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Stadtbahn on main-line railway






A tram-train is a light-rail public transport system where trams are designed to run both on the tracks of an urban tramway network and on the existing railways for greater flexibility and convenience. The Karlsruhe model pioneered this concept in Germanymarker, and it has since been adopted on the RijnGouweLijn in the Netherlandsmarker and in Kasselmarker and Saarbrückenmarker in Germanymarker.

In March 2008 the UK Department for Transport released details of a plan to trial diesel tram-trains on the Penistone Line for two years starting in 2010. This idea was withdrawn as it was deemed non-economically viable for a trial and instead electric tram-trains will be trialled between Rotherhammarker and Sheffieldmarker.

On June 5, 2008 the Government of South Australiamarker announced plans for train-tram operation on the Grange line.

Most tram-trains are standard gauge, which facilitates sharing track with standard gauge mainline trains. An exception is in Nordhausenmarker, where both the trams and the trains are metre gauge.

Its advantage over separate tram and train systems is that passengers travelling from outside a city need not change from train to tram, though some passengers are displeased by the replacement of regular trains with tram-trains, which usually lack amenities such as on-board toilets.

Technology

Tram-trains have dual equipment to suit the respective needs of tram and train, such as support for multiple voltages and safety equipment such as train stops.

The idea is not new: in the early 20th century, interurban streetcar lines often operated on the same tracks as steam trains, until crash standards made old-style track sharing impossible. The difference between modern tram-trains and the older interurbans and radial railways is that the tram-trains are upgraded to meet mainline railway standards, rather than ignoring them (an exception is the USA's River Linemarker, for reasons explained below). The Karlsruhe and Saarbrückenmarker systems use an automatic train protection signalling system called ‘PZB’, or ‘Indusi’, so that if the driver passes a signal at stop the emergency brakes are applied. Regarding deadman's pedals and deadman's handles, a Sifa must also be operational on railtracks as well.

The River LINEmarker light rail line in New Jerseymarker runs along freight tracks with time separation: passenger trains run by day, and freight by night. This, like the O-Train in Ottawa, Canadamarker, and the Newark City Subway extension in Bellevillemarker and Bloomfield, New Jerseymarker (with similar FRA-imposed time-share waivers), does not qualify it as a tram-train per se, whose chief characteristic is shared-use of mainline tracks at all times.

Existing systems



Proposed systems

In the UK

The Penistone line from Huddersfieldmarker to Sheffieldmarker (currently a diesel heavy rail service operated hourly) was to be converted for use by vehicles described as tram-trains. However, in September 2009 it was decided that this would be economically unviable for a trial and instead electric tram-trains would be trialled between Rotherhammarker and Sheffieldmarker.

A tram-train trial in the Manchester area was ruled out as the Department for Transport wanted to trial low-floor tram-trains, and Manchester Metrolink floors are at train height. Tram-train trials in Leeds and York were not seen as options as there is no existing tram system in either Leeds or York.

Other suggested schemes for England include:

In the Americas



In Mainland Europe



In the Indian Ocean



In Australia



Manufacturers

Models of tram designed for tram-train operation include:



References

  1. Adelaidemetro.com.au
  2. gmIta.Gov.uk


See also



External links




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