Rubber-tyred metro

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The bogie of an MP 05, showing the flanged steel wheel inside the rubber tyred one, as well as the vertical contact shoe on top of the steel rail.
Bogie from an MP 89 Paris Métro rolling stock
Rubber tyres of the train, as well as roll ways and guide bars of the Montréal Métro train track[1]
Lausanne Metro line M2 based on MP 89 (Paris Métro)
NS93 (based on MP 89 (Paris Métro)) in 5-Line of Santiago Metro combines rubber tire traction with elevated right-of-way

A rubber-tyred metro is a form of rapid transit system that uses a mix of road and rail technology. The vehicles have wheels with rubber tires which run on rolling pads inside guide bars for traction, as well as traditional railway steel wheels with deep flanges on steel tracks for guidance through conventional switches as well as guidance in case a tyre fails. Most rubber-tyred trains are purpose-built and designed for the system on which they operate. Guided buses are sometimes referred to as 'trams on tyres', and compared to rubber-tyred metros.

History[edit]

An MP 73 Paris Métro rolling stock

The first idea for rubber-tyred railway vehicles was the work of Scotsman Robert William Thomson, the original inventor of the pneumatic tyre. In his patent of 1846[2] he describes his 'Aerial Wheels' as being equally suitable for, "the ground or rail or track on which they run".[3] The patent also included a drawing of such a railway, with the weight carried by pneumatic main wheels running on a flat board track and guidance provided by small horizontal steel wheels running on the sides of a central vertical guide rail.[3]

During the World War II German occupation of Paris, the Metro system was used to capacity, with relatively little maintenance performed. At the end of the war, the system was so worn out that thought was given as to how to renovate it. Rubber-tyred metro technology was first applied to the Paris Métro, developed by Michelin, who provided the tyres and guidance system, in collaboration with Renault, who provided the vehicles. Starting in 1951, an experimental vehicle, the MP 51, operated on a test track between Porte des Lilas and Pré Saint Gervais, a section of line not open to the public.

Line 11 Châtelet - Mairie des Lilas was the first line to be converted, in 1956, chosen because of its steep grades. This was followed by Line 1 Château de Vincennes - Pont de Neuilly in 1964, and Line 4 Porte d'Orléans - Porte de Clignancourt in 1967, converted because they had the heaviest traffic load of all Paris Métro lines. Finally, Line 6 Charles de Gaulle - Étoile - Nation was converted in 1974 to cut down train noise on its many elevated sections. Because of the high cost of converting existing rail-based lines, this is no longer done in Paris, nor elsewhere; now rubber-tyred metros are used in new systems or lines only, including the new Paris Métro Line 14.

The first completely rubber-tyred metro system was built in Montreal, Canada, in 1966. Santiago Metro and Mexico City Metro are based on Paris Métro rubber-tyred trains. A few more recent rubber-tyred systems have used automated, driverless trains; one of the first such systems, developed by Matra, opened in 1983 in Lille, and others have since been built in Toulouse and Rennes. Paris Metro Line 14 was automated from its beginning (1998), and Line 1 was converted to automatic in 2007-2011. The first automated rubber-tyred system opened in Kobe, Japan, in February 1981. It is the Portliner linking Sanomiya railway station with Port Island.

Technology[edit]

Sapporo Subway guide rail and flat steel roll ways

Overview[edit]

5000 series central rail-guided rubber-tyred rolling stock operated by Sapporo City Transportation Bureau, Japan, and built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company

The vehicle is in the form of an electric multiple unit, with power supplied by both of the guide bars, which thus also serves as the third rail (the current is not picked up through the horizontal wheels, but through a separate lateral pickup shoe). The return current passes through a return shoe to the top of one, or both of the rails, or to the other guide bar, depending on the type of system.

The type of guideway used on a system varies between networks. Two parallel roll ways, each the width of a tyre, are used, either of concrete (Montreal Metro, Lille Metro, Toulouse Metro, most parts of Santiago Metro), concrete slab (Busan Subway Line 4), H-Shape hot rolled steel (Paris Métro, Mexico City Metro, the non-underground section of Santiago Metro), or flat steel (Sapporo Municipal Subway). As on a railway, the driver does not have to steer, because the system relies on a redundant system of railway steel wheels with flanges on steel rail tracks. The Sapporo system is an exception as it uses a central guide rail only.[4] The VAL system used in Lille and Toulouse has conventional track between the guide bars.

On some systems (such as Paris, Montreal, and Mexico City) there is a 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge railway track between the roll ways and the vehicles also have railway wheels with larger (taller) than normal flanges, but these are normally at some distance above the rails and are used only in the case of a flat tyre and at switches/points and crossings. In Paris these rails were also used to enable mixed traffic with rubber-tyred and steel-wheeled trains using the same track, particularly during conversion from normal railway track. Other systems (e.g. Lille and Toulouse) have other sorts of flat tyre compensation and switching methods.

Rubber-tyres have higher rolling resistance when compared to traditional steel wheels, which leads to some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages[edit]

MPL-85 rolling stock in Lyon métro

Compared to steel wheel on steel rail, the advantages of rubber-tyred metro systems are:

  • Smoother rides (with little jostling around).[5]
  • Faster acceleration and higher speed, along with the ability to climb or descend steeper slopes (~gradient 13%) than would be feasible with conventional rail tracks, which would likely need a rack instead.[1]
    • For example, the rubber-tyred Line 2 of the Lausanne Metro has grades of up to 12%.[6]
  • Shorter braking distances, allowing trains to be signalled closer together.
  • Quieter rides in open air (both inside and outside the train).
  • Greatly reduced rail wear with resulting reduced maintenance costs of those parts.

Disadvantages[edit]

The higher friction and increased rolling resistance cause disadvantages (compared to steel wheel on steel rail):

  • Higher energy consumption.
  • Possibility of tyre blow-outs - not possible in railway wheels.
  • Hotter operation.
  • Weather variance. (Applicable only to above-ground installations)
    • Loss of the traction-advantage in inclement weather (snow and ice).[2]
  • Same expense of steel rails for switching purposes, to provide electricity or grounding to the trains and as a safety backup.[3]
  • Tyres which frequently need to be replaced; contrary to rails using steel wheels, which need to be replaced less often. [4]
  • Creation of air pollution; tyres break down during use and turn into particulate matter (dust), which can be hazardous.[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rubber-tyred wheels have better adhesion than traditional rail wheels. However, modern steel-on-steel rolling stock using distributed-traction with a high-proportion of powered axles, have narrowed the gap to the performance found in rubber-tyred rolling stock.
  2. ^ In order to reduce weather disruption, the Montreal Metro runs completely underground. On Paris Métro Line 6, upgrades of tyres (as used with cars) and special ribbed tracks have been tried out. The southernmost section of the Sapporo Municipal Subway Namboku Line is also elevated, but is covered by an aluminum shelter to reduce weather disruption.
  3. ^ In effect, there are two systems running in parallel so it is more expensive to build, install and maintain.
  4. ^ Since rubber tyres have higher wear rates, they need more frequent replacement. Although steel wheels set is more expensive than tyres, the frequency of their respective replacements makes rubber tyres the more expensive option. Rubber tyres for guidance are needed.

Although it is a more complex technology, most rubber-tyred metro systems use quite simple techniques, in contrary to guided buses. Heat dissipation is an issue as eventually all traction energy consumed by the train — except the electric energy regenerated back into the substation during electrodynamic braking — will end up in losses (mostly heat). In frequently operated tunnels (typical metro operation) the extra heat from rubber tyres is a widespread problem, necessitating ventilation of the tunnels.

Similar technologies[edit]

Automated driverless systems are not exclusively rubber-tyred; many have since been built using conventional rail technology, such as London's Docklands Light Railway, the Copenhagen metro and Vancouver's SkyTrain, the Disneyland Resort Line which uses converted rolling stocks from non-driverless trains, as well as AirTrain JFK which links JFK Airport in New York City with local subway and commuter trains. Most monorail manufacturers prefer rubber tyres.

List of systems[edit]

Elevated section of Rennes metro
Track of Singapore LRT
Country/Region City/Region System Technology Year opened
 Canada Montreal Montreal Metro Michelin 1966
 Chile Santiago Santiago Metro (Lines 1, 2 and 5) Michelin 1975
 People's Republic of China Guangzhou Zhujiang New Town Automated People Mover System Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 100 2010
Hong Kong (Chek Lap Kok Airport) Automated People Mover Mitsubishi / Ishikawajima-Harima 1998
 France Lille Lille Metro VAL 206, 208 1983
Lyon Lyon Metro (Lines A, B, and D) Michelin 1978
Marseille Marseille Metro Michelin 1977
Paris Paris Métro (Lines 1, 4, 6, 11, and 14) Michelin 19581
Paris (Orly Airport) Orlyval VAL 206 1991
Paris (Charles de Gaulle Airport) CDGVAL VAL 208 2007
Rennes Rennes Metro VAL 208 2002
Toulouse Toulouse Metro VAL 206, 208 1993
 Germany Frankfurt Airport SkyLine Inter-terminal Shuttle Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 100 (as Adtranz CX-100) 1994
 Italy Turin Metrotorino VAL 208 2006
 Japan Hiroshima Hiroshima Rapid Transit (Astram Line) Kawasaki / Mitsubishi / Niigata Transys 1994
Kobe Kobe New Transit (Port Island Line / Rokkō Island Line) Kawasaki 1981 (Port Island Line)
1990 (Rokkõ Island Line)
Osaka Nankō Port Town Line Niigata Transys 1981
Saitama New Shuttle 1983
Sapporo Sapporo Municipal Subway Kawasaki 1971
Tokyo Yurikamome Mitsubishi / Niigata Transys / Nippon Sharyo / Tokyu 1995
Nippori-Toneri Liner Niigata Transys 2008
Tokorozawa / Higashimurayama Seibu Yamaguchi Line Niigata Transys 1985
Sakura Yamaman Yūkarigaoka Line 1982
Yokohama Kanazawa Seaside Line Mitsubishi / Niigata Transys / Nippon Sharyo / Tokyu 1989
 Republic of Korea Busan Busan Subway Line 4 Woojin 2011
Uijeongbu U Line VAL 208 2012
 Mexico Mexico City Mexico City Metro (All lines except A & 12) Michelin 1969
 Singapore Singapore Light Rail Transit Bombardier / Mitsubishi 1999
  Switzerland Lausanne Lausanne Metro Line M2 Michelin 2008
 Taiwan Taipei Taipei Metro Brown Line Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 256
VAL 256
1996
Taoyuan Airport Inter-terminal Shuttle N/A
 UAE Dubai Dubai Airport Rapid Transit 2013
 United Kingdom Gatwick Airport Terminal-Rail Shuttle Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 100 1988
Stansted, Essex (Stansted Airport) Stansted Airport Transit System Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 100 1991
 United States Chicago, Illinois (O'Hare) Airport Transit System VAL 256 1993
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (DFW Airport) DFW Skylink Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 200 2007
Houston, Texas (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) Skyway Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 100 1999
Miami, Florida Metromover Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 100 1986
Phoenix, Arizona (Sky Harbor International Airport) PHX Sky Train Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 200 2013
San Francisco, California (SFO Airport) AirTrain (SFO) Bombardier's INNOVIA APM 100 2003

1The system opened in 1901, but was not converted to a rubber-tyred system until 1958.

Under construction[edit]

Country/Region City/Region System
 Indonesia Bandung[8] Metro Kapsul Bandung with domestic driverless rubber-tyred technology
 People's Republic of China  Macau Macau Light Transit System

Planned[edit]

Country/Region City/Region System
 Republic of Korea Suwon[citation needed] one line, name not yet announced
Gwangmyeong[citation needed] one line, name not yet announced
 Turkey Istanbul[citation needed] Istanbul Metro, 3 lines, name not yet announced
Ankara[citation needed] Ankara Metro, some new lines, names not yet announced

Defunct systems[edit]

Country/Region City/Region System Technology Year opened Year closed
 France Laon Poma 2000 Cable-driven 1989 2016
 Japan Komaki Peachliner Mitsubishi 1991 2006

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Metro track
  2. ^ GB 10 June 1846 10990 
  3. ^ a b Tompkins, Eric (1981). "1: Invention". The History of the Pneumatic Tyre. Dunlop Archive Project. pp. 2–4. ISBN 0-903214-14-8. 
  4. ^ "UrbanRail.Net > Asia > Japan > Sapporo Subway (Metro)". www.urbanrail.net. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  5. ^ http://mic-ro.com/metro/rubber-tyred.html
  6. ^ http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/features/metro/story.html?id=c84a8361-0981-403c-b6df-8ce82fc71db2
  7. ^ W. R. Pierson and Wanda W. Brachaczek (1974) Airborne Particulate Debris from Rubber Tires. Rubber Chemistry and Technology: November 1974, Vol. 47, No. 5, pp. 1275-1299.
  8. ^ "Wow! 2017, Kota Bandung Mulai Membangun Metro Kapsul". Retrieved April 5, 2017. 
  • Bindi, A. & Lefeuvre, D. (1990). Le Métro de Paris: Histoire d'hier à demain, Rennes: Ouest-France. ISBN 2-7373-0204-8. (in French)
  • Gaillard, M. (1991). Du Madeleine-Bastille à Météor: Histoire des transports Parisiens, Amiens: Martelle. ISBN 2-87890-013-8. (in French)

External links[edit]