Tram-Train Technology Debuts

European cities are experimenting with trains that can switch from heavy rail (to reach suburbs on existing tracks) and street-running fixed link systems (to reach city centers).

Germany is at the forefront of implementing tram-train systems, with France and the UK not far behind.

"Stadler, Alstom and Siemens vehicles are already on the market so it seems manufacturers are confident of a niche in mainland Europe."

"Vehicles can be supplied to operate in dual-mode. Customers can choose between diesel on the heavy rail system with 750DC for street running and the all electric 25KV or 15KV on heavy rail with the 750DC on street."

Full Story: European cities introduce new tram-train technology



Ideal for USA

The proposed California high-speed project 'mandates' its prohibitive cost by requiring 200+mph speeds. In other words, the entire line must be electrified, adding around 30% to the entire cost. And, most of its route is rural where the environmental benefit of electrification is moot.

Reduce the mandated speed from 200+mph to 135-150mph and electrification isn't necessary except along the Bay Area peninsula, especially at the new San Francisco terminus, an ideal application for dual-mode.

Yuppie business execs will pout, "We wanna go faster, faster." But, most people unaccustomed to opulence find train travel relaxing when they can afford the lower price of a sensible-speed train ticket.

Rail travel, thy nemisis today is high-speed.

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