The Return Of The Tram!

One of the recurring themes for the SkyTrain types is that big cities have subways and little cities have trams.

Well Berlin, the Capital of Germany with a population 3.7 million, is now investing in trams in the former “West” portion of the city as the old Communist “East” section retained the pre-war tramways.

This could be a lesson for Vancouver, in providing user-friendly transit, instead of politically prestigious and user unfriendly subways.

The subway isnai??i??t necessarily ideal for short trips………… Getting on a tram at street level is easier for people with limited mobility………

This is something TransLink and Vision Vancouver planners have failed to realize, transit that is easier to use is user-friendly and user friendliness is the prime reason people use public transport.

Berlin’s Streetcars Go West

Feargus O’Sullivan

While East Berlin’s streetcars soldiered on under communist rule, West Berlin tore up the tracks. Now, the city is correcting its mistake.
While East Berlin’s streetcars soldiered on under communist rule, West Berlin tore up the tracks. Now, the city is correcting its mistake.
This spring, Berlin agreed to correct a 50-year-old mistake.Back in 1967, in a city divided between the powers of the Cold War, West Berlin canceled its last streetcar services, focusing its transit network on trains, subways, and buses. Meanwhile, East Berlinai??i??s streetcars soldiered on, resulting in a tram system that today is largely nonexistent in the cityai??i??s former western sector.But 28 years after reunification, the city has realized its error. Between now and 2026, the German capital is set to greatly expand its streetcar network, with the western region receivingmost (if not all) of the new connections. Starting in 2021, streetcars will roll back out along the western streets, with officials hopeful that they will streamline the local transit, and maybe even reduce crime in some areas.A quick visit to eastern Berlin makes clear why the western sectorai??i??s rejection of streetcars was a bad idea. European streetcars have never developed the bad reputation they often have in the U.S., and what survives of Berlinai??i??s longstanding pre-division network is still exemplary. Usually fully segregated from motor traffic, itai??i??s fast and clean, linking up well with the subway without duplicating its routes. Jump out of the subway at some key stations and youai??i??ll often find a carefully timed streetcar waiting there to whisk passengers away.
Recent modest enlargements to the network have also proved popular. When the streetcar was extendedto Berlinai??i??s Central Station in 2015, the city expected 20,000 passengers per day. The current number of passengers is actually twice that.The new lines will follow this model, extending from the existing network far into the west, to connect the Kreuzberg, NeukAi??lln, SchAi??neberg, Moabit and Charlottenburg districts to the cityai??i??s (formerly eastern) heart. None of these areas are poorly served for transit links, but the streetcars will certainly come in handy. Berlinai??i??s buses can get snarled in traffic at peak hours, while the sheer variety of routes mean that people tend to stick to the two or three lines they know well, or even avoid buses entirely.
The subway isnai??i??t necessarily ideal for short trips, even if Berlinai??i??s system is often considerably closer to ground level than in London or Paris, resulting in trains that are quicker to reach from the street. Getting on a tram at street level is easier for people with limited mobility, while it could also take some weight off an overburdened subway in a fast-growing city.Some drivers wonai??i??t be happy, however. Berlinai??i??s streetcars donai??i??t mingle with traffic, so they will take some space from existing car lanes along key routes. Still, the plan has some potential support from an unexpected source: users of a park that will likely get a new tram line through it.The current plan is to thread rails across Kreuzbergai??i??s GAi??rlitzer Park, a long sliver of parkland that covers the former platforms and sidings of a long-demolished railway station. Using parkland as a transit site might sound controversial, but in recent years the park has become a notorious sitefor drug dealing. Bringing the streetcar through the park might make it more difficult for dealers to use the park as shelter, meaning that so far, locals seem to be giving the plan cautious approval.The new trams should ultimately join up with other pending transit projects, including a new bike highway network. Berlinai??i??s drivers may be looking at less road space in some areas, but the cityai??i??s transit network could end up proving so effective that few will mourn the loss.


2 Responses to “The Return Of The Tram!”
  1. eric chris says:

    “Luxembourg is in the process of reintroducing trams… The tramline, when fully operational, will have 24 stations connected by 16 km of tracks and have a capacity of 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction Trams provided by the Spanish company CAF begun trials on the first phase of the route in July 2017.”

    With all the suppliers of trams worldwide, it’s obvious that trams are the right choice for public transit. Bombardier’s Flexity2 tram holds up well as far as styling and engineering.

    There’s serious talk of moving away from the concept of “rapid transit” and high rise towers clustered around rapid transit hubs. Rapid transit leads to too much property value escalation driving businesses out of business and pricing the middle class out of housing in Vancouver. There’s the growing realization that rapid transit by the “planners” at TransLink is the root cause of the housing and business crises in Vancouver.

    “Condon strongly advocates… — street-level trams on rails — as the most eco-friendly and cost-efficient way to move people within urbanized regions, such as Vancouver… Here in Canada, we need people, like Patrick Condon, who prod us to think more deeply about how best to seize the opportunities that crises provide.”

  2. zielgerade says:

    Interesting that the commentator mentiones the reintroduced Luxembourg tramway whose first section of 3.5 km is operational since 10th December. I have to use it on my commute now and as they already replaced all buslines on that section where the tram operates it unfortunately means one more change of means of transport for me without any gain of commuting time.
    For others, especially commuters from the north of Luxembourg, it does already bring a benefit as the system was not introduced in an isolated way but together with a funicular connecting it with a new railway station (more see here, video at the bottom of the page, in French only: ). So they were also thinking of areas to develop during their planning in Luxembourg, namely to make the north of the country more attractive. There will be further “poles d’échanges” at the tracks when all sections are opened connecting the tram with other means of transport for the benefit of many more users than today for sure.
    What may be considered as rather interesting is that not only Luxembourg itself is working on the improvement of public transports, but in connection with the new station, funicular and tram, the city of Trier in Germany where many commuters come from will reactivate a railway currently used for freight only. Five new stations are planned (more see here, unfortunately in a local German dialect only: ).
    Having neglected public transports for many years, they are doing the catch up now.