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CRAG submission to Network Rail RUS Scoping Document on "Alternative Solutions" (regarding tram-trains)

posted 29 Apr 2012, 15:30 by Lawrence Marshall
Edinburgh south suburban line tram-trains:

With the Scottish Government having effectively declared that all railway investment is to be aimed at those journeying into Edinburgh from outwith the city and not for the benefit of those seeking to travel within the city, trams represent the only viable (but nevertheless a very attractive) means whereby passengers can once again travel through the city on the long underused south suburban railway. Tram-trains have been running on railway lines in Europe for decades - and a trial of tram-trains is shortly to take place in Yorkshire. We call upon Network Rail, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government to actively pursue tram-trains as one element of an enhanced public transport provision for Scotland's capital - one utilising existing infrastructure and adding value to the investment already made to bring trams back to the city.

One route option which should be considered is to extend trams onto the south suburban line in the vicinity of Haymarket Central Junction (and from the west at Haymarket West Junction), running thence via Gorgie and Morningside to Cameron Toll where on-street running would allow the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and other facilities at Little France to be reached. This would provide innovative and new public transport travel opportunities in the capital. The south suburban line should be electrified at 25kV AC. There are many currently surplus trams in the city - some of these could be modified to provide dual-voltage operation to allow this new service to operate.

Many technical issues regarding wheel flanges and pointwork have already been successfully resolved on the continent. Moreover, standards (including station design) to allow low-floor trams to operate on heavy rail tracks have already begun to be informally formulated in Britain. We would envisage totally low-floor operation for tram-trains on the south suburban route to Little France suggested above.