Are trams a good substitute for 'proper' trains

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by Ken H, 27 May 2019.

  1. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Slower than 321s. They just have a very poor power to weight ratio.

    Why bother when Class 323s are available, which are only 11m shorter but due to longer vehicles have more useful space per vehicle?
     
  2. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    As Bradford city centre development plan has a potential tram link between Forster Square and Interchange is the thinking that Shipley - Forster Square could be light rail, linking to heavy rail services in Shipley.

    This then links through to Interchange and onward services to Low Moor and possibly New Pudsey.
     
  3. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Unless they were planning to run an extra two tracks into Shipley (I don't think the formation's wide enough to take fout tracks all the way).

    I don't think Bradford would want to lose it's direct Skipton/Ilkley trains. I think there's also an element of civic pride in ensuring that the outer reaches of Bradford get trains to Bradford centre as well as to Leeds.
     
  4. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

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    Good post. I also doubt there would be many journeys from places outside the centre on one side of Bradford to places outside the centre on the other side.
     
  5. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    If I was going to do a tram in Bradford I would convert the 72 bus to Leeds.
     
  6. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    There doesn't need to be. If you run hub and spoke at some point trams have to get to the end of the spoke.
     
  7. Dr_Paul

    Dr_Paul Member

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    My only experience with modern trams is on the Croydon Tram, and I've not been on any of the northern systems. The Croydon Tram is for a large part more like a light railway, which is not surprising as a fair bit of it is built on old railway formations. Although there are around twice as many stations on the Wimbledon to West Croydon section than there were on the old Southern line, the brisk acceleration and speeds of up to 50mph make it as quick if not quicker than the old railway service (and of course it is a far more frequent service). However, the contrast with the tortuous crawl from West Croydon around the town centre is enormous, but that is the price one has to pay to have access to the centre and to East Croydon station and beyond. Getting to Croydon from various relatively close places was often quite an inconvenient journey, and the tram has helped greatly in that respect.

    I think that one of the problems in respect of building new tramways in London is the relative lack of abandoned and moribund railway lines compared to other cities, which means that any new ones will have to go along roads for much of their route, with all the ensuing problems. As many readers of this website will know, many tramway proposals have been abandoned precisely because of that.
     
  8. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    maybe we need to look at Brussels. they have dedicated tram tunnels in busy parts called 'pre metro' - the idea is they can be converted to full metro later.
    [​IMG]

    Note the steps down to platform level - the platform can be raised to metro height easily
    This is Sint Gillisvoorplein/Parvis de Saint Gilles
    Movie here -

    These are cut and cover. i think much was built alongside road improvements.
     
  9. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    In my own fantasy world, perhaps that's what Leeds needs.
     
  10. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    dig up the Hedgerow* and bung a tunnel under there. then do Briggate...

    * nick name for headrow from when they made it bus only and put bushes down the middle
     
  11. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Indeed (good nickname).

    As someone who has lived and/or worked in Leeds over twenty years, it's obvious that the problems with the transport system are with the inner transport network - characterised by buses that take donkeys years to get across town, rather than the rail network, which is actually pretty good in many ways. Converting somethng like the Harrogate loop, for example, to tram would do nothing to improve the areas transport problems, and likely screw up a decent train service IMO.
     
  12. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    I don't know you know. Frequent stops, and a low service frequency at the moment (half-hourky to Knareaborough, hourly north of there); if converting it to Tram/Train operation brought the frequency to, say, every 12 minutes along the whole length of the line, that could be a huge improvement.

    I am a huge believer in service frequency as the biggest factor in making a service usable in the real world. For example, I commute from Wigan to Manchester which, most of the day, has six trains an hour. It means I don't need to worry about what time I leave home, or leave the office, because I'll never have too long to wait for a train. If it was two trains per hour like the Harrogate loop, it wouldn't be anything like as practical.

    Now, in an ideal world, I'd like to see fast and frequent heavy rail services. But in many places, for all sorts of reasons, that's not going to happen. Using light rail to provide that service where heavy rail isn't a practical option seems like an ideal compromise.

    Of course all of that, in my view, should be conditional on fully integrated ticketing.
     
  13. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    There is a lot of nothing between Horsforth and Pannal, which are suburbs of Leeds and Harrogate. Weeton/Huby are tiny villages. not sure its the same as the Wigan line.

    (I used to use Weeton station in the 1970's when we went rock climbing at Almscliffe Crag)
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    TBH Metrolink is basically a pre-metro. It's just not a term you get in the UK.
     
  15. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Ah. I envisaged the term encompassing those areas which currently have inadequate links (of which Leeds has many).
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm sure it's not 100% concrete, but I see it more as "a tramway that has a lot of the properties of a proper metro such that it could at some point be converted into one if funding was found".

    FWIW the Germans would call it a "Stadtbahn" and give it the U designation.
     
  17. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    Leeds is bereft of suburban rail. The Harrogate line, Crossgates, Bramley, New Pudsey, Kirkstall Forge is about it.

    There is a massive sector between the Harrogate line and the Garforth Line with nothing except buses. A few bus lanes and a bit of guided busway and thats it. (Get a 7a to Alwoodley if you want a go)
    Glad I dont have to drive through it any more.
    At least its not as bad (traffic wise) as Bradford.
     
  18. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Quite.
     
  19. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Well, Leeds does have some guided busways either end. You could use these to feed into the tunnels.
     
  20. mark-h

    mark-h Member

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    In some European countries Pre-Metro underground stations don't seem to be staffed at all times they are open for passenger service. My understanding of UK regulations is that underground stations (train, metro, tram) need to have a member of staff on site when open to the public.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Correct.

    Pretty much all German U- and S-Bahn stations are unstaffed, not just "pre metros".
     
  22. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    some Brussels pre-metro stations are unstaffed. Some busy ones have dispatchers.
    The section between Meiser and Boileau is definitely unstaffed (Trams 25 and 7). 25 was 90 when I was there in 2001, and I commuted between Bienfatures and Georges Henri
     
  23. DavidGrain

    DavidGrain Member

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    I first heard the term Pre-Metro when it related to trams in Brussels being put into underground tunnels at the time of the Brussels Expo in 1958. The intention being that at some time in the future, it would be converted into a proper railway service with the street running parts of the line either replace with tunnels or private rights of way. I thought the term had died out with no more 'pre-metro' systems being built. Perhaps I am wrong in this assumption.

    Of course the term Metro is a misleading term as it can mean anything you want it to mean. It comes from the Metropolitan Railway Company who built the first underground railway in London. Paris adopted the name for their underground system and it became a universal name for underground systems. But not here in the UK where in Manchester and the West Midlands, it means a tramway, in Tyneside it means a light railway and if you live in West Yorkshire it means a bus service.
     
  24. Grumpy

    Grumpy Member

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    Is there any document that defines the legal difference between a tram and a train in the UK?
    I know little about this, but it seems to me that there are real financial advantages to trams. I understand signalling costs can be slashed, no need for expensive lifts/footbridges to cross platforms, no need for boundary fences, provision of new tram stops at the fraction of a new station cost etc.
    It seems to me that there are some short lines with no freight ,and where the passenger trains do not reach high speeds, that might have merit in being classified as tramways.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    As I think I mentioned above, I think there is a very good case for light-rail-ising quite a number of branch lines to allow for those kinds of feature, plus lower-cost construction of new low-floor stations and the likes. It could also make battery power conversion easier. Mostly or totally segregated branches would work best for this, particularly those with lots of level crossings - Conwy Valley (if it doesn't wash away first), Cornish branches, St Albans (which nearly did happen) and the likes. The concept wouldn't be much different from the Swiss narrow gauge lines but using standard gauge track. If EWR wasn't a thing, the Marston Vale might be another. Unit wise the Stadlers used in Sheffield or those proposed for Wales seem spot on.

    There used to be an actual example of this in Switzerland, one of the local lines out of Geneva used to be operated using tram type vehicles, though it's been extended into France and electrified conventionally now. These were the units; FLIRTs are now used.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SBB_Bem_550

    There's also the Cardiff "core valley lines" example coming soon.
     
    Last edited: 13 Jun 2019
  26. DavidGrain

    DavidGrain Member

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    Historically trams were regulated by the Tramways Act 1886 and light railways by the Light Railways Act 1896. However the distinction became blurred after the passing of the Light Railways Act as many tramways were authorised and built under that act rather than the Tramways Act. Both of these acts can be downloaded from the internet on doing a simple search.

    However you will realise that these acts contain what are now outdated provisions. I have not checked it myself but I understand that a police officer in uniform is permitted to drive a tram but only as far as the nearest livery stable! For this reason modern tramways have their own private acts of parliament as for example the Midland Metro Act 1989. Later tramways are likely to be constructed under the Transport and Works Act 1992.

    So in answer to your question there is probably no current legal definition of the difference between a tramway and a railway.
     
  27. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I think that perhaps some of the regulation around things such as new stations needs to be assessed in relation to tram line costs. While there may be some differences, I don't see that a similar structure performing a similar function (such as a station) should cost so much more on a heavy rail line.
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Shorter and lower platforms with no footbridge or building necessary?
     
  29. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Not necessarily shorter or lower (think Manchester. Why is a building compulsory ? Berney Arms doesn't have one. And why have a footbridge ? Just build it next to the nearest overbridge.
     
  30. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Definitely shorter - two Metrolink trams are far shorter than any mainline platform would now be built to. I suspect Metrolink stations will indeed cost a little more due to the high platforms, a decision I suspect they now regret but are stuck with.
     

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