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Fairy Godmother
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576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
UK in line for new tram-trains

By Jonathan RusselL, Sunday Telegraph


Network Rail is drawing up plans with the Department for Transport and a major rail operating company to introduce 'tram-trains' to Britain.

The plan will involve Network Rail financing the multi-million pound acquisition of a fleet of innovative lightweight trains that operate seamlessly between traditional train lines and tram networks.

Although a route has not been decided for the trial, Network Rail is understood to be in talks with Northern Rail, which operates across Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, about the scheme.
A spokesman for Network Rail said: "This is an exciting, innovative project that looks to offer new journey opportunities for passengers and reduce the whole life cost of the railway."

The project will involve Network Rail getting a waiver from the DfT on its network licence, which currently precludes the organisation from entering financing deals on rolling stock other than maintenance vehicles. However, the Government is thought to be sympathetic to the idea of tram-trains.

The scheme is being presented as a way of streamlining the transport network around major cities - the same vehicle can take passengers across long distances between cities, but then enter urban areas and drop them off nearer their destination, just as a bus or tram would.

The lightweight vehicles, which are already used in cities such as Kassel in Germany, are designed to reduce energy consumption and therefore have a lower carbon footprint while also creating less wear and tear on the railway infrastructure.

As they can brake and accelerate far more quickly than existing trains, time wasted at stops is also significantly reduced.

The parties involved are understood to be in the process of identifying a trial route for the new scheme. Although both Manchester and Newcastle have tram networks, the consortium has not ruled out building new tramlines in an area that does not have an existing network.
As much as I think somewhere like Leeds would be the biggest beneficiary of a UK Tram-Train system, the only documented plans tat could justify Network Rail's interest in aqquiring them would be for the Marple branch of Metrolink as a full feasibility study has been carried out by GMPTE.

It also seems pointless to have tram-trains up and running for a trial if there is no tram infrastructure already in place in the trial area. It would need a standard system for the trial to work properly, rather than build it from scratch. It might not work so both heavy rail and tram systems need to be ready before a trial went ahead and vehichles were purchased. For this reason I am 99% sure the Tram-Train trial will be in Greater Manchester, infact I have it on good authority that it will be coming here within the next 3 years.

I suspect this *could* most likely be part of a number of existing Northern Rail operations, Newcastle Metro being one of them, and of course Manchester's Metrolink. There's also every possilibity that it could also apply to Merseyside or West Yorkshire, Leeds - with all the problems of overcrowding and the huge surge in rail usage there coupled with the cancelled Leeds Super-Tram plans. Then there's also the plans for the Tees Valley Metro which will involve tram-trains on a line currently operated by Northern Rail.

Interesting stuff eh?! No doubt we'll be getting more information very soon as to who the lucky cities will be the first to have a tram-train network!

Let's just hope the London-centric DfT don't go scuppering our hopes of tram-trains in Britain!
 

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BAND
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12,217 Posts
I don't quite get what the point is? Surely it would be easier to have a more cohesive ticketing system. Eg, buy a ticket from London to your front door, just having to switch from the train onto the bus/tram. (Maybe that's a bit of an extreme example, but you get the idea).
 

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Metrolink: Stockport
The objective of this scheme is to provide a public transport link with LRT capacity linking the regional centre with Stockport Town Centre. The scheme comprises 3.8 km of new double track LRT alignment via East Didsbury, across the M60 motorway and the River Mersey, and subsequently joining Chestergate as it makes its way to the terminus point adjacent to Stockport bus station. Feasibility work is also being carried out into the potential conversion of the Manchester to Marple rail line to Metrolink style operation. This scheme offers the additional benefit of releasing capacity at Piccadilly to enable an enhanced level of rail service to operate to the south of the conurbation.
Is from http://www.gmfuturetransport.co.uk/schemes_az.php#ko

The Marple part could well be the first tram / trains in the country, with trams sharing the same track as heavy trains.
 

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BAND
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12,217 Posts
I think I get what they're meant to do now, but surely these are just gonna benifit places like Manchester which already have good public transport facilities (trams and an extensive inner city rail network).
 

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Urban Environmentalist
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1,661 Posts
This is interesting as Project Orpheus as proposed by the Tyne and Wear Metro operator proposed the use of such vehicles to link the western regions of the city to the existing metro network.

For anyone who is not aware the the Metro already track-shares with heavy rail services between Sunderland and Pelaw in Gateshead, so such a system extending to street running too would be a triumph for intergration and technology!
 

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Put it in your mouth
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The parties involved are understood to be in the process of identifying a trial route for the new scheme. Although both Manchester and Newcastle have tram networks, the consortium has not ruled out building new tramlines in an area that does not have an existing network.

Newcastle has a tram network? Where?!
 

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Fairy Godmother
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576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I thought that too.... Tyne and Wear Metro is a Metro/Heavy Rail Undergound system! It's not even classed as Light-rail technically. I very much doubt the proposal considers Newcastle unfortunatley.
 

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Fairy Godmother
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576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tram Train - Coming to LEEDS!

Study of tram-train options for
Harrogate Line (and possible fixed
link to Leeds Bradford Airport and
cross-city linkage)
Implementation in medium/long
term

http://www.leedsinitiative.org/initiativeDocuments/2006712_91144962.pdf

Initial feasibility study now complete into the potential for
Harrogate Line conversion to tram-train (inc LBIA link). Next
stage is to engage further with Northern Rail and DfT Rail to
identify terms of reference for next tranche of activity. Potential
exists for a trial of tram-train technology in the short term.
Study into improved connectivity
between Leeds and Bradford
Tram-Train Update

2.9. The Leeds City Region Transport Vision includes Tram-Train as a core part of the rail upgrade. A brief is currently in development to take the work forward. Metro is also working closely with Network Rail, who have expressed an interest in developing the concept and are examining systems in operation elsewhere in Europe. City of York Council and Leeds-Bradford International Airport have also expressed an interest in partially funding the next stage tram-train feasibility study.

2.10. The next stage will consider the feasibility of introducing this type of technology in the Leeds City region and will concentrate on developing a Major Scheme Business Case for the proposals. This will cover the following issues:
• Forecast scheme benefits;
• Engineering feasibility;
• Operational feasibility;
• Identification of alignments into Leeds and York city centres; and
• Project procurement.

2.11. It is anticipated that this work will commence in June 2007.
There we have it, June 2007.
Tram-Train looks like a possibility for Leeds! Fabulous!
 

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Don't read too much into developing a concrete business case, that is miles away from someone starting to dig holes to put tracks down in.

It has taken over 30years so far from the business case for a tram line from Manchester city centre to the airport - and we will not see anything on the ground for another 2 years at least yet.
 
G

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I thought that too.... Tyne and Wear Metro is a Metro/Heavy Rail Undergound system! It's not even classed as Light-rail technically. I very much doubt the proposal considers Newcastle unfortunatley.
I'm not sure of the exact techinical details but the Tyne & Wear Metro has similarities to a light rail system. Apparantley the signalling system used is adopted from a tram system where by metro's automatically set out their own route (junction switches) as they travel.

Nexus seems quite keen on replacing the existing fleet with trams at some point. Project Orpheus projected the need to extend the metro network with street running branches (St James Park-Newcastle West End for example).

Personally I think the North East region would be a good starting point for a RER type light rail network. With Teeside being quite keen on having their own LRT it would seem quite appropriate to link the two together to cover the whole region.

Greater Manchester of course already has a good tram network so perhaps expansion could also come from absorbing the rest of the surburban heavy rail lines.

West Yorks and Cardiff Valley Lines is the other obvious example but also LRT diesel vehicles for rural routes would be good aswell I think. Could help the business case to re-open mothballed lines such as the Penrith-Keswick-Workington line or existing lines such as those branches in the West Country.
 

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I don't quite get what the point is? Surely it would be easier to have a more cohesive ticketing system. Eg, buy a ticket from London to your front door, just having to switch from the train onto the bus/tram. (Maybe that's a bit of an extreme example, but you get the idea).
But surely this isn't totally impossible. To turn up at Manchester Piccadilly and be able to buy a rail+bus ticket valid to your local bus stop in Southampton, for example, is surely as feasible as the current rail+travelcard tickets to London.
 

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I reckon South Yorkshire would benefit from the Tram-Train developments, though Sheffield has the tram system this is purely seperate from the existing rail lines (Yes there are connections at Sheffield Station and Meadowhall). Many areas are interested in linking in with this network but SYPTE the local transport executive cannot see the worth of the extensions especially into Rotherham etc.

Also South Yorkshire has a rail system that is underused on many corridors with online one long distance line running through the area (the ECML through Sheffield and Doncaster. MML runs one slow train an hour throught to Leeds but its main terminus is Sheffield).

Many lines would be suitable for tram traims as used in Germany, though the area that immediately comes to mind is the area around Barnsley, lots of former rail lines in an area which is currently services by a bus company that only runs down their services. Tram Train could come in and runa a local tram services (on existing lines and restored/ new ones) acting as a feeder systems into a more longer distance style 'local' train services.
 

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BAND
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I suppose, tram-trains could work instead of a tram extention to Rotherham & Barnsley. But the trams run on standard guage tracks (as do Manchesters I think) and the extentions were mainly on already existing rail tracks, so what would be the difference.
 

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Fairy Godmother
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576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I doubt it will be in the Sheffield area unfortunatley. Other than speculation and ideas on SCC no official studies for a tram-train service have been carried out in South Yorkshire as far as I know, other areas are more ahead of the game it seems. The contenders are no doubt;

1. Leeds/West Yorkshire - Leeds Airport/Harogate/Bradford
2. Manchester - Marple
3. Newcastle/Tyne and Wear?
4. Tees Valley Metro
 

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The Real Robin Hood
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549 Posts
I think its looking like Tees Valley will definatley get this System and possibly Newcastle aswell to extend the Metro towards the West End of the City. Instead of the Maglev project.
 

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Forgot to say, according to this months Tramways and Urban Transit, Manchester and Tyne and Wyre are to be the first places to get tram / trains.

Order likely to go in during November.
 

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Rock Lord
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12,954 Posts
Another area this could work is Stoke, there are loads of lines that have shut down (total madness). some have been built over but there are still alot that are there, including an abandoned line just next to Port Vales football ground, there is even a line from stoke which is still there which goes quite close to alton towers.

There is so much potential. Sadly for it to happen, Stoke needs a council with the imagination of Manchester's and I can't see that happening any time soon.
 
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