"rail-free" tram - what do you all think?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Mr [email protected] \ -Lsqco, Jun 11, 2003.

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  1. I saw on the news plans for this tram up North (somehow Northallerton springs to mind but ICBW -
    North of Watford definitely ;)

    The novel thing was that instead of having rails there is this metal strip buried *beneath* the road
    and a hall-effect sensor or similar device is used to keep the vehicle following the path of this
    metal strip

    One criticism of conventional trams is that the rails present a hazard to cyclists; what does
    everyone think of this new idea? Seems like an excellent solution to me...

    Alex
     
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  2. John'S Cat

    John'S Cat Guest

    On Tue, 10 Jun 2003 21:40:04 +0100, "Mr [email protected] \(2.3 zulu-alpha\) [comms room 2]"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I saw on the news plans for this tram up North (somehow Northallerton springs to mind but ICBW -
    >North of Watford definitely ;)
    >
    >The novel thing was that instead of having rails there is this metal strip buried *beneath* the
    >road and a hall-effect sensor or similar device is used to keep the vehicle following the path of
    >this metal strip
    >
    >One criticism of conventional trams is that the rails present a hazard to cyclists; what does
    >everyone think of this new idea? Seems like an excellent solution to me...
    >
    >Alex
    >
    Wouldn't this be a variation of the Trolley-Bus?

    You'd need twice the overhead cabling and a more complicated pick-up arrangement, but I expect that
    the main problem would be traffic in the way.

    Drivers seem to make the effort to stay off the tram tracks as it is obvious where the tram goes. If
    this trooley-bus can steer, then its lane will get used for parking. Drivers will always argue that
    they have left enough space....
     
  3. "Mr [email protected] \(2.3 zulu-alpha\) [comms room 2]" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I saw on the news plans for this tram up North (somehow Northallerton springs to mind but ICBW -
    > North of Watford definitely ;)
    >
    > The novel thing was that instead of having rails there is this metal strip buried *beneath* the
    > road and a hall-effect sensor or similar device is used to keep the vehicle following the path of
    > this metal strip
    >
    > One criticism of conventional trams is that the rails present a hazard to cyclists; what does
    > everyone think of this new idea? Seems like an excellent solution to me...

    Couldn't help but be reminded of 'slotless' electric motor racing sets (anyone remember Tyco TCR?)
    which used hidden magnets to help the cars stay on the track, rather than the grooves that
    Scalextric, etc. employed!

    David E. Belcher

    Dept. of Chemistry, University of York
     
  4. "Mr [email protected] \(2.3 zulu-alpha\) [comms room 2]" <[email protected]> wrote: ( One criticism of
    conventional trams is that the rails present a hazard to ) cyclists; what does everyone think of
    this new idea? Seems like an excellent ( solution to me...

    Isn't one of the main points of trams that metal wheels on metal rails are more efficient than
    rubber tyres on tarmac or concrete?
     
  5. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Tue, 10 Jun 2003 21:40:04 +0100 someone who may be "Mr [email protected] \(2.3 zulu-alpha\) [comms room 2]"
    <[email protected]> wrote this:-

    >The novel thing was that instead of having rails there is this metal strip buried *beneath* the
    >road and a hall-effect sensor or similar device is used to keep the vehicle following the path of
    >this metal strip

    It's called a wire guided bus.

    There is one south of Watford, but it never carried ordinary passengers in guided mode as the
    Railway Inspectorate were not happy about it's reliability. It is the bus that ran to Peter
    Mandelson's dome in Greenwich on what was promoted as a guided busway, but that bit was dropped
    rapidly after abortive tests. The last that I heard was that the Inspectorate have now decided that
    the concept is (currently) so unreliable that secondary guidance kerbs are necessary, for when the
    bus does not follow the wire it should be following.

    A similar fate has befallen other wire guided buses around the world running on public roads. One
    does operate reasonably well, at slow speed on private roads, in the service tunnel alongside the
    Channel Tunnel(s).

    Even if the guidance can be made to work that is only the start of the problems. With the bus wheels
    running in precisely the same place the road surface will soon break up under them. To counter this
    it is necessary to install a far more resilient surface, usually of concrete. Installing such a
    surface is in the same cost league as installing tram tracks.

    It's been decades now since guided buses were first tried. They have not been a success. If the
    Council in Edinburgh get their way you will be able to laugh at (kerb, I believe) guided buses in
    Edinburgh in a year or so. Do feel free to come and laugh at them then, or make your comments to
    Councillor Andrew Burns about the Council's stupidity now. You can already experience guided buses
    in Leeds. Feel free to try one and marvel as the unguided buses on the adjacent road overtake you.

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  6. James Hodson

    James Hodson Guest

    On 11 Jun 2003 03:04:57 -0700, [email protected] (David E. Belcher) wrote:

    >Couldn't help but be reminded of 'slotless' electric motor racing sets (anyone remember Tyco TCR?)
    >which used hidden magnets to help the cars stay on the track, rather than the grooves that
    >Scalextric, etc. employed!
    >

    Slotless? Pathetic, David. I have loads of Scalextric less than ten feet from where I now sit.
    Still, bloody good stuff, if you ask me. (Which you weren't, of course.)

    Anyhoo, I did hear a while ago that the latest Scalextric stuff does have magnets. Shame!

    Of course, the really important question is: Do you operate the throttle with your thumb or
    your finger?

    I'm a thumb man, myself.

    James

    --
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/c.butty/Dscf0632.jpg
     
  7. James Hodson wrote:
    > On 11 Jun 2003 03:04:57 -0700, [email protected] (David E. Belcher) wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Couldn't help but be reminded of 'slotless' electric motor racing sets (anyone remember Tyco TCR?)
    >>which used hidden magnets to help the cars stay on the track, rather than the grooves that
    >>Scalextric, etc. employed!
    >>
    >
    >
    > Slotless? Pathetic, David. I have loads of Scalextric less than ten feet from where I now sit.
    > Still, bloody good stuff, if you ask me. (Which you weren't, of course.)

    Pah, TCR was better :) FWIW, it didn't use hidden magnets at all, but a little gear mechanism on
    the back which made the car tend left or right, depending on the current direction. Rather clever
    really, allowing proper overtaking manoevures unlike the slotted ones. And then there were the 'jam
    cars' too, which could (iirc) go round the track in the opposite direction. Ah, memories :)

    > Of course, the really important question is: Do you operate the throttle with your thumb or
    > your finger?
    >
    > I'm a thumb man, myself.

    Ooh, no. Gotta be finger so the thumb's free for the lane-change control :)

    w
     
  8. James Hodson

    James Hodson Guest

  9. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, one of infinite monkeys at the keyboard of
    David Hansen <[email protected]> wrote:

    > It's called a wire guided bus.

    ISTR travelling on such a beast many years ago. I think it was in Bergen (Norway), a city that has
    also had congestion charging for many years, and in a country where the cost of motoring is about
    twice what it is in the UK.

    It worked much better than your post indicates, although I didn't get a long-term perspective on
    things like road wear.

    --
    Axis of Evil: Whose economy needs ever more wars? Arms Exports $bn: USA 14.2, UK 5.1, vs France 1.5,
    Germany 0.8 (The Economist, July 2002)
     
  10. James Hodson <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On 11 Jun 2003 03:04:57 -0700, [email protected] (David E. Belcher) wrote:
    >
    > >Couldn't help but be reminded of 'slotless' electric motor racing sets (anyone remember Tyco
    > >TCR?) which used hidden magnets to help the cars stay on the track, rather than the grooves that
    > >Scalextric, etc. employed!
    > >
    >
    > Slotless? Pathetic, David. I have loads of Scalextric less than ten feet from where I now sit.
    > Still, bloody good stuff, if you ask me. (Which you weren't, of course.)
    >

    Never had either as a kid, I have to admit; seems we're going rapidly OT here, but it could turn
    into a fun thread! My cousin had shed-loads of Scalextric, which to me always seemed the better of
    the two due to having more stuff available for it (as a big fan of The Italian Job, I always meant
    to build up my own Scalextric track complete with Mini Coopers, but never got round to it!), despite
    its alarming tendency for the current collectors to pick up carpet fluff. Not sure if my memory is a
    little clouded here, but I swear that he had a model of the unique Tyrrell 6-wheeler. Or am I
    imagining that?

    David E. Belcher

    Dept. of Chemistry, University of York
     
  11. Marc

    Marc Guest

    James Hodson <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Anyhoo, I did hear a while ago that the latest Scalextric stuff does have magnets. Shame!

    It does and the cornering speeds are much much higher, of course the breakaway is horrific, but
    finding that fiiiiine line between going as fast as you can and falling off is fun.

    --
    Marc Stickers,decals,membership,cards, T shirts, signs etc for clubs and associations of all types.
    http://www.jaceeprint.demon.co.uk/
     
  12. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

  13. Hywel & Ros

    Hywel & Ros Guest

    > >The novel thing was that instead of having rails there is this metal
    strip
    > >buried *beneath* the road and a hall-effect sensor or similar device is
    used
    > >to keep the vehicle following the path of this metal strip
    >
    > It's called a wire guided bus.
    >

    In my view all these ideas are nonsense - and at the risk of being controversial - so are trams. The
    old-fashioned bus is cheap to buy as it's made in large numbers. Runs on any existing road with no
    extra infrastructure cost. Can be operated (driven) by nearly anyone (who gets the extra PSV
    licence). And if you want a dedicated bus lane, then that can be acheived for the cost of some paint
    and a man with a brush.

    Trams, wire-guided buses and all the rest require huge development and infrastructure costs; are
    built in very low numbers as one-offs, are costly - likely to be unreliable as (unlike buses) are
    not tried and tested (ie the individual production run is not tried and tested) and so on.
    Nonsense !

    And don't get me started on hydrogen....

    Hywel
     
  14. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 14 Jun 2003 09:52:58 +0100, "Hywel & Ros" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Trams, wire-guided buses and all the rest require huge development and infrastructure costs; are
    >built in very low numbers as one-offs, are costly - likely to be unreliable as (unlike buses) are
    >not tried and tested (ie the individual production run is not tried and tested) and so on.

    Trams are electric, so don't pollute within the urban area. Of course that pollution is exported to
    the power station, but that could be a renewable source. There are none of the losses associated
    with batteries, so an electric tram is pretty efficient, especially as it runs on metal rails
    instead of lossy rubber-on-tarmac.

    From a practical point of view people are less likely to impede the progress of a tram, for example
    by parking on the lines, not least because trams are notoriously paintwork-unfriendly :)

    I do not have figures on reliability, but for tried and tested technology buses do seem to fail with
    monotonous regularity.

    Guy
    ===
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  15. Hywel & Ros

    Hywel & Ros Guest

    > >Trams, wire-guided buses and all the rest require huge development and infrastructure costs; are
    > >built in very low numbers as one-offs, are costly - likely to be unreliable as (unlike buses) are
    > >not tried and
    tested
    > >(ie the individual production run is not tried and tested) and so on.
    >
    > Trams are electric, so don't pollute within the urban area. Of course that pollution is exported
    > to the power station, but that could be a renewable source. There are none of the losses
    > associated with batteries, so an electric tram is pretty efficient, especially as it runs on metal
    > rails instead of lossy rubber-on-tarmac.
    >
    > From a practical point of view people are less likely to impede the progress of a tram, for
    > example by parking on the lines, not least because trams are notoriously paintwork-unfriendly :)
    >
    > I do not have figures on reliability, but for tried and tested technology buses do seem to fail
    > with monotonous regularity.
    >
    > Guy

    I guess what it comes down to is a bus route can be created, changed, moved at the drop of a hat. A
    tram route will cost tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of pounds. And a bus pollutes far less than
    30 cars, which is the real alternative - rather than the tram scheme which never manages a
    convincing business case and doesn't get built.

    There may be a reasonable case for trolley buses to reduce pollution, and perhaps even running
    costs. And very occasionally there may a be a case for proper trams / light rail - at least in
    really big cities- but I suspect it is just a matter of political tokenism whereby one set of tax
    payers subsidise another - perhaps people who walk or cycle to work, not just motorists.

    Buses (perhaps unsubsidised ones eve) seem to be able undercut highly subsidised rail-travel by 80%.

    Cheers

    Hywel
     
  16. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sun, 15 Jun 2003 16:15:38 +0100, "Hywel & Ros" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I guess what it comes down to is a bus route can be created, changed, moved at the drop of a hat. A
    >tram route will cost tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of pounds.

    True, but the routes which make most sense for trams, where there is high traffic density, tend not
    to change much over time.

    >And a bus pollutes far less than 30 cars, which is the real alternative - rather than the tram
    >scheme which never manages a convincing business case and doesn't get built.

    The criteria for the cost benefit analysis are rather arbitrary. If applied to the cost of cars to
    the economy, for example, cars would be banned overnight as the economy really can't afford to
    indulge every motorist to the tune of £1500 per year.

    >I suspect it is just a matter of political tokenism whereby one set of tax payers subsidise another

    That is, after all, the nature of tax...

    >Buses (perhaps unsubsidised ones eve) seem to be able undercut highly subsidised
    >rail-travel by 80%.

    I think that would depend on the route.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com Advance
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  17. David Nutter

    David Nutter Guest

    Hywel & Ros <[email protected]> said:

    > Buses (perhaps unsubsidised ones eve) seem to be able undercut highly subsidised
    > rail-travel by 80%.

    Ooh, I don't know. I recently had the good fortune to go to Linz in Austria for a conference, not a
    big city by any means but with a very good network of trams and buses. A week's pass for the trams
    cost me e9.40, considerably less than three return bus journeys to my house in Ushaw Moor to
    Durham[1]. I've no idea of the level of subsidy, or the prices of the buses alone.

    Interestingly Vienna had the same type of trams and electrical pylons, all manufactured by Siemens.
    Trams in Austria at least don't seem to be individual solutions for individual cities.

    Regards,

    -david

    [1]Not that I've occasion to give money to Arriva of course... *pats bicycle*
     
  18. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "David Nutter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Ooh, I don't know. I recently had the good fortune to go to Linz in
    Austria
    > for a conference, not a big city by any means but with a very good network of trams and buses. A
    > week's pass for the trams cost me e9.40,
    considerably
    > less than three return bus journeys to my house in Ushaw Moor to
    Durham[1].
    > I've no idea of the level of subsidy, or the prices of the buses alone.
    >
    > Interestingly Vienna had the same type of trams and electrical pylons, all manufactured by
    > Siemens. Trams in Austria at least don't seem to be individual solutions for individual cities.

    But most European cities were so stupid in the 50's, 60's & 70's that they didn't modernise their
    transport infrastructure like the enlightened British
    did.

    The result is that they still had the basics in place to up-grade in the 80's & 90's.

    T
     
  19. David Nutter

    David Nutter Guest

    Tony W <[email protected]> said:

    > But most European cities were so stupid in the 50's, 60's & 70's that they didn't modernise their
    > transport infrastructure like the enlightened British
    > did.

    Damn their reactionary hides!

    > The result is that they still had the basics in place to up-grade in the 80's & 90's.

    Yes, I notice that Linz and Vienna have good separation between the tramlines and the road system
    for the most part; this not the case in Manchester where the sight of passers-by scurrying from
    under the wheels of an oncoming tram is fairly common.

    In a valiant attempt to be on-topic, Linz was full of cyclists, even going so far as producing a
    weak so-called Cyclist's Beer presumably so nobody will fall underneath the trams.

    Regards,

    -david
     
  20. James Hodson

    James Hodson Guest

    On Sat, 14 Jun 2003 11:06:38 +0100, "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I do not have figures on reliability, but for tried and tested technology buses do seem to fail
    >with monotonous regularity.
    >

    Being a Blackpudlian by birth I'm all for trams, especially if they are covered in bright
    lights. ;-)

    The last time I was in Blackpool I was burying my mother. But if I may hark back to my youth ISTR
    that the trams were pretty monotonously regular.

    Of course, other places have more modern trams than those found in the tackiest place on Earth.

    Lube my chain & kiss me quick James

    --
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/c.butty/Dscf0632.jpg
     
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