Could European tram-trains ‘herald start of a new era’ in public transport in UK?
They can operate on both heavy and light rail lines, and are working well in Germany and other parts of Europe. Now, tram-trains are set to reach the north of England in a two-year trial in 2010, overseen by Northern Rail, Network Rail and the government. Meera Rambissoon looks at the potential benefits and pitfalls of this new UK concept
By Meera Rambissoon
We’ve got trains, and we’ve got trams, a few at any rate. But in 2010, the tram-train, that is a tram able to run on conventional train tracks, will be making its debut in the UK, as part of a two-year trial in Yorkshire which takes a leaf from existing systems in Europe. The trial, to be run in partnership by Northern Rail, Network Rail and the Department for Transport, “could herald the start of a new era in public transport,” according to transport secretary Ruth...