ⓘ Tram-train


ⓘ Tram-train

A tram-train is a light-rail public transport system where trams run through from an urban tramway network to main-line railway lines which are shared with conventional trains. This combines the trams flexibility and accessibility with a trains greater speed, and bridges the distance between main railway stations and a city centre.

There is also a train-tram, which is a train modified to also run on tramlines. Generally, the tram-train and train-tram are interchangeable, although a train-tram is based on a train design modified to also run as a tram and a tram-train is based on a tram design modified to also run on a train line.

The tram-train concept was pioneered with the Karlsruhe model in Germany, and has since been adopted in Mulhouse in France and in Kassel and Saarbrucken in Germany.


1. Technology

The tram-train often is a type of interurban, i.e. they link separate towns or cities. according to George W. Hilton and John F. Dues definition.

Most tram-trains are standard gauge, which facilitates sharing track with main-line trains. Exceptions include Alicante Tram and Nordhausen, which are metre gauge.

Tram-train vehicles are dual-equipped to suit the needs of both tram and train operating modes, with support for multiple electrification voltages if required and safety equipment such as train stops and other railway signalling equipment. The Karlsruhe and Saarbrucken systems use "PZB" or "Indusi" automatic train protection, so that if the driver passes a signal at stop the emergency brakes are applied.


2. History

The idea is not new; in the early 20th century, interurban streetcar lines often operated on dedicated rights-of-way between towns, while running on street trackage in town. In 1924, in Hobart, Tasmania, sharing of tracks between trams and trains was proposed.

The difference between modern tram-trains and the older interurbans and radial railways is that tram-trains are built to meet mainline railway standards, rather than ignoring them. An exception is the United States River Line in New Jersey which runs along freight tracks with time separation: passenger trains run by day, and freight by night.


3. Existing systems


  • Nantes: Nantes tram-train 2011
  • Lyon: Tram-train de louest lyonnais
  • Lyon: Rhonexpress 2010
  • Tramway Line 11 Express 2017
  • Mulhouse: Mulhouse tramway
  • Tramway Line 4 2006
  • Ile-de-France Paris region


  • Sassari: Metrosassari
  • Cagliari: Cagliari light rail


  • Alicante: Alicante Tram 2007
  • Mallorca: Mallorca rail network
  • Cadiz: Tranvia Metropolitano de la Bahia de Cadiz 2020

3.1. Existing systems France

  • Nantes: Nantes tram-train 2011
  • Lyon: Tram-train de louest lyonnais
  • Lyon: Rhonexpress 2010
  • Tramway Line 11 Express 2017
  • Mulhouse: Mulhouse tramway
  • Tramway Line 4 2006
  • Ile-de-France Paris region

3.2. Existing systems Germany

  • 600 V DC/15 kV AC and different tram-trains
  • Karlsruhe: Stadtbahn Karlsruhe – 750 V DC/15 kV AC 1992
  • Kassel: Kassel RegioTram 2006
  • Chemnitz: Chemnitz Tramway – 750 V DC
  • 600 V DC/on-board Diesel generator
  • Zwickau: Trams in Zwickau – on-board Diesel generator light-weight RegioSprinter diesel railbuses that also operate on street tramway
  • Nordhausen: Trams in Nordhausen – 600 V DC/on-board Diesel generator
  • Saarbrucken: Saarbahn

3.3. Existing systems Spain

  • Alicante: Alicante Tram 2007
  • Mallorca: Mallorca rail network
  • Cadiz: Tranvia Metropolitano de la Bahia de Cadiz 2020


3.4. Existing systems North America

  • San Diego: The MTS blue line is used at night for freight for the SD&IV
  • New Jersey: River Line – diesel multiple units using main line tracks between Trenton, New Jersey and Camden, New Jersey in a time-sharing agreement with the freight companies.
  • Salt Lake City: TRAX uses former Denver and Rio Grande tracks as well as street trackage to service Salt Lake City. Between the hours of midnight and six in the morning, Union Pacific freight trains use much of the trackage, up to just past 2500 S to service a number of industries along the line.
  • Pennsylvania: Norristown High Speed Line - fully grade-separated interurban railway running between Norristown, Pennsylvania and Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania.
  • Oceanside: – Escondido: Sprinter uses track also used by BNSF for freight at night in the Escondido branch and also share track with Coaster Metrolink and Amtrak
  • Austin, Texas: Capital MetroRail – commuter rail that shares more commonality with tram-train operation, with downtown street running and usage of mainline track. Uses diesel multiple units.


4.1. Proposed systems Asia

  • Haifa–Nazareth, Israel
  • Keelung–Taipei, Taiwan.

> > Announced TWD$8.000 million approximately USD$255 million budget approval by Taiwan central government,2017 Mar. Proposed detail> > #Length:19km, #Max Speed: 70-100km/hr, #Station numbers: 9 stations, #Gauge: 1067mm, to fit with existing gauge specification of Taiwan railroad, #Estimated complete:2022


4.2. Proposed systems Europe

  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Erlangen, Germany – an extension of StraSenbahn Nurnberg not initially planned to use mainline rail tracks but proposed to do so in the future. The planned line to Herzogenaurach replicates a former mainline rail line
  • TramCamp, Camp de Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Braunschweig, Germany
  • Kosice, Slovakia under construction, to be opened in 2020
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Linkoping, Sweden
  • Szeged, Hungary. The stretch between Szeged and Hodmezovasarhely is under construction, with a planned completion date of 2021.
  • Metro Mondego, Coimbra, Portugal
  • Kiel, Germany
  • Groningen, Netherlands
  • Porto Metro Lines B and C, Porto, Portugal
  • ile de France Paris region, France. The system is called Tram Express by the transport authority STIF: 1 line already exists Tramway Line 11 Express and 2 lines are scheduled Tramway Lines 12 Express and 13 Express. The light train rolling stock will only roll on national rail network in western Line 13 Express a short section of 3.6 km 2.2 mi is an urban tram section of the 19 km 11.8 mi line. The southern Line 12 Express is a 20 km 12.4 mi line, 10 km will be tram section and the 10 km another will roll on national rail network.
  • Metro de Sevilla. Seville has one metro line and one tram line that are not connected, but the long-term intention is to link the metro and tram systems.
  • Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Grenoble, France
  • Midland Metro extensions in the West Midlands conurbation, England
  • Wroclaw, Poland 2005 - 600 V DC/3 kV DC
  • Leon, Spain
  • Liberec - Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic
  • Riga, Latvia
  • Tampere, Finland
  • Turku, Finland
  • Manresa, Spain
  • RijnGouweLijn, Netherlands


4.3. Proposed systems United Kingdom

A two-year tram-train pilot project is being undertaken between Sheffield and Rotherham. In the initial phase, from October 2017, Stadler Citylink tram-train vehicles British Rail designation Class 399 were introduced onto the Sheffield tram network only. Late in 2018, with the completion of a chord at Tinsley connecting Rotherham Parkgate rail station with Meadowhall Interchange tram stop, the tram-train vehicles operate on national rail tracks. If the trial proves successful, similar schemes could be rolled out across the UK.

In March 2008 the UK Department for Transport released details of a plan to trial diesel tram-trains on the Penistone Line for two years starting in 2010. There was no commitment to connect them to the Sheffield tram network, and in September 2009 the idea was withdrawn as it was deemed not economically viable for a trial due to the cost of the extra development required for the diesel engines to meet the forthcoming stringent EU emission regulations. Instead single-voltage electric tram-trains will be trialled between Rotherham and Sheffield.

A tram-train trial in the Manchester area was ruled out as the Department for Transport wanted to try low-floor tram-trains, whereas Manchester Metrolink cars have high floors.

In August 2009 the Liverpool Daily Post reported that a new Merseyrail tram-train link to Liverpool John Lennon Airport was under consideration. The Merseyrail Northern Line and the City Line between Liverpool Lime Street and Liverpool South Parkway were being assessed. From South Parkway the tram-trains would transfer seamlessly to a new tramway. A link from Edge Hill in the east of the city to the Arena at Kings Dock near the city centre was also being considered.


4.4. Proposed systems South America

  • Bogota Commuter Rail RegioTram, Colombia
  • Cali, Colombia

5. Manufacturers

Models of tram designed for tram-train operation include:

  • Alstoms RegioCitadis and Citadis Dualis, derived from the Citadis
  • Siemens Avanto also called S70
  • Bombardiers Flexity Link and Flexity Swift
  • Bombardier-Adtranz A32.
  • Stadler Citylink