Sex on rails

Toby at tipp(l)ing point

Mate a tram with train and you get a tram-train, it seems obvious enough. They’ve been doing it in Germany – Karlsruhe, Kassel, Zwickau – for ages, and have cottoned on in France (Mulhouse) and Holland (Rotterdam) too. To differentiate it from an interurban (like Swiss mountain railways or the Belgian Kusttram) it uses vehicles that can operate on both systems – a Zweisystem-Stadtbahn. It means more than BR talked about doing on the Penistone line, which is running light railcars on ordinary railway track. It means actually joining the Sheffield tramlines up to the main line to Rotherham, as is now the plan.
tram-train logicThe benefit is that it suddenly opens up a seamless journey from outlying areas into the city centre, as this diagram shows. It is borrowed for educational purposes from my favourite magazine, Tramways and Urban Transit, which in its November edition runs…

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