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The City Class Tram

Through low initial cost, low maintenance cost and low whole life cost the City Class tram provides a highly efficient and economic public transport vehicle able to compete with buses on operating costs and match other rapid transit modes for speed and comfort.

The light weight of the City Class tram reduces power consumption, which over the life of the tram will save more in electricity costs than the initial purchase price. Also this has significant cost benefits with much reduced infrastructure maintenance requirements.

The original design brief was a tram which would have a lower operating cost than a bus. The design was encouraged by Blackpool Transport Services Ltd, who consider that the present generation of new trams are too expensive to buy and who face increasing difficulty in maintaining a tram fleet with an average age of 60 years.

The Tram Power concept is based on an academic paper by Professor Lesley in 1987 and was patented in 1993. The design concept includes an innovative powered bogie, where the 3 phase AC motor is body mounted and the motive power is transferred to the bogie, by a modified HGV prop shaft and axle combination. Successful trials were held during 1994 to 1997 at Blackpool running the new powered bogie on an existing 1933 tram.

A full scale 29 metre long 22 ton prototype based on low floor design, incorporating the new bogies, was tested at Blackpool between 1998 and 2000. The original prototype has been substantially refurbished and has been tested with HMRI consent on the Birkenhead  and Blackpool tramways. Current photos of the tram can be found in our image gallery.

Artists view of the new City Class Tram

The City Class tram is a lightweight modular electric rail vehicle, exploiting cost effective components off the shelf (COTS). A single vehicle can be between 2400 mm (7ft 10) and 3500 mm (9ft 10) wide and between 16000 mm (52ft 6) and 38000 mm (125ft) long.The body is designed around interchangeable modules 1500 mm (5ft) long, which can have window or door units. The vehicle may be customised by front end design. We have registered international patents for this technology.
Advantages of the City Class Tram are:

  • TRAM Power low track force bogie (2200 kg / 4830 lb), indivudual resilient wheels.
  • Integral body fabricated from rustless steel (long life > 30 years).
  • Body mounted traction motors - easy maintenance.
  • Timoshenko crash worthy cab, with driver survival zone.
  • Equipped with all modern passenger facilities.
  • Easy mid-life modification and upgrade.
  • Low floor (300 mm / 12") or high floor (760 mm / 30") options.
  • No equipment inside passenger saloon - full width flat floor.
  • High passenger capacity (eg. 200 in 29m / 95ft articulated vehicle).
  • On board power supercaps or batteries can also be supplied.
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