Information portal about all European guided public transportation systems. This site is regularly updated.
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Light Rail Transport (LRT)   [ 259 cities presented here ] (most recent entries: Mar, 2nd, 2017)

LRT definition includes a wide range of applications, from classic tram to fast tram (metrotram). It appears correct to intend as properly said LRT systems those mass rapid transit systems which couldn't be classified as typical metro, not having a fully segregated track. They often present a combination of mixed traffic, reserved and segregated sections (e.g. short underground or viaduct segments); LRT systems are operated with tram o tram-like rolling stock.
The typical modern tram is a guided transport system which runs ground level (on reserved lanes or in mixed road traffic); in comparison with the traditional tramways, the modern ones assure higher commercial speed and higher capacity, thanks to an increased protection of its lanes (which can be partly reserved or segregated) in order to reduce its interferences with private cars and pedestrians. Each one of the major tram system producers tried to razionalize their market production by the development of the so-called "tram standard", a modular kind of vehicle easy to be adapted to the specific requirements of each purchaser. One of the distinguishing elements between the different models is the internal floor height referred to the rails level. Some of the modern trams (partial low floor) are more similar to the traditional ones, with the bogies able to rotate regards the car-body; in the traditional tramways, the floor height was up to 900 mm, in the modern partial low floor trams it's about 600 mm over the bogies, while it's only 350 mm in the rest of the vehicle (boarding zone included). A more innovative concept characterizes the full low floor trams, whose floor is about 350 mm height in every part of the car, due to the adoption of particolar bogies fixed to the carbody; the insertion of the vehicle in the curves is obtained thanks to suspended intermediate cars located between every two cars on bogies. Partial low floor trams generally maximize the cinematic performance and the cars durability, while full low floor trams assure a whole easy approachability in every part of the vehicle. Almost every modern tram model offers the double option of the mono and bi-directional type; the latter are more flexible (central and side platforms stops are both possible) but they must renounce at some seats in both side of the doors.

The so-called "tram on tyres" are a particular kind of LRTs/trams; they are also (and more correctly) called "intermediate systems" mixing trolleybus and tram features. The concept of tram on tyres is very recent and derives from the research of a flexible and reversible vehicle, which works mostly in guided mode (in order to maximize the system capacity, the performances and the minimization of the dynamic envelope) but able to switch in trolleybus mode, or, in some cases, running in the road traffic with autonomous power supply (batteries, diesel engine, etc.) like a normal bus. This feature could be very important in the ancient city centers of many towns, characterized by narrow roads and by pre-existing elements (e.g. buildings, monuments, etc.) which cause difficulties in the insertion of heavy infrastructures (such as the ordinary tram rails). Tram on tyres can be classified in order to their guidance system (mechanical guidance by a central monorail,optical guidance,magnetical guidance); at the present date, only the mechanical guidance systems seems to have a real diffusion, while the virtual guidance ones (optical or magnetical) encountered remarkable problems since their first applications.

The so-called "tram-trains" are another particular kind of LRTs/trams; their concept derives from the intention to integrate suburban railways (pre-existing lines which connect the urban centers with the districts areas) and tram lines (running inside the urban perimeter). This requires some fundamental common features between tram and local railway network, first of all the adoption of the same rail gauge. If the tram and the railway network have a different voltage, it's necessary the adoption of dual voltage vehicles, able to run both in tram mode (normally with 600/750 V DC overhead power supply) and in train mode (e.g. 15/25 KV AC if the line is electrified or with diesel autonomous power supply if the railway isn't electrified). Karlsruhe Stadbahn (Germany) is an emblematic case of properly said tram-train, with trams equipped with on-board inverters in order to switch from tram mode (750 V DC) to train mode (15 kV AC) and viceversa; this dual voltage cars share part of their route with suburban and regional ordinary trains. Kassel system (Germany) shows another interesting feature: the adopted rolling stock is able to run along the unelectrified railway sections switching from tram electric voltage (750 V DC) to an autonomous diesel power supply. In some other cases, the tram network simply reuses or incorporates some dismantled or under utilized railway tracks (e.g. Manchester Metrolink), without any real tram-train track sharing operations.
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News 2006
  • Dec 06
  • - Zurich: Glattalbahn first section opened running from Messe/Hallenstadion to Auzelg
  • - Montpellier: a second tram line (Line 2 from Saint Jean de Vedas to Jacou) opened on 16 December 2006
  • - Paris: tram Line T3 (Pont du Garigliano/Bd Victor-Porte d'Ivry) opened on 16 December 2006
  • - Lyon: Line T3 (LEA) opened on 4 December 2006; LEA runs from Part Dieu to Meyzieu (with Alstom Citadis rolling stock)
  • Nov 06
  • - Paris: Line T4 (tram-train from Aulnay-sous-Bois to Bondy) opened on 18 November 2006
  • Oct 06
  • - Sassari: LRT Line 1 (from Stazione FS to Emiciclo Garibaldi) opened on 27 October 2006
  • - Clermont Ferrand: the first worldwide Translohr tram-on-tyres system has been opened on 14 October 2006
  • - Velez Malaga: the first section (Jurado Lorca de Velez Park-San Andres) of a new tram line opened on 11 October 2006
  • Sep 06
  • - Orleans: contract signed with Alstom for the contruction of the second tramway line (with APS-Alimentation Par Sol system to be adopted on part of the track) and the delivery of 21 Citadis vehicles (93 M Euro, opening in 2011)
  • Jul 06
  • - Valenciennes: the first tram line (Line 1 from Dutemple to Famars Universitè) opened on 3 July 2006
  • - Angers: contract signed with Alstom for the delivery of 17 Citadis vehicles (45 M Euro, from 2009), with APS (Alimentation Par Sol) system to be adopted on part of the track
  • - Palermo ordered 17 Bombardier Flexity Outlook trams (69 M Euro, 4 years of maintenance included), to be delivered starting from 2009
  • Jun 06
  • - Porto ordered 30 Bombardier Flexity Swift trams for the local LRT system (total amount: 115 M Euro, to be delivered in 2008-2009)
  • - London ordered 31 Bombardier metro cars for DLR automated metro line (same type of the 24 vehicles ordered in May 2005; total amount: 50 M Pounds)
  • May 06
  • - Karlsruhe: the northern tram-train extension \"Strassenbahn Nordstadt/Heide\" has been opened on 27-05-2006
  • - Grenoble: Line C first section (Seyssins Le Prisme-Saint-Martin d'Heres Condillac Universites: 9.6 km, 19 stops) opened on 21-05-2006
  • - Oporto: Line E section Verdes - Aeroporto (1.6 km) opening (27-05-2006)
  • Apr 06
  • - Genoa: Sarzano/S. Agostino new metro stop opening (03-06-2006)
  • - Toulouse: 18 Alstom Citadis 302 with an option for 6 more vehicles have been selected for the new tramway line (to be delivered in 2008,total amount: 65.8 M Euro)
  • Mar 06
  • - Frankfurt ordered 148 Bombardier Flexity Swift trams (with an option for 24 more cars), in order to replace the elder Duewag Stadtbahn fleet (1968-1984); total cost 300 M Euro
  • - Scottisch Parlament has approved Edinbourgh line 2 financement; current total approved financement for Edinbourgh new tramway network is about 450 M Pounds
  • Feb 06
  • - On 14 February 2006 Line C Roma (automated metro) contract has been awarded to a consortium which includes Ansaldo
  • - On 4 February 2006 the first section (Fermi-XVIII Dicembre) of Turin automated metro (VAL 208) has been opened
  • - CAF will supply 14+1 metro car for the new metro of Malaga
  • Jan 06
  • - Palermo new tramway (Line 1, Line 2, Line 3) contract has been awarded to a consortium which includes Bombardier
  • - In Bochum on Jenuary 2006 works for an underground section (Bochumer Verein/Jahrhunderthalle - Lohring) of the Bochum Hauptbanhof-Wanne-Eickelbranch branch have been completed
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