For a Better Brisbane

Light rail for Brisbane 3

The BrisUrbane blog series on Light Rail for Brisbane continues with today’s post about dual-mode light rail. These are also known as ‘RegioTrams’ or ‘Tram-Trains’. For videos and earlier posts of Light Rail for Brisbane 1 and Light Rail for Brisbane 2, just click the links.

Dual-mode light rail and a German Deutsche Bahn train sharing tracks, power and station platforms. Photo courtesy of Albtal-Verjehrs-Gesellschaft mbH with permission. Click image for URL

One of the problems with conventional trains is that they can’t jump off the tracks and pick passengers up from a street stop. Dual mode light rail, pioneered in Karlsruhe, Germany, changes this by running light rail on the street in ‘tram mode’ with light rail then entering the conventional railway network to run at high-speed to the next town in ‘train mode’. The benefits include:

  • Passenger increase
  • Stimulated development along the route
  • A seamless transfer-free journey from outer regional and country areas
  • Direct access to city streets and city stops
  • High-speed by using the rail network (up to 100 km/hr)
  • Avoids the need to build large lengths of track by using existing railway lines

Currently dual-mode light rail has found application in connecting smaller towns, on regional rail lines, or where distances are large with low density in between. Over 470+ km of track now forms part of the Karlsruhe dual-mode light rail network, demonstrating that light rail can serve significant distances; far more than just inner city suburbs.

No density? No worries! Image courtesy of MCMC under creative commons license. Click image for URL.

In Brisbane, the current rail network is already very busy as it is. However, this technology may be something to think about for extending the Doomben line to the ULDA’s North Shore Hamilton development. Queensland also has a number of cities and towns where there are rail lines but few or no trains (such as, Townsville or Toowoomba) where this idea might also have merit.

Dual mode light rail in the street. 'Karlsruhe Zweisystemstraßenbahn'. Creative commons license. Click image for URL.

The concept has proven so successful at attracting patronage, it is now in operation in a number of cities in Europe:

Adelaide, South Australia has also announced that it will be getting dual-mode light rail.

Further information

TransportTechnologie-Consult Karlsruhe GmbH (TTK):

Nova Terra, TramTrain Connects town and country, April 2008

Connected Cities- Light Rail Transit

Karlsruhe Stadbahn, Wikipedia

BrisUrban wishes to acknowledge the permission and help of Karlsruhe’s transportation authority Albtal-Verkehrs Gesellschaft mbH / Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund for this post.


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May 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm

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