured delaying its introduction until March. VDV Managing Director Oliver Wolff said the offer was “very good” not least because it simplifies ticketing and meets “today’s flat-rate mentality”. However, he added that it would only benefit people living in rural areas if there was a sufficiently attractive transport offering to convince people to leave their cars at home. Federal Minister for Transport & Digital, Dr Volker Wissing, said: “With today’s decision to introduce an attractive, digital and simple ticket, the way is clear for Germany’s biggest public transport tariff reform. Never before has it been so easy for people in our country to use buses and trains. We are rethinking mobility and protecting the climate through attractive offers”. The EUR49 ticket comes as part of a package of measures aimed at...
Washington Dulles extension to open in November

Washington Dulles extension to open in November

Metrorail will reach Dulles Airport and Loudoun from 15 November with the opening of the latest Silver line extension, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (US) has announced. The new 18.5km (11.5-mile) route completes the final phase of the full 37km (23-mile) expansion that began construction in 2009, opening the first segment five years later. It adds to a six-line system that opened in 1976 and already totals 188km (117 miles) with 91 stops; Washington’s Metro is the second-busiest in the US, with more than 600 000 passengers a day. Announcement of the Silver line opening date followed 18 weeks of testing, training and safety certification by Metro. It took over the extension from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) after the project achieved its Operational Readiness Date on 23 June. “We appreciate our partners at MWAA, FTA, WMSC [Washington Metrorail Safety Commission], Fairfax and Loudoun Counties who have worked collaboratively with us for several years to reach this moment,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. Mr Clarke joined the agency in July 2022. Once the extension opens, the Silver line will run from Largo Town Center in the east to Ashburn in the north-west, adding a further six stops beyond the current terminus at Wiehle-Reston East. As part of the project, a maintenance and service yard has been created on 36 ha. of Washington Dulles International Airport property. The facility is the largest Metro facility, employing around 170...