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Streetcars return to Motor City

Streetcars return to Motor City

The 5.3km (3.3-mile) QLine streetcar loop along Detroit’s Woodward Avenue (US) opened to passengers on 12 May, ahead of a weekend of celebrations and free travel until 22 May.

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Bombardier and Siemens to merge?

The worldwide financial press has been filled with reports that discussions are underway between Bombardier and Siemens about merging their rail divisions. A larger company than either of the current existing enterprises would provide the financial clout to compete more effectively against China’s CRRC Corporation, which has been winning more orders in the traditional manufacturers’ markets and now has ambitions to enter the European market.

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Re-connecting Cincinnati

Re-connecting Cincinnati

Cincinnati recently welcomed a hard-won renaissance of streetcar service – and hopes are high it will precipitate a downtown revival. Herbert Pence and Hans Retallick relate the full story for TAUT.

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Bergen extension cuts journey times

Bergen extension cuts journey times

Journey times through parts of the Norwegian city of Bergen have been cut by the opening of the 4.8km (three-mile) tramway extension from Lagunen to Birkelandsskiftet on 15 August.

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Wider Impacts of NET Phase Two

Wider Impacts of NET Phase Two

Will Rossiter of Nottingham Trent University analyses some of the economic and employment benefits of the recently-opened Phase Two expansion of the city’s tram network.

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Innovation,  Image and Investment

Innovation, Image and Investment

This year’s UK Light Rail Conference visited Birmingham in late July, for two days of open debate and exhibition on the key issues facing the industry.

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Developments in Prague

Developments in Prague

Nine tramway extensions and a new metro route are planned for the Czech capital. Witold Urbanowicz explains the current intended expansion schemes in more detail. The Czech capital has ambitious plans to intensively develop its public transport infrastructure. Dopravní podnik, Prague’s public transport operator, lists no fewer than nine projects for the construction of new tramlines, which together will total around 27km (17 miles) of new network. Under the plans, some 55 pairs of new tramway stops will also be built. Dopravní podnik’s latest projects are being taken forward with the help of co-financing from the European Union, as part of the 2014-2020 EU Financing Directive. Nine new extensions On the tramway, the longest planned new route is to run from Chodovská – Spořilov – Opatov – Háje, serving the Jižní Město district and providing access to the metro line C. This new route will be approx. 6.5km (four miles) long, with 13 pairs of new tramstops. In the northern part of the city, a 5.5km (3.4-mile) line with 13 pairs of stops is planned to connect Kobylisy and Bohnice, also providing access to metro line C. The next new route in terms of length is the 4.48km (2.78-mile) line (with seven paired stops) planned for the northern part of the city between Nádraží Podbaba and Suchdol to provide access to the agricultural academy; a park-and-ride facility is also planned. Further current projects are smaller in scale: Divoká Šárka – Dědinská (2.3km/1.4 miles, with five pairs of stops); Sídliště Barrandov – Holyně – Slivenec (1.6km/one mile and with three pairs of stops); Sídliště Modřany –  Libuš (1.8km/1.1 miles with... read more
Los Angeles:  Light rail to the beach – and beyond

Los Angeles: Light rail to the beach – and beyond

Although a relative latecomer to the US LRT renaissance, with two significant openings already in 2016, this November could see funding released for a raft of new projects that would see Los Angeles County take its networks to the next level. Vic Simons reports in words and pictures. With a relatively loe population density considering its spread over an approximate 12.3km2 area, Los Angeles County is the most populous in the United States by some margin. Including more than 80 towns and cities as well as the vast city of Los Angeles itself, major population centres close to the city include Long Beach, Pasadena, Torrance and Santa Monica all require efficient public transport connections in a region plagued by congestion and long cross-county commute times. The city of Los Angeles has a population approaching four million residents. There are over ten million in the wider county and the Greater Los Angeles ‘five-county’ area includes San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and Ventura with a regional population closer to 19 million. Road building had long been seen as the solution to movement, forcing people to drive, but with major arteries reaching gridlock proportions – and the associated poor air quality – the past three decades have seen concerted efforts to move towards a regional rail-based network focused around key employment centres and attractions. County transportation comes under the auspices of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – branded since 1993 as Metro. Metro is not only the operator of rail and bus services, but also provides the funding and fulfills the planning and administrative function for commuter and highway projects across... read more
California Dreaming

California Dreaming

Vic Simons visited sunny Sacramento for a behind-the-scenes look at Siemens’ North American rolling stock manufacturing headquarters. Siemens’ involvement in North American light rail development began in the late 1970s with the receipt of orders from the Canadian cities of Calgary and Edmonton, both in Alberta, and followed shortly afterwards by an order from San Diego. The firm provided propulsion systems for the vehicles that were built by Duewag – which Siemens acquired in 1999 – a variant of the U2 high-floor articulated cars that had been in operation in Frankfurt-Am-Main since the late 1960s. Though the vehicles looked similar to their German counterparts, there were modifications to the power collection equipment and further adaptations to cope with the harsh Canadian winters. The U2 proved very successful in North America; so successful in fact that Siemens opened its first permanent factory in the US in 1983 in mid-town Sacramento. The popularity of the various evolutions of its light rail product continued with orders from Denver, San Diego and Salt Lake City leading to the establishment of a much larger facility in the suburbs of the Californian capital in 1992. These orders were largely for the SD100 (dc motors) and SD160 (ac motors) variants. Continuous growth of the North American business enabled the localisation of bodyshell and bogie fabrication. Today, with traction motors and gearboxes manufactured by the firm at a site in Cleveland, Ohio, and electrical equipment at another site in Atlanta, Georgia, a typical Siemens LRV sourced in the USA exceeds the requirements of the 1990 Buy America legislation. There are now more than 1500 in service across... read more

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