Light rail

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Light rail of the type TW3000 at the stop Hannover Hauptbahnhof
U-Stadtbahn logo, as used by some companies in North Rhine-Westphalia
Logo of the Stuttgart Stadtbahn

A light rail - often (especially outside the German-speaking) and Metro called (from French métro , short for [chemin de fer] métropolitain , light rail ') - is a rail system of public transport (public transport).

Concept history

There are three main periods in history. The development from the 1970s onwards in West Germany, which is a hybrid of the subway and tram , is particularly popular . While these railways in city centers or at other traffic bottlenecks mainly operate like underground railways in tunnels and in some sections also as elevated railways or in troughs , other routes have a modified, expanded tram character. A traffic separation is taken into account (see car-friendly city ); Even routes on the surface run predominantly on special railway bodies , level crossings with individual traffic are secured like a railway. These railway systems were intended as a preliminary stage for operations that would later be completely converted to independent railway bodies . Due to the high construction costs, however, this was refrained from in almost all cases (exceptions include Vienna, Brussels).

Early light rail

The term light rail came up in the second half of the 19th century and originally comes from the railroad. An alternative name is therefore city ​​railroad . As early as 1869, building officer Carl von Schwarz submitted a so-called “urban railway design” in Vienna . Thus, a name was fixed for the Viennese steam light railway , which opened in 1898 - which was replaced by the Viennese electric light rail in 1925 - which soon passed into common usage. The term was also common in Berlin by 1872 at the latest , when the plans for the Berlin Stadtbahn, which opened in 1882, became more concrete.

While in Berlin and Vienna it was a question of classic full-line railways on an independent track, a classic horse-drawn tram opened in Kassel in 1884 , which was operated by the Casseler Stadteisenbahn , a company founded in the same year . This example was followed by the Halle Stadtbahn , which opened on August 30, 1889 , again a horse-drawn tram. It received its name to distinguish it from the competing Halleschen Straßenbahn-AG and was renamed the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft Stadtbahn Halle in 1890, on the occasion of the upcoming electrification .

Similar to Kassel and Halle, further electric trams opened in the following years, where the name Stadtbahn was part of the operator's name . Including the December 30, 1896, the Berlin Union Electric Company was founded (LEL) Solinger metropolitan railway and in Austria in 1902 opened electric tram Marienbad and 1,909 electrified rail Salzburg . The first route of the Innsbruck tram, which opened in 1905, was originally called the Stadtbahn to distinguish it from the somewhat older local train to Hall .

Analogous to this, some tram joint-stock companies , which were usually recorded in two languages ​​at the time , in the transitory half of Austria-Hungary officially had the term Stadtbahn in their name at the turn of the century:

Loan of the Budapest Electric City Railroad Company dated December 31, 1908
Postcard on the occasion of the opening of the light rail in Sibiu, which was then Hungarian

Under the name Hamburg-Altonaer Stadt- und Vorortbahn , another light rail system was opened in 1906 between the former cities of Blankenese , Altona (Elbe) and Hamburg , today's S-Bahn Hamburg , although the contractually agreed electrical operation did not begin until the following year. In today's French Mulhouse , the so-called Stadtbahn Mulhouse also ran between 1907 and 1918 , but this was a trolleybus operation, then mostly called trackless railway .

A distinction between two types of systems (comparable to today's S- or U / light rail) is already found in Meyers encyclopedia of 1908: " urban railways remain either restricted to the domestic urban passenger transport, possibly along with luggage Wi suburban traffic and then in terms of their construction and Operating mode completely independent, so can be perfectly adapted to the peculiarities of urban passenger traffic; or they enable trains to and from these railways at their endpoints as at other points by means of direct connections to external long-distance and suburban railways and then take up long-distance, suburban and inner-city passenger traffic, possibly also freight traffic. "

The term S-Bahn for urban rapid transit and the white S on a green background as a symbol were not introduced until December 1930, when the electrification of the suburban network of the Berlin S-Bahn was almost complete.

Light rail as a combination of street-level and street-independent network sections

From the 1960s onwards, more and more tram routes were laid in inner cities in tunnels and in outside areas on separate routes next to the streets or between the two lanes. While barely developed tram systems with a few independently routed sections were referred to as underground trams or express trams , the term light rail initially established itself primarily for the modernized systems with a high proportion of tunnel sections. In the Cologne-Bonn area (Cologne is regarded as a model for other comparable systems) even the regional part, which was formerly operated as a railway, was named "Stadtbahn". Further developments used designations such as regional light rail or RegioTram . In French-speaking countries, comparable systems are referred to as “Métro léger” or “Prémétro”, the second term denoting the operation of the tunnel routes with trams as a forerunner of an intersection-free subway. Other countries use "Schnellstrassenbahn" (eg Dutch sneltram ).

Unspecific use of the term

In a third period of use of the term, reference is only made to the purely inner-city operation of the railways - comparable to the city ​​bus . So u. a. the traditionally built tram in Erfurt is now known as the Stadtbahn. In this sense, the term is also developing into a collective term for all inner-city rail-bound means of transport and can include street, underground and suburban railway or light rail systems based on the 1970s model (the “actual” light rail systems). A light rail is no longer a special mode of transport, but simply a city train and, at the same time, a tram, subway or suburban train.

Light rail

In the English-speaking world , the designation light rail [vehicle] (short LRV , see also Boeing LRV ) is common. However, compared to the German term Stadtbahn, it describes more different public transport systems that have higher standards compared to conventional trams, but do not meet the criteria of a fully-fledged subway. Light-rail ( Engl. Light rail) is the antithesis word to heavy rail (Engl. Heavy rail) for rapid transit and regional trains . While the latter can also run on mainline lines, light rail vehicles, like trams, mostly run on their own track network.

In its more recent meaning, Light Rail is used to characterize Light Rail Transit ( LRT ) / light rail systems, which have a higher capacity and higher speed than trams, but make do with lighter vehicles and lower demands on the safety systems than the national railway lines.

The term light-rail-transit also includes tram-train and rail-bus concepts (with their light -fueled railcars ), which in the German-speaking area are classified under the branch lines and correspond to the former category of local trains , e.g. B. the River Line in New Jersey. But not including the fall in British English with light railway designated railways .

Newer light rail routes are primarily being built for low-floor cars that harmonize with low platform heights. In addition to lower station costs, this also allows greater flexibility, because even if the LRT routes usually have their own railway bodies, street-level operation is still possible in some cases, as with classic trams. Compared to historical trams, which usually had trains with one to three cars, light rail trains are usually longer - thanks to the use of multiple controls, up to ten cars. This is also based on the fact that buses allow comparable capacity at lower system costs compared to single tram cars, so that newer LRT routes are only built when there is a corresponding number of passengers.


Most light rail systems are mixed systems that contain intersection-free sections in tunnels (subway), elevated railway sections, sections in incision or at ground level as well as classic tram routes. Light rail vehicles usually have their own track structure. Unlike the subways , which are completely separated from the rest of the traffic, they have level crossings with road traffic. Light rail lines without intersections are usually signal-secured. Tram-like routes, on the other hand, are mostly operated on sight. Light rail vehicles are often accelerated by giving priority to traffic lights at intersections.

Most older light rail systems use high-floor vehicles. All tunnel stations of these systems have elevated platforms for step-free access to the trains , which means that they can hardly be distinguished from real underground stations. Due to a mixed operation with low-floor wagons, however, in some cities such. B. Cologne did not equip all stations with elevated platforms from the start. In Duisburg trams run through the tunnel of the Stadtbahn to this day , which is why there are both high and low platform sections in the tunnel stations. Elevated platforms were also created at most of the stops along the connecting routes on the surface. In some cities, however, there are still stops on the surface without elevated platforms, be it because of mixed operation with classic tram vehicles or for reasons of space or aesthetic reasons. In the case of mixed operation with long-distance vehicles, no stepless elevated platforms can be implemented due to the different clearance profile. For stops without elevated platforms, many high-floor light rail vehicles have folding steps .

Newer light rail systems, on the other hand, are mostly operated with low-floor cars that do not require elevated platforms and also enable relatively easy boarding at poorly developed stops where there are no platforms at all . The costs for retrofitting existing roads and railways can be kept low. In Cologne , too , a decision was made in the 1990s not to equip two main lines and the associated line branches with elevated platforms and to dismantle the few elevated platforms that had already been built. However, through the use of low-floor light rail vehicles, the boundary between light rail vehicles and trams is becoming increasingly blurred, also because normal tram routes without major expansion, etc. a. the construction of elevated platforms that can be connected to tunnels. For example, the Bochum tram's tunnel section opened in 2006 is used by the low-floor lines 302 and 310 known as trams (including all other low-floor routes in the Rhein-Ruhr transport association , with the following exception), while the Dortmund -based east-west route opened in 2007 Stadtbahn is served by the low-floor light rail lines U43 and U44.

Comparison of average travel speeds

Average operating speeds in Düsseldorf in 2002:

Means of transport Average speed
tram 17 km / h
City bus 20 km / h
Regional bus 25 km / h
Light rail 29 km / h
Express bus 31 km / h
Train 39 km / h
Regional train 60 km / h
Regional Express 99 km / h


Light rail railcar in Stuttgart when changing into a tunnel
Light rail and local rail transport in Germany

City railways with tunnels

In the early 1960s, many medium-sized cities were looking for new ways to make local public transport more attractive and separate it from private transport . The city planners felt that the tram, which was swimming with the increasing car traffic, was an obstacle to traffic. A switch to pure bus transport was often not advisable because of the high number of passengers, but was carried out in many medium-sized and large cities, especially in West Germany. Cities with underground and S-Bahn systems (including Hamburg , Berlin ) replaced trams with broken traffic and built bus stations at express train stations. The construction of pure subway systems turned out to be too expensive and time-consuming, so only Munich ( Munich subway ) and Nuremberg ( Nuremberg subway ) took this route. In both cities, reduced tram networks were retained as a supplement to the subway. As an alternative model, the Stadtbahn was created, which should at least run on its own track structure, but underground in inner-city areas and could be connected to existing tram routes by ramps. This means that new tunnel sections or track beds can be integrated into existing systems very quickly. In terms of the overall network, light rail vehicles are considerably cheaper than full underground trains, as an existing tram infrastructure can continue to be used, but considerably more expensive than classic trams, as they require considerable tunnel and ramp construction as well as elevated platforms at the stops.

The first light rail network with underground lines was opened in Stuttgart in 1966 ( Stadtbahn Stuttgart ), followed at the end of 1968 by Frankfurt am Main ( Stadtbahn Frankfurt am Main ) and Cologne ( Stadtbahn Cologne as an underpaved tram). Except in Frankfurt, normal tram vehicles were used first. In Frankfurt am Main, tram-compatible light rail vehicles with folding steps (type Ptb) were used on the U5 line until 2016 . In Stuttgart, only lines converted from meter to standard gauge were referred to as Stadtbahn, meanwhile the entire network has been re-gauged.

The tunnels were therefore designed in such a way that normal trams could pass through them. Since most businesses mover carriage began, the light rail cities rose in the majority in the tunnel stations Seitenbahnsteige - first at low altitude. With the transition to special light rail vehicles (e.g. light rail vehicles B ), central platforms were increasingly installed on light rail lines . These were created as elevated platforms, the side platforms were converted into elevated platforms in almost all companies with light rail vehicles.

In the Ruhr area and Düsseldorf ( Rhein-Ruhr urban railway network ) as well as Frankfurt am Main and Stuttgart, light rail lines have the "U" in front of the line number, which is familiar from real underground systems (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg), whereby the "U" is not in must stand for 'subway' in any case: that is how it means 'independent' in Stuttgart. The entrances to the platforms or stations of the light rail vehicles are also equipped with the corresponding information sign (white U on a blue background) for advertising reasons.

In Hanover ( Stadtbahn Hanover ; opening 1975) the entrances to the underground stations and the stops on the surface are provided with an elevated platform with a modified U-sign (color contrasting the upper two ends of the U: with this "Ü" reference is therefore also made to the operator üstra Hannoversche Verkehrsbetriebe ). The remaining above-ground stops with low platforms will be equipped with elevated platforms in the long term. They are marked with the classic green and yellow "H" symbol.

In Cologne, all stops that are in the tunnel and on elevated routes, as well as those on the surface that correspond to a complete expansion according to the Stadtbahn standard, are marked with the classic blue "U". Cologne was a model for other cities, u. a. for the Bielefeld light rail . Karlsruhe is the only company to use the S-Bahn symbol on the city sections of the mixed-operation routes.

The term “Stadtbahn” has not caught on in common parlance. In large parts of the population, the networks are therefore still perceived as underground. Many companies are happy with that, as the “U-Bahn” brand has proven to be very effective in advertising and allows a reminiscence of a metropolis. On the other hand, the term “tram”, which is still used by the local population, is being massively opposed by some companies (e.g. Bielefeld).

A later transition to pure underground operation was intended for many systems (Frankfurt am Main, Hanover, Stuttgart) and has been prepared in part, but this development currently appears extremely unlikely.

In Düsseldorf ( Stadtbahn Düsseldorf ) the Wehrhahn line is operated with the Stadtbahn lines U71, U72 and U73 with low-floor vehicles, as the above-ground use of these vehicles requires less disruptive special extensions (low instead of elevated platforms) than with a conventional high-floor light rail. This can be seen, among other things, on the U78 and U79 lines, some of which are still more reminiscent of a tram than a light rail.

In Hanover, the conversion of the tram to a light rail system was largely completed in 1996, in Stuttgart this has been the case since 2008. In other cities, the traditional tram (Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Essen , Oberhausen ), but in a low-floor version, is still used in addition to the light rail . As a special feature, the light rail networks in Cologne and Düsseldorf are divided into high and low-floor networks. In Mülheim an der Ruhr , Essen and Bochum , meter-gauge sections in the tunnel are run as tram lines and are increasingly used with modern, low-floor trams, while the older high-floor cars are to be replaced in the medium term. In Duisburg , tram and light rail lines run on common routes. There the trams only have a short low-floor segment. In Bielefeld , the Stadtbahn is operated as a metro tram in meter gauge , but conversion to standard gauge would be possible.

In Dortmund, the classic tram has been replaced by a light rail since 1983. This conversion has been provisionally completed since 2008 with the commissioning of the east-west tunnel (Tunnel III). Tunnels I and II have already been upgraded to include light rail vehicles and are operated with high-floor trams of the B80C and B100S types, but the new tunnel on the east-west network uses low-floor trams of the Bombardier Flexity Classic type . As a result, boarding at the stops on the surface is already much more convenient, but the complete barrier-free expansion of these stops on the new light rail lines U43 and U44 with underground platforms will probably take until 2018.

When building tunnels, a distinction is made between building in tram style with many level crossings and branches (typical for Cologne) and building in subway style with mostly cross-free branches (Bielefeld, Stadtbahnnetz Rhein-Ruhr , Frankfurt, Hanover, Stuttgart) . The routing elements of the light rail tunnel routes largely correspond to those of a subway. However, the expansion is sometimes even more expensive, as the tunnel profile has to be kept higher than in the case of subways operated with busbars : In the tunnels, the space for the contact line systems must be built above the vehicles. Lateral busbars, as in 'real' subway systems, cannot be used, as operation of vehicles with lateral busbars or pantographs flush with the street is unacceptable for safety reasons. Overhead conductor rails suspended from the tunnel ceiling, which are more space-saving than catenary contact lines, are increasingly being used on the new lines built in recent years .

For the Frankfurt U-Bahn , DUEWAG produced two six-axle light rail prototypes for the first time in 1965 , which were largely based on the previously supplied tram cars , such as the N-car . It was first presented in 1965 at the International Transport Exhibition in Munich . The electronic control of the Simatic type and the possibility of coupling several railcars to form train sets were new . However, there was no series production. They were mainly used for driving school and test drives and only ran in regular service for a few years. They were shut down in 1976 because they could not be coupled with the U2 light rail vehicles . The experiences made with the prototypes flowed into the successor U2 , 104 copies of which were delivered to Frankfurt and were in use there until 04/2016. Also, Edmonton , Calgary and San Diego procured railcar U2 in the following period.

No light rail vehicles were built in the GDR . There they relied on classic tram networks with many lines, so that significantly better area coverage was achieved compared to light rail vehicles. New construction lines that were supposed to open up new construction areas on the outskirts of the city, however, were largely laid out with their own railway bodies and the most generous route possible.

Stadtbahn as a name for modernized tram systems

Since the mid-1990s, some pure tram operators have been calling their networks Stadtbahn. In 1996 the Erfurt tram was renamed Stadtbahn Erfurt by a resolution of the city council. The Freiburger Verkehrs AG has also started to call its trams “ Stadtbahn”. The city of Chemnitz introduced the Chemnitz Stadtbahn , based on the Chemnitz model , in which the tram runs mainly above ground and partly on railway tracks, separated from road traffic. The trams mentioned here were preceded by the construction and expansion of new routes with tracks independent of individual traffic, but no tunnel sections were planned. The maximum speed was increased (e.g. in the outskirts of Erfurt to 60 km / h), but the average speed in the city center remained low. The term now describes the purely inner-city mode of transport regardless of the mode of transport. A light rail can also simply be a tram on another level.

Tram / light rail car NGT8DD in Dresden - separated from road traffic on grass track

The vehicles continue to run on sight, but are separated from road traffic by special railway bodies and can thus compete with them like high-speed trains. In contrast to underground, suburban and railway traffic, low-floor technology is preferred . In Leipzig , three heavily frequented tram lines with largely their own tracks were expanded into light rail lines after 1990 (see Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe ). In Dresden , the low-floor wagons have been referred to as light rail vehicles since they were first delivered, and the routes have been expanded accordingly. By 2009 there are three tram lines that can compete with “classic” light rail lines, as they are mainly separated from road traffic. The aim of the Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe is an almost complete expansion of the tram routes to light rail routes.

This blurs the distinction between a streetcar or a “classic” light rail. According to this concept, which has its advantages above all in the lower construction costs compared to light rail vehicles with a stricter structural separation from road traffic, the politically failed Hamburg light rail system was also planned, which was to be partly run together with road traffic.

Regional light rail vehicles

In some cities, the network was expanded by jointly using or reactivating railway lines, for example the Kassel tram was routed to the Kassel – Naumburg railway line and led to Baunatal . In the Cologne – Bonn area , the conversion of two earlier railway lines ( Rheinuferbahn and Vorgebirgsbahn of the former Cologne-Bonn Railways ) resulted in an operational unit (high-floor lines) of the Cologne Stadtbahn with the Bonn Stadtbahn , which opened in 1974 .

Likewise in Karlsruhe with the Albtalbahn . The "Karlsruhe Model" then pointed the way. Two- system railcars are used here , which can run with 750  volts direct voltage from the tram contact line and 15  kV alternating voltage in the long-distance railway network. The railway (or S-Bahn) and tram networks are connected without having to change trains. The “Karlsruhe model”, which is often copied and sometimes varied, is referred to internationally, especially in France, mostly as a tram-train , occasionally also as a “light rail” (see above).

In the Zwickau model , only minimally adapted standard-gauge railway vehicles run on a three-rail route in the otherwise meter-gauge tram network

Kiel expands the terminology to include StadtRegionalBahn Kiel , Saarbrücken to include Saarbahn , Kassel to include RegioTram . In the course of the network expansion from urban areas into regions and the partial use of multi-system vehicles, new terms such as regional light rail, regional city ​​rail or city ​​rail, city-surrounding rail were created. Comparable expressions with historical origins are circular railway , local railway , regional tram . Similar to bus transport, “overland” has been replaced by “regional” (intercity bus → regional bus ). In Germany today, however, “ regional train ” only refers to a classic passenger train. In Zwickau , on the other hand, diesel multiple units of the Vogtlandbahn operate as regional trains on a three- rail tram route into the city center.


The following light rail systems are or were being planned:

Suggestions for other light rail systems

In addition, light rail systems are being discussed in the following cities and regions:

Discarded plans

In the following cities and regions, the tram plans already discussed have been discarded:


In Vienna there was already a combination of trams and light rail vehicles from the late 1920s to 1945. At that time, the tram line 18G , coming from the Ostbahnhof, switched to the belt line of the Vienna light rail on Gumpendorfer Strasse . The railcars used were suitable for tram and light rail operations - making this line a forerunner of modern light rail systems. Today the belt line, which runs partly as an incision line and partly on a viaduct, belongs to the underground (U6). Today it is operated with low-floor wagons.

The Badner Bahn runs between Vienna Opera and Vienna Schedifkaplatz as well as between Baden Leesdorf and Baden Josefsplatz as a tram, in the overland area between Vienna Schedifkaplatz and Baden Leesdorf as a full line on its own track.

In the greater Innsbruck area , the STB line (former name: Stubaitalbahn ) can be called a regional light rail. It runs between Fulpmes and Innsbruck-Wilten on its own track and continues its journey from there to the main station on the tracks of the Innsbruck tram, sometimes in mixed traffic. Legally, it is not a tram, but a branch line, but is operated with the same vehicles as the tram lines. The infrastructural conversion to the tram standard has been going on since 2003, it will be the north-south branch of the future T-shaped Innsbruck tram network.

Line 1 of the Graz tram runs in the direction of Mariatrost from the Hilnteich stop for the most part on its own track, as it follows the route of the formerly independent Mariatroster Bahn, which was rebuilt in 1941 and integrated into the regular tram network. Since November 2012, tram lines 1, 3, 6 and 7 have been traveling to a new underground stop at the station forecourt at Graz main train station, and a tunnel under the station belt from this stop.

The Linz tram has an inner city tunnel through which all four lines approach the main station. Two underground stations and a stop that is open at the top are also approached.


Own route of the Glattalbahn

In Switzerland , various local trains are known as Stadtbahnen. The Glattalbahn connects several communities and Kloten Airport in the north of Zurich with three lines. It represents a mixture of tram / tram and a railroad; Most of the Glattalbahn is self-routed, and the tram vehicles known as Cobra from the Zurich transport company are used as rolling stock . Another light rail is to be built on another side of Zurich with the Limmattalbahn . Various suburban lines in Basel are similar today, but the BLT still has a few single-track sections.

The Lausanne light rail (line m1) was designed as a light rail when it was built, it is largely single-track with passing points and has road crossings that are secured by rail. After the successive renewals, today the overland line 5 (from December 2013 line 215) Neuchâtel – Boudry presents itself in the same way.

Many narrow-gauge suburban railways in Switzerland have come to a light rail-like standard through expansion and modernization, but they use vehicles with the standard width for meter-gauge railways. Exceptions to this are the Forchbahn and Trogenerbahn , which run in the city center in the street area without a separate route.

The tram networks from Zurich (e.g. tunnel to Schwamendingen), Bern (e.g. line 9 to Wabern, line 6 to Worb), Geneva (mostly new routes) and Basel (e.g. Line 6 to Riehen).

The Zug Stadtbahn is actually an S-Bahn , it is operated by SBB with Stadler FLIRT . The name Stadtbahn goes back to the fact that six stations are served in the city of Zug , five of which were newly built. The distance between the stations corresponds to a tram.

Other countries

Systems similar to those in Central Europe were created partly as an in-house development, but partly also through the adoption of concepts from Austria (Unterpflasterstrassenbahn in Vienna) or Germany (Karlsruhe model). In North America, the name MetroRail (short for Metropolitan rail ) is often used, in Latin countries sometimes Métro légér / Metropolitana leggera .

Europe and North Africa

The light rail network in Newcastle upon Tyne ( Great Britain ) has existed since 1984. In addition to new tunnels, railway lines have also been included in the network. Manchester and Birmingham also received light rail systems. The name Metrotram is used for the Midland Metro Birmingham – Wolverhampton .

With the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), a system was created in London that is based on light rail technology with the corresponding vehicles, but is operated driverless and with a conductor rail - partly on former railway lines. Some of the wagons procured there have been in use for several years after being converted with drivers on Essen's standard-gauge light rail lines with overhead lines.

Tram-train of the Alicante light rail system at the Mercado (market) station opened in May 2007

In Alicante ( Spain ) an existing narrow-gauge railway line was developed into a regional urban railway system. The Alicante light rail went into operation in May 2007 with the first part of the inner city tunnel and two tunnel stations.

The Metro do Porto was created in Porto ( Portugal ) . The railway uses new tunnels in the inner city area and railway lines converted from meter to standard gauge.

Rail systems which are partially implemented as a tram and partly as underground or overhead railway or on intra-local sections of railway lines, are in some places than metro léger designated ( "Light Metro") or as a Metro tram, so that developed from an existing tram metro léger de Charleroi in Belgium , since 1985 the Métro léger de Tunis (المترو الخفيف لمدينة تونس / al-Mītrū al-chafīf al-Madīna Tūnis). The tram from Casablanca, which opened on December 12, 2012 (ترامواي الدار البيضاء / Trāmwāy ad-Dār al-Bayḍā ') is sometimes referred to as "Métro léger".

In Italy there are two tram lines that were built on old railway lines and are operated as express trams. They are known as Metrotranvia and run in Bergamo ( Bergamo – Albino light rail ) and in Cagliari ( Cagliari light rail ). The systems designed as light rail systems in Genoa and Naples in the 1980s were now operated as pure subways , i.e. the Genoa subway and line 6 of the Naples subway .

In Poland there are sections of tramway that have been upgraded and operated in two tram networks. There are two non-intersecting light rail lines in Poznan . The older of the lines in the north-west of the city, which was built partly in a cut and partly as an elevated railway, will be extended (2013) to the city center of Poznan in a cut and in a tunnel. The newer route in the south-east of the city is in the cut and in the tunnel with two glass-roofed tunnel stops. There is also a light rail line in Krakow with a tunnel and two stations. The light rail vehicles in Poznan and Krakow are operated by low-floor vehicles and are called Fast Tram ( Szybki tramwaj ). In other Polish cities, on the other hand, the routes known as fast trams are conventional tram lines with level crossings.

In the Netherlands , individual lines of the metros in Amsterdam and Rotterdam run in sections as light rail, there called Sneltram . The vehicles in the tunnel sections are supplied by a power rail, while on the tram sections, as usual, by an overhead line. As a pure light rail system, the Sneltram Utrecht is largely comparable to the high-floor networks in the Ruhr area or Cologne, but has no tunnel sections. In 2006, the RandstadRail light rail network went into operation in the The Hague region , and in addition to converted railway lines, it also uses the Hague tram network and the Rotterdam underground network.

The Volgograd Metro in Russia and the Krivoy Rog Schnellbahn in Ukraine are known as Metrotram .

In Belgrade , the Belgrade Metro , which has been planned for years , is to be built as a light rail.

On December 18, 2012, the city council of Maastricht in the Netherlands decided that the transnational project “Tramverbinding Vlaanderen-Maastricht” should be implemented. It is a link between the Hasselt centers in Belgium and Maastricht in the Netherlands. Between the cities it takes on tasks such as the Euregiobahn in Aachen , within the towns it travels to the city center like the planned Aachen campus train . Most of the route is on Belgian territory. This part is part of the 300 million Spartacus plan, which is intended to bring a series of improvements in regional transport in Belgian Limburg. The decision for the project is to be made in 2013 in Belgian Limburg. This would then set the course for the new project, and if everything went according to plan, the first light rail system would roll through Maastricht and Hasselt as early as 2018.

In Denmark there were tram operations in the three cities of Copenhagen , Aarhus and Odense , which were closed between 1952 and 1972. In the 21st century, the construction of light rail vehicles under the name Letbane (light rail) began for all three cities . The first to go into operation in December 2017 was the 107 km Aarhus light rail system (modeled on the Kassel RegioTram ). The Odense Letbane is to follow in 2020, the Copenhagen light rail in 2023/24 Template: future / in 3 years.

North America

Siemens-Duewag U2 railcars in Calgary

In the 1970s and 1980s, systems with German vehicle technology ( Frankfurt type U2 ) were created. A first network was opened in 1978 in Edmonton , Canada , and one in Calgary was opened in the same province in 1981 . Likewise, a light rail with German vehicles was opened in San Diego in 1981 . This was later followed by St. Louis (with tunnels), Baltimore , Salt Lake City , Denver , Dallas and Jersey City (across from New York City ) and other cities. The light rail networks in Pittsburgh , Newark , New Jersey and San Francisco were developed from existing tram routes . New light rail networks with German technical parameters with tunnels were also built in the Mexican cities of Mexico City , Guadalajara and Monterrey . In 2005, a light rail system with an airport connection was opened in Minneapolis . In Houston , Texas, a light railway has been running 12 km through downtown since 2004. In 2009, the Link Light Rail light rail opened in Seattle . The special feature of this is that an inner city tunnel is used in mixed operation by light rail vehicles and duo buses . Another light rail system runs in San José .

The green line of the Boston Metro ( light rail ) could be described as a light rail, since here trams in the inner city area in tunnels, otherwise as trams. The line was opened in 1897/1898 and was the first tram in the world to travel in a tunnel.


The London Docklands model was recreated in the Turkish capital Ankara using the “Ankaray” system. Further light rail systems were installed in Istanbul , Izmir , Bursa and Antalya .

In East Asia, the Philippine capital Manila received a light rail system . This was built practically without intersections and is operated with vehicles of the Belgian standard tram design ( Liège , Ostend ) and vehicles from the Czech manufacturer ČKD Tatra .

In 2011, the second section of the Mecca Metro went into operation in Saudi Arabia .

See also

Web links

Portal: U-Bahn und Stadtbahnen  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of subways and light rail vehicles
Wiktionary: Stadtbahn  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Metro - Duden , Bibliographisches Institut, 2016
  2. New Viennese suburb line . Brochure on the recommissioning of the suburban line in 1987, published by the Austrian Federal Railways and the Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region, unpaginated, Vienna 1987.
  3. Berlin light rail. In: Viktor von Röll (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Railway System . 2nd Edition. Volume 2: Building Design - Brazil . Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin / Vienna 1912, p.  246 .
  4. The Innsbruck light rail on
  5. ^ Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, Volume 18, Leipzig 1909, pp. 828/829 ( text and facsimile )
  6. Office for Traffic Management - State Capital Düsseldorf: Local Transport Plan 2002–2007, Düsseldorf 2003, p. 45. (PDF; 8.1 MB) Detail page no longer available October 12, 2017.
  7. ^ Michael Gerster: U for Independent: Stuttgart as a light rail construction site. In: Stuttgarter Nachrichten , September 28, 2010, accessed on March 7, 2019 .
  9. Procedure. In: Retrieved October 18, 2018 .
  10. Unofficial page on the concept of the Bremerhaven Stadtbahn
  11. Article from the Nordsee-Zeitung from August 28, 2013: "The dream of the train" ( Memento from August 29, 2013 in the web archive )
  12. Unofficial page on the concept of the Dortmund-Hamm urban railway
  13. Unofficial page on the concept of the Fürth Stadtbahn
  14. Newspaper article from January 31, 2011 on the concept of the Fürth Stadtbahn
  15. Newspaper article from April 24, 2012 on the concept of the Geesthacht-Hamburg tram ( Memento from May 3, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Newspaper article from May 13, 2012 on the concept of the Geesthacht-Hamburg tram
  17. Newspaper article from October 30, 2012 on the concept of the Geesthacht-Hamburg tram ( Memento from November 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  18. Newspaper article from November 7, 2012 on the concept of the Geesthacht-Hamburg tram
  19. Newspaper article from November 26, 2012 on the concept of the Geesthacht-Hamburg tram
  20. Newspaper article from August 31, 2010 on the concept of the Göttingen Stadtbahn
  21. Traffic master plan of the city of Hamm Part 1 (contains urban tram plans, see page 16)
  22. ^ Request from the Greens of October 6, 2011 to investigate a light rail in Ingolstadt ( Memento of June 30, 2013 in the web archive )
  23. ^ Page no longer available , search in web archives: Newspaper article from October 7, 2011 on the investigation of a light rail in Ingolstadt@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  24. ^ Unofficial page on the concept of the Lübeck Stadtbahn ( Memento from March 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  25. Page no longer available , search in web archives: Unofficial page on the concept of the Münster city railway (Westphalia)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  26., light rail will connect Gievenbeck with the City, Westfälische Nachrichten of February 8, 2017
  27. ^, Stadtbahn for Münster? WDR Nachrichten, Westphalia-Lippe, February 7, 2017
  28. Unofficial page on the concept of the Osnabrück Stadtbahn ( Memento from July 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  29. Unofficial page on the concept of the Passau Stadtbahn (PDF; 5.6 MB)
  30. Newspaper article from January 18, 2010 on the concept of the Pforzheim Stadtbahn
  31. Newspaper article from January 25, 2011 on the concept of the Pforzheim Stadtbahn
  32. ^ Concept study for the Regio-Stadtbahn Regensburg ( Memento from March 16, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  33. ^ Unofficial page on the concept of the Rosenheim Stadtbahn
  34. Unofficial page about the Trier tram ( memento from March 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  35. Official website for the Trier light rail concept
  36. Official website for the Trier light rail concept
  37. Official website for the Trier light rail concept
  38. Unofficial page on the concept of the Tuttlingen Stadtbahn
  39. Newspaper article from June 6, 2007 on the concept of the Wolfsburg Stadtbahn
  40. Newspaper article from June 13, 2007 on the concept of the Wolfsburg Stadtbahn
  41. Newspaper article from February 12, 2008 on the concept of the Wolfsburg Stadtbahn
  42. Article from the magazine Straßenbahn Magazin on the plans of the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Transport for the revitalization of the former tram / light rail in Paderborn
  43. Article from the Aachener Zeitung from December 19, 2012: "Council puts the campus train on the rails"
  44. Article from the Aachener Zeitung from December 19, 2012: "City council wants campus train"
  45. ^ Unofficial page on the concept of the Flensburg Stadtbahn from the website of the PRO BAHN regional association of Schleswig-Holstein / Hamburg
  46. Page no longer available , search in web archives: Unofficial page on the Hanau tram@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  47. Unofficial page about the Iserlohn – Hemer – Menden tram ( memento from June 19, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  48. ^ Unofficial page on the concept of the Marburg Stadtbahn
  49. Local transport plan of the Märkisches Kreis 1998.
  50. Newspaper article on the concept of the Ratingen Stadtbahn
  51. ^ Unofficial page on the concept of the Rostock Stadtbahn
  53. Line changes ( Memento from September 21, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  54. Press release two days before the tram opens in Casablanca ( Memento from February 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  55. ^ Tram Casablanca, first interim balance after six weeks of operation ( Memento from January 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  56. Article from of January 21, 2013: "The campus railway is getting company in Maastricht and Liège" ( Memento of February 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  57. Sporvejsdriften i Århus , accessed on December 31, 2014 (Danish)
  58. Odense Sporvej , accessed December 31, 2014 (Danish)
  59. Letbaner.DK , accessed December 31, 2014 (Danish)
  60. ^ Light Rail Transit in Edmonton ., accessed on July 1, 2013 (English).
  61. ^ Calgary Transit ., accessed on July 1, 2013 (English).