Invercargill tram back on the rails

May 17th, 2013

Did you know . . . continuing the tram theme from last week . . . two Invercargill trams are preserved at Ferrymead in Christchurch.

They are Tram 5, which entered service in 1912, and Tram 15, dating from 1921. The 10 original trams travelled an average of one million miles each.

After the war, new buses arrived and the end for the trams was approaching. Invercargill’s last trams ran on September 10, 1952, with New Zealand’s last trams, the Wellington ones, ending their service on May 2, 1964.

Regrettably, none of the Invercargill trams were preserved as a museum piece, but Number 15 is now ready to hit the rails, thanks to the dedicated team of restorers at the Tramway Historical Society at Ferrymead.

Southland’s longest sentence could be the legal description of Invercargill’s boundaries, which appeared in the Gazette on October 8, 1981.
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Alstom finalizes Ottawa 
LRT contract

February 17th, 2013

Alstom Transport has finalized a contract to provide 34 light rail vehicles and 30 years of maintenance services to the Rideau Transit Group (RTG) consortium that was selected to design, build, finance, and maintain the first line of the C$2.1 billion Ottawa Light Rapid Transit (OLRT) system, the Confederation Line.

Alstom’s portion of the contract is worth approximately US$534 million.

“The new Citadis Spirit that Alstom is launching in the North American market will have many features that accommodate Ottawa’s particular needs,” Alstom said. “Designed in a high capacity version, it will be able to operate in extreme winter conditions. It will also benefit from a top speed of 65 mph, reducing travel time between suburban areas and the City Center. Like all Alstom trams, it will have full low-floor accessibility and onboard bicycle storage.” Alstom will build the vehicles in the U.S. at its Hornell, N.Y., plant and conduct final assembly in Ottawa.

Ottawa’s 7.75-mile OLRT system will provide service to the city’s downtown area via 13 stations and a 1.5-mile tunnel. Construction will start in the next few months and the system is expected to enter full service in the spring of 2018.
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Tram line to Steveston should be a no-brainer

January 2nd, 2013

A tramway line to Steveston should be a no-brainer as automated LRT (SkyTrain, Canada Line) is too expensive with its elevated tracks or tunnels and we badly need better transit outside of Vancouver.

Unfortunately–with the exception of Surrey Mayor Diane Watts, who has actually seen and used Portland MAX LRTs and the streetcar—most of our politicians and the public at large are clueless when it comes to tramways (as the Europeans call them, regardless of their size) that have become so popular, first in Europe then in other continents, since the town of Strasbourg in France opened a big and beautiful tramway in 1995.

Tramways or LRT—whatever you prefer calling them—have the same size and passengers load as the vehicles used by SkyTrain and the Canada Line.

The Portland Max and the the Seattle Central Link LRT each have cars with three articulated sections that are run most of the time as a twin set (two independent cars hitched together). These sets are 58 metres long and can carry 344 passengers in Portland and 400 passengers in Seattle.

By comparison the Canada Line uses pairs of permanently joined cars that are 41 metres long and can carry 334 passengers.

The SkyTrain Mark II cars (the ones with a rounded nose), that are a permanently joined together pair, are 33.4-metres long and carry up to 290 passengers. SkyTrain now runs Mark II cars as a double pair, with a possible load of 580 passengers.

While the Seattle tram doesn’t needs that capacity yet, it could run with a double set (four cars, 800 passengers).

European Alstom tramways most popular model, the Citadis 402, with seven articulated sections, is 44 metres long and carry 300 passengers. It is seldom twinned but could. Its smaller brother, the 302 (33 metres long) is often twinned in some towns—permanently on Paris tram line T2—carrying 440 passengers.

Although historical trams have their place, we have too mediocre a transit system in Metro Vancouver to waste money on a small tram, unless there a lot of them and they are working hard and efficiently, like the small Arakawa trams in Tokyo that cater mostly to residents and shrug off their historical attraction.

Tourists that have never seen a huge modern tram are just as fascinated—if not more—by them as they would by a historical one. As a bonus the modern ones are much more comfortable and are part of course of a city wide tram network.

I was raised in a part of the world where towns have many historical buildings going back to the 17th or 18th centuries, if not the Middle Ages or even earlier. They aren’t museums but places where we live, work and play everyday.

Jean-Louis Brussac, source: richmondreview

<!–:en–>Edinburgh trams project 'making good progress', says transport convener<!–:–>

November 17th, 2012

THE scheme has been beset by problems but Councillor Lesley Hinds insists the project is now on track.
EDINBURGH'S troubled trams project is now making “good, steady progress”, the city's transport convener said.

Councillor Lesley Hinds spoke out as she and transport minister Keith Brown toured the tram stop site at the capital's airport.

When the trams are completed, they will take travellers to Edinburgh city centre in less than 30 minutes.

But the project has been dogged by delays and a dispute between contractors Bilfinger Berger and tram company Tie pushed it over budget.

Ms Hinds, transport convener at Edinburgh City Council, insisted today: “The tram project is now making good, steady progress in line with the revised schedule and, when finished, will be a vital part of a new, modern, integrated transport system for the future.”

She went on: “This particular part of the line is especially important and will connect the city centre to the airport, something that will benefit the people of Edinburgh and visitors for many years to come.

“As we've seen, the line goes right to the airport and will be convenient and accessible to all passengers.”

The Edinburgh tram project is Scotland's second largest infrastructure project after the Forth Replacement Crossing.

Passenger services are scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014, going from the airport to York Place.

Mr Brown conceded the trams project had “caused a lot of disruption to many residents, businesses and motorists in Edinburgh”.

He added he was “heartened to see the project taking shape”, with the Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland now playing a “key role in overseeing the delivery”.

Mr Brown said: “Our immediate focus, and that of the council, is to deliver a tram project that will help erase the memories of what has gone before, and breathe new life into the capital.”

He went on: “There are, of course, major benefits for the rest of Scotland's transport network.

“In terms of connectivity, the new Edinburgh airport tram stop, combined with the planned Edinburgh Gateway rail-tram interchange, refurbished Haymarket station and existing station at Edinburgh Park, will provide better links and more options between the Scottish rail network, Edinburgh airport and other key transport hubs.”
Source: DailyRecord

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