A Tram Ride In Karlsruhe Germany

And you thought 90 second headway's were close on SkyTrain.

So, let’s ride a tram in Karlsruhe.


Why didn’t TransLink defend light rail in Surrey?

Why was the CEO telling porkies about SkyTrain instead of setting the record straight on light rail?




5 Responses to “A Tram Ride In Karlsruhe Germany”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Wundebar! The shear simplicity of their system is fantastic! I do miss that place. I found a nice model railway store and snack bar near Europlatz. Looking at the video proves to me, all you need is a little experience and the car drivers don’t crash into the LRV’s. I particularly was surprised how fast the vehicles move in the mixed traffic section (4:38 to about 6:00 on the video) of old Karlsruhe. A little slow but steady. You also notice that there isn’t a stop every 2 blocks and everything moves quite efficiently.

  2. Causa Causans says:

    Ja! Das ist mein System.

    We now win many awards!

    Does your SkyTrain win rewards?

  3. Daniel says:

    To me looks like they are held by traffic ahead.They are also likely for different destinations and will branch out once outside this street. I have traveled all over Europe and have used light rail wherever it was running, so I say this from my experience. On most routes, the trains will run every 4 or 5 minutes in the rush hour.

    Zwei replies: Depending on what route. As most tram systems share portions of routes in the inner cities, there is a tram every 30 to 90 seconds in peak hours and capacity drops further along the routes as demand drops.

  4. Daniel says:

    @Zwei, looking closely at the tracks makes me wonder what happens if you get over 4 inches of snow? Do the tracks need to be cleaned?

    Zwei replies: 4 inches of snow would not bother a modern tram at all. Cities with LRT also have plows and snow brooms to clear the track of larger snowfalls. This is a big, big problem for SkyTrain with the LIM (which must be 1 CM above the reaction rail and the inductive loops for the signalling system inside the tracks. SkyTrain can’t be plowed. In fact, some years ago, by driving SkyTrain into a snowbank, it derailed.

  5. Haveacow says:

    All the local trams, and regional Tram-Trains (what the place is famous for), that serve central Karlsruhe do operate on a tightly packed, Trunk-Branch system of routes however, what a system of routes. Some of those Tram-Train or S-Bahn routes go as far as two hundred km’s, outside of the city,the S-4 Line for example. They are clogged in Zwei’s picture because they offer a tremendous number of lines considering the size of the city. They are building a “T” shaped tunnel system for the local trams and Tram-trains because of the “Yellow Wall” of trams as the locals call it, blocking their streets. But it really takes a massive amount of them before the Germans build a below grade rapid transit right of way, especially in a small city like Karlsruhe. The frequencies and numbers of local trams and area Tram-Trains in central Karlsruhe, easily exceed anything you see on the Vancouver Skytrain Network.

    They operate like trams in the city centre of Karlsruhe then, go into the suburbs as real LRT, then enter the national railway network and travel like a commuter rail system, leave that network, go back on to a private surface LRT system, then through the main street of a satellite town like Heilbronn, mixing with their local trams, then back on to the national rail network. I went all the way to Ohringen’s Hauptbahnhof (central railway station) over a series of LRT rights of way long stretches of the national rail network, and local median street rights of way, its amazing!

    The Germans seem to operate 4 levels of transport service.

    1. The first level is that of the local bus or tram lines. Most, although not all, of the of their local tram rights of way, are traffic free like our LRT systems. Their local stops are also much further apart. Some subway/Metro systems operate at this level as well.

    2.Then the S-Bahn’s that operate like a region or city wide rail system. Sometimes the operating technology is a Metro like vehicle where others are usually some form of commuter rail or main line railway vehicle. In Karlsruhe however, they use LRV’s this is the Tram-Train System!

    3. Then the Regional Trains, like our VIA Rail lines in Ontario and Quebec offer semi-fast, city to city or city to distant town connections on mostly all stop lines. Some do operate expresses between busy area city-city or city-town pairings at this level.

    4. Then you get the long distance (at least by European standards anyway) trains that operate at VIA speeds as well as the high speed trains, between far flung major cities. Frankfurt to Hamburg or Berlin to Manheim for example.

    What’s neat is that you can take a S-Bahn system out the Rhine-Neckar Region (the Heidleberg and Manhiem Area) and take a S-Bahn connection directly to Karlsruhe. No Regional or Long Distance trains needed, although they are available and mostly, all travel on the same line. This becomes the only S-Bahn line going into Karlsruhe, that doesn’t use a Tram-Train but a conventional commuter rail vehicle.

    I accidentally got off at Karlsruhe-Durlach station which is a major suburban railway station in north-central Karlsruhe, thinking it was the main downtown station. I discovered much to my surprise and relief, there were many local tram and other S-Bahn Tram-Train lines heading to the main Karlsruhe railway station from there, it took less than 15 minutes on the S-4, and stopped at no fewer than 7-8 stops, which is impressive considering the number of stops.

    Keep in mind guys and gals, Karlsruhe and its great Tram-Train system which stretches over a network of Tram-Train/LRT lines covering of over 260km, 12 lines, 190+ stops and a transit network that moves 172 Million passengers a year. The city has only 350,000 people and a area population of about 1,400,000!

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