Trams – The Way Of The Future

As the debate over trams/LRT and or proprietary light metro intensifies, let us look and modern trams in operation around the world.

Today, there is over 600 tram/light rail systems in operation or nearing completion, around the world.

Only seven of the proprietary ART Movia light-metros have been built in the past 40 years and there is good reason for this. With tram/LRT one can operate the in almost all locales, from small suburban lines to main transit arteries in major conurbations where peak hour customer flows exceed 20,000 pphpd.

With light metro, only somewhat short, yet very expensive  trunk lines can be built, forcing many transit users to transfer from bus to mini-metro, which in turn deters ridership. This is but one, of the many reasons light metro has become somewhat obsolete in the 21st century.

This inherent flexibility of operation means that the modern tram can serve transit routes with low and high ridership; track share with mainline railways; and penetrate economically into dense city centres without beggaring the taxpayer.

Beggaring the taxpayer is a topic the SkyTrain lobby refuses to deal with.

Nottingham's (UK) new tram system services the city centre with the minimum of cost.


Another view of Nottingham's tram, using city streets to affordably reach customers.


Innsbruck's tram services mountain customers, giving direct access to the city centre.


A Basel tram operating safely, on-street in the city.


A modern tram operating in Nice, France. Note the simple reserved or dedicated R-o-W.

A modern tram in historic Milan Italy.


2 Responses to “Trams – The Way Of The Future”
  1. Haveacow says:

    That was one of the best pieces you have ever done. Simple and quite nearly perfect. Two ideas though, first, add 2 or 3 more pictures from North America (your choice) to provide a comparable operating environment.

    Second, show multiple examples of the stock, off the shelf, LRV models available to be purchased and specialy dedigned for the North American transit market (again with more pictures). Models like:

    1. The 3,5 and 7 section Bombardier Flexity Family of LRV’s
    2. The various configurations of the Alstom Citadis Spirit LRV
    3. The various models of the Siemens S70/S200 LRV
    4. The Standardized LA LRV by Hitachi Italy (formerly Breda)
    5. The Urbos Family of LRV’s by CAF
    6. The City Runner by Stadler of Switzerland.

    All these have had sales in the North American market recently and others like Scoda, Kinniki-Sharyo and CRRC have either North American compatible prototype LRV’s ready or existing older North American compatible designs that could easily upgraded and modernized.

  2. Kevflavik says:

    The trams would be great for a new line some where in Vancouver. There is nothing wrong with the Sky train. It makes a lot of sense to extend the expo and millenium for convenience of passengers. It will be possible to get on downtown and ride all the way to Langley with no transfer. In the one hour travel time you could have a nap, read a book or catch up on your podcasts. The same thing with a ride from UBC to Coquitlam with a quick transfer on broadway to go to Langley. After extending the skytrain to langley and UBC, there needs to be no more skytrain.

    A tram would be great on Hastings from waterfront station to SFU. Also to Whiterock from Surrey. From Langley to Hope. Kingsway could have a tram too to supplement the expo line. Another tram on Arbutus to Richmond, there is already a rail bridge to supplement the canada line.

    Translink is looking at ways to increase capacity of expo line. A tram down Kingsway would increase capacity.

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