For inspiration and fun

Below in random sequence some examples. Scroll along light rail in Nottingham (UK), Valencia (ES), Rome (IT), Saarbrücken (DE), Tokyo (JP), Zwickau (DE), Salt Lake City (UT, US) and Kiev (RU).

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Nottingham, centre, May 27, 2004

NET - Nottingham Express Transit

The new tramway of Nottingham (UK) - Nottingham Express Transit line 1 - has been launched March 8th (2004) by Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Transport. It took sixteen years of planning and more than three years of construction to make this Grenoble inspired tramway a reality. NET is a state-of-the-art tram system, which is successful already. It runs from Hucknall, through Bulwell and Hyson Green and into the city centre, terminating at Nottingham railway station. There is also a spur line to Phoenix Park (just off the M1 at junction 26). NET is integrated system.

16 scenes

NET represent all features of light rail. These 16 scenes prove that Light Rail is a high quality and a flexible technology. The pictures show light rail as elevated railway, as a classic street tramway, as single track railway, connecting city and region. The stops are busy, the buses are linking. Along the tram route, there are 23 stops with five Park and Ride sites (Hucknall, Moor Bridge, Phoenix Park, Wilkinson Street and The Forest). In the city centre, there are stops at Royal Centre (for the Theatre Royal, Royal Concert Hall and The Cornerhouse), Old Market Square, in the heart of Nottingham and Lace Market, for the National Ice Centre and Hockley.

All pictures: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Nottingham, May 27-28, 2004

Valencia City and region along the eastcoast of Spain entail an efficient and contemporary light rail network. Some old regional tramways and railways have been converted and integrated in todays network.

Photo: (C) Carlos Pérez Arnau (carlos@studio3.es)

Map: Valencia (C) Light Rail Atlas, 2000

Photo: (C) j.jimenez@vitalicio.es

Photo: (C) Carlos Pérez Arnau (carlos@studio3.es)

Rome Since March 1998 trams of ATAC (Azienda Trasporti di Rome) are riding again in the streets of the historic centre of Rome. A new route 8 connects the southwestern part of the city to Largo di Torre, partly via the new Trasteverre alignment. An extension to Roma Termini is planned in 2001.

Photo (C) Light Rail Atlas, Rome, August 10, 1999
reen low floor tram in historic centre

Route 8 represents the first Light Rail-project, which is financed in confirmity with "law 211".

Photo (C) Light Rail Atlas, terminus Largo di Torre, August 10, 1999

100% low floor vehicles are in service during the beginning of 1999. Surpisingly the new trams use the old green livery. They are built by Fiat Ferroviaria; their nickname is 'jumbotrams'. Fiat Ferroviaria will also produce a second, completely different batch of low floor cars.

All pictures Saarbrücken: (C) Light Rail Atlas / Rob van der Bijl, August-December 1999

In October 1997 trams returned to the streets of Saarbrücken in Germany (the old ones left in 1967). This new Light Rail system uses a new track in the innercity, from Cottbuserplatz to Brebach. The line continues from here to the French bordertown Sarreguemines (Saargemund) via heavy railtracks of the Deutsche Bahn (DB), along the valley of the river Saar.
The Light Rail Vehicles (built by Bombardier) are suitable for operation in streets and on heavy railways. So, it is possible to build relatively fast and cheap the first line of a future regional network.

View from the temporal office of Light Rail Atlas in Saarbrücken, Augustus 20, 1999

The new system is doing well. There is a substantial growth of (new) passengers. The centre-part of the line is extremely succesfull. This part is also the backbone of the reorganized (feeder-)bussystem. At the moment an extension of the line to Brebach is under construction. The first part of this new branche (to southern Riegelsberg) will use new streettracks. The second part will be built on an old heavy railline, bought for 1 mark (1/2 dollar) from the national railway company (DB).
In the summer of 1999 a temporal line 2 was in operation from Saarbrücken centre - via the new DB-connection - on tracks of the DB to the Messe (Expo). This temporal line illustrates the rather easy way of extending the system into the region. Like Karlsruhe (also in Germany) Saarbrücken already represents a new succesfull duo-system.

Map: (C) Light Rail Atlas, November 1999

The new system of Saarbrücken is a very constructive example for comparable situations in Europe, America and other parts of the world. Cities like Luxembourg (L), Mulhouse (F), Leiden (NL), Groningen (NL), Kiel (D), Wiesbaden (D), Oporto (P), San Diego (USA), Los Angeles (USA), Melbourne (AUS), and many others can learn a lot of this recent German precedent.
The importance of the Saarbrücken experience justifies a large quote from our German source. This quote is taken from Martin Karr's 'Mehrsystemkonzepte der Schienenbahnen in Europa' (Technical University of Karlsruhe (TH), 1998). Note: 'EBO' is the German standard for heavy railway, 'BoStrab' for tramway.

Photo (C) Light Rail Atlas, Saarbrücken, August 20, 1999

Photo (C) Light Rail Atlas, Saarbrücken, August 21, 1999
Connection to heavy railtracks near Cottbuserplatz

Photo (C) Light Rail Atlas, Saarbahn in centre, August 21, 1999

Photo (C) Light Rail Atlas, Saarbahn in Brebach , August 21, 1999



Kyuko Dentetsu In Japan Light Rail as traditional tram has a limited meaning. Just the city of Hiroshima owns a larger classical tramway. However Light Rail in the form of wellknown 'interurbans' is still very important in Japan. Many of these systems have developed into urban-regional railways.
An example of such an urban railway is the 'Tokyo Kyuko Dentetsu', which means the 'Tokyo Electric Express Railway'. Kyuko Dentetsu is one of the biggest private urban railway companies in Japan. The network of Tokyo contains seven train lines and one tram line (Setagaya-sen). Total lenght: over 100 kilometer. Daily amount of passengers: 2.6 million.
The region of Tokyo has been urbanized heavily. The railway lines of Kyuko Dentetsu have helped to structure urban growth.

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/AUTUMN, October 2002

Map: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Kyuko Dentetsu, June 2003
The Setagaya-line is in blue. The map represents a part of the Tokyu network between Tokyo and Yokohama

Setagaya-sen This one line Light Rail system is located at the western side of the Tokyo conurbation. The line from Sangenjaya (at the Shin-Tamagawa-sen) to Shimotakaido (connection to the Keio-sen) is 5.1 km long and has 10 stations, all new, high platforms. It is the last survivor of the Tokyu tramway network. The cars still use 600 V and their gauge is 1372 mm, as on all trams in Tokyo. 53.000 passengers use the line every day (2000).

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/AUTUMN, October 2002
The new cars have a different livery each.

The Tokyo Kyuko Dentetsu is a private company. Like many of these companies in Japen it is not subsidized. Therefore this kind of railway companies are developing retail and real estate around their station areas. This works out te be a fine solution. The commercial activities generates both money and passengers!

Photo's: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Manuel López, September 1998

"Hurry up!", shouts the girl, but the white-gloved driver of car 75 is still busy. Light Rail Atlas likes these typical Japanese LRV's!. However, the old green ones have been replaced by new rolling stock, which has been put in service during 2000-2001.

Sobu-Nagareyama Dentetsu K.K. Many former tramways were transformed into urban railways. This is an example at the eastern edge of the Tokyo metropolitan area. Long ago it was a narrow gauge steam railway which was eventually transformed into a rural tramway. Now the line (12.8 km) is an integral part of Tokyo's electric commuter railway network.

Photos: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Manuel López, September 1998

The photos show secondhand trains from the Seibu interurban system. Manuel López of Light Rail Atlas is asking himself if there is anybody who wants to use this quiet Light Rail-system.

Arakawa (Tokyo)

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Manuel López, September 1998

The city of Tokyo owns a single tramway line (12.2 km.), which used to be part of the former large tramway network. But in 1967 Tokyo decided to enlarge the metro system and to transform or close nearly all tramways. During the eighties of the last century new trams of the Japanese firm Alna Koki have been put into service.

The Arakawa-line represented on scale (above)

Maps/photo: Light Rail Atlas/Kuri/TRTA

The schematic map shows the Arakawa line (orange) in context of the northern part of the railway and metro system (in grey and white). The municipal line is upgrated to light rail standards. This means the tramway is located predominantly right of-way and uses high platforms. However, much street operation still excists.

Photos: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Manuel López, September 1998

The pictures show impressions of the eastern terminus situation of the Arakawa tramway. Car 7505 is speeding up, while 7005 is at the terminus building. The other two photos show car 7031 on duty.

Tokyo Metro

Tokyo is a huge and complicated metropolis. The metro system is operated by two companies. The first and oldest one (1927) is the privately owned 'Eidan Underground', shortly 'Eidan', or 'Teito', in English abbreviated as TRTA, Teito Rapid Transit Authority. Since April 2004 the Eidan-metro is called 'Tokyo Metro'. The second operator is the municipal transport company of Tokio, Tokyo-to Kotsu-kyoku, shortly 'Toei'.
The development of the metro system resambles the complex growth of Tokyo. The system is unique. There is through running of regional railways on the metro network, and vice versa. The operational and technical characteristics vary enormously. Type of vehicle and service, gauge width, power supply, signalling, and train control depend on the specific line or group of lines.
Tokyo's metro stations get beautiful names, like Asakusa, at the oldest line of the system, which is called Asakusa as well: 'the low gras'. Or at the Nanboku-line station Sendagi: 'the tree with thousands burdens'. At the southwest branche of the Marunouchi-line to Hònanchó one station before the terminus wins the prize of Light Rail Atlas for the most beautiful name. The station is called 'Nakanofujimicó', which means 'the district in the fields from which one sees the mount Fuji'.


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/TERRA, Enoshima, May 4, 2002

At the south side of the Tokyo-Yokohama urban region, a ten kilometer 'interurban' style tramway connects Enoshima with Fujisawa and Kamakura. This light rail system is called Enoden. The cars come in a variety of styles (1927-1997). The Enoden Light Rail advertises itself as a retro-railway. Built in the early 1900s as a tourist line, it now also serves commuters and shoppers.
The Enoden is located predominantly right of-way and uses high platforms. In the city of Enoshima the cars run through the main street.

The fifth station from Kamakura brings one to Hase, home of the Great Buddha (see map). This beautiful light rail starts in Fujisawa on the roof of the Enoden-mall. Fujisawa is connected via Yokohama to the regional train system of Tokyo. In Enoshima a monorail runs to the station of Ofuna.

Photo's: (C) Light Rail Atlas/TERRA, January 11, 2003 & May 4, 2002

The Enoden Railway winds through back streets of Kamakura, cruises along the ocean with superb views of Enoshima, up the main street of Koshigoe, through the posh neighborhood of Kugenuma. The Miura peninsula fits in this light rail landscape.



At the end of 1999 tram/trolley (GT6M, AEG; KT4D, CKD TRAKCE) and train (RegioSprinter, DUEWAG) of the former East-German city Zwickau will use a common track between the centre and the south. Two worlds will be merched: tram-based light rail and light railways.
The RegioSprinters of the Vogtlandbaan (regional network on tracks of Deutche Bahn) are guests on the tramway network. Therefore the RegioSprinters are adapted to the German tramway standards, namely the so-called 'BOStrab-Einrichtungen'.
The RegioSprinter is a real Light Rail Vehicle; this LRV posseses much properties of a modern low-floor tram. Entering is comfortable and the interior is spacious. It is even possible to store bikes and there is a restroom.

Map - in green the route of the RegioSprinter.
Urban tramways in red.


Salt Lake City

The Salt Lake City system has been enlarged soon after its start. A branch of the main line - from Union Pacific to the university - opened December 2001.
The university line provides a direct link between the campus and downtown, giving students a way to get to class without having to take up parking spots. But before any of those get underway, the U has one more line it wants built. Construction crews will extend the university line from the stadium to University Hospital, connecting lower campus to upper campus. (Daily Utah Chronicle)
The University Light Rail is being used to significantly improve access to jobs, educational opportunities, health care, and housing throughout the 400 South corridor. The capital cost of the 2.5-mile University line totals $105.8 million

The University Line provided transportation during the Olympic Games, as well as transportation near the Olympic Village located on the University of Utah campus.

Photo: courtesy John Williamson, July 2000

De The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has implemented a 15-mile light rail transit (LRT) line from downtown Salt Lake City along State Street then paralleling I-15 to suburban areas to the south. The line opened for regular weekday service on December 6, 1999. The South LRT line operates at-grade on city streets in downtown Salt Lake City (two miles) and on a railroad right-of-way (13 miles) owned by UTA to the suburban community of Sandy. The total cost of this project is estimated at $312.49 million (escalated dollars). Although the South LRT was estimated to carry 14,000 passengers per day in 2000 and 23,000 passengers per day in 2010, current ridership has already exceeded 26,000 weekday riders. A total of 21 light rail vehicles have been ordered and delivered for the project.

The South LRT project is one component of the Interstate 15 corridor improvement initiative, which includes reconstruction of a parallel segment of I-15. (Federal Transit Administration, November 2001)


Map: UTA

Recall of construction...

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Salt Lake City, summer 1998

Light Rail Atlas viewed work in progress during the summer of 1998. For example the Mainstreet section under construction, including centre platform halts with high blocks for wheelchairs, and...

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Salt Lake City, summer 1998

...encountered the end of the street section, just before entering the former Union Pacific railroad branch.

Bad news from Kiev - According to our LRTA-source, on the 9 of June, a large section of the Kiev tram lines (from Square of the Great Patriotic War to the Leningradska sq., route # 21, 27, 31) were suddenly abandoned. The decision to abandon the tram lines was taken by the city mayor without notification to passengers. The last tram with passengers passed the Paton bridge at 20:00. Immediately after that workers began to remove rail tracks from the bridge.

New metro, old trolleybus and new bus-taxis
Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl; Kiev, August 12, 2001

The performence of many of the tramways in the former Sovjet Union is not very well. There is a lack of money; insufficient maintainance and new investments. In many cities private bus-taxis compete with the trams, for instance in Kiev. The director of the tramway in Vladivostok has been murdered in the summer of 2001 by the mafia bustaxi-operator after she had planned to reorganize the bustaxi in her city in order to end the rivalry.
Kiev has planned a new light rail line from Vatutinsky in the northeast to the centre. However, the construction has been postponed for at least two years due to money spending for a new national monument in de centre of Kiev. Recently a plan is revealed to close a large part of the tramway system.
After years of delay a new Kiev-metro extensition is opened in 2001. A year later such extensions came into operation in Novosibirsk (Russia) and Tashkent (Uzbekistan).
Some tramway routes has been abondened in the inner city of St.Petersburg. Some routes in other cities are also closed.
Nevertheless there is some good news as well. Moscow renews the tramway and introduces new trams (KTM19). In some other cities new Tatra-trams has been introduced as well, for example in Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine) and Tashkent (later this year).
The Moscow-metro is extended substantially. New designed light rail lines in the periphery of the city will be used as feeders to the metro.

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Johan Meijer; Kiev, July 2000

The trams of type T3, built in Prague, run on the city network, as well as on the express tramways of the light rail system. It is no big deal for the ordinary public. They just wait for the (next) tram.

The city of Kiev in the Ukraine owns a large tramway network (1892). Since 1979 Kiev built a small network of 'express tramways', which earns - despite its simple form - the predicate light rail.

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Johan Meijer; Kiev, July2000

This is what the municipal administration says:

There is a complicated system of city transportation functioning in Kyiv [Kiev, volgens de officiële spelling; LRA]. The transportation of passengers in the city is done by subway, tramways, trolley-buses and buses as well as by automobiles. In 1991-1996 special attention was paid to the development of such kinds of transport as subway and high-speed tramway [light rail; LRA].
The most important part of the transportation network of Kyiv of those built recently is Siretsko-Pecherska subway branch along with the Pivdenniy bridge across the Dnipro river built for both subway and automobiles.
In the southern part of the left bank, in Troyeshchina, there is the construction of the first high-speed tramway complex going on, and the branch of this tramway is connecting the largest district of the city with the subway branches and the central regions of the left bank.
[though progress is unclear; LRA]
During the last five years, despite the lack of funds, the pace of the construction of the subway in Kyiv tripled from 1 km to 3 km per year.
The big problem for the city is the rapid growth of the number of cars. At the beginning of the year 1997 (according to the Kyiv Municipal Statistics Department) the number of cars compared to the beginning of 1991 increased more than 1.5 times and made 333.5 thousand of cars or approximately 127 cars per 1000 people. There is an expanded electric transportation network (26 tramway and 34 trolley-bus lines) that has a lot of problems as well.

photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Johan Meijer; Kiev, July 2000

The system is built between 1967 and 1978. It is an enlargement of the city network at the west and southwest side of the urban area, connecting a huge new housing site with the centre of the city. It is operated by three lines. Line 1 (opened in 1980) starts in the centre (Palats Sportu) and shares the first few kilometers with some conventional tramways. At the edge of the centre (Pl. Peremogy) the actual light rail alignment commences. At that location the terminus of 1K and 3 (opened in 1979) is situated.

Partly closed city network (grey) and still existing express network (red) Kiev
Map: (C) Light Rail Atlas, December 2000 - January 2012

The light rail system contains about 14 kilometer segregated double track; the complete network (1994) contains about 120 kilometer of double track. At the edge of the urban era the express tramway splits into two branches; line 3 runs straight on for 1 kilometer, while line 1 keeps a southern direction for some kilometers. A depot is connected to this later branche.

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Johan Meijer; Kiev, July 2000

A TramTrain containing 3 Tatra T3's of line 3 on its way to Kil'tseva Doroga is just passing the division of the two branches.
The system is elaborated soberly. Stops and viaducts are materialized in rough concrete. The shape of the system looks reasonable, that is, compared to the general state of infrastructure and public transport in the Ukraine. Tracks, vehicles and amenities are well kept.

Officially the light rail systeem is still under construction. The current network should be extended to Troyeshchina, a large district on the left bank, in the southern part of the city. For long time however there isn't any news on progress of this project.
In the meantime the metro is enlarged continually, officially about 1-3 kilometer each year.

Photos: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl; Kiev, August, 11/12, 2001

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