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Dubai: High-tech trams in action

Alstom has chosen a diamond-themed design for the Citadis 402 it has supplied to Dubai. (Alstom)

On 11 November His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, officially inaugurated what is claimed to be the world’s most advanced tramway in Dubai, UAE.

Running along the Al Sufouh Road, the fully catenary-free 10.6km (6.6-mile) line has 11 stops. Passenger services on the first tramway in the Gulf region began the next day; it is projected to carry 75 000 passengers/day.

The turnkey project has been delivered by Alstom and uses a fleet of 11 44m Citadis 402 low-floor vehicles, allied to the manufacturer’s APS ground-supply power system. The trams were assembled at Alstom’s La Rochelle facility.

The system includes many technological advances, including air-conditioned stops with automatic platform screen doors, as well as ‘tropicalisation’ of the trams to cope with temperatures of up to 50°C and extreme humidity and sandy conditions. Maintenance and storage of the trams is at a new purpose built facility near the Dubai Police Academy.

Two of the four elevated stops, Jumeriah Lake Towers and Dubai Marina, offer interchange with the Metro Red line; there is currently no such interchange offering for the Jumeriah Monorail.

Phase two sees another 4km (2.5 miles) and eight stations added, taking the route further inland to the Mall of the Emirates. Drawing from its experience of commercial sponsorship on the metro, the RTA is reported to be considering similar opportunities on the tramway.