From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A tram-train on railway
Stadtbahn on main-line railway
A tram-train on street
Kassel RegioTram dual voltage DC/AC Alstom RegioCitadis next to a KVG Bombardier Flexity Classic tram at Königsplatz
A tram-train on railway
Kassel RegioTram dual mode diesel/electric Alstom RegioCitadis approaching Wolfhagen using diesel power, on main-line railway
A tram-train on street
A "DUO" Combino on the Nordhausen urban tramway, where it is electrically powered via overhead wires.
A tram-train at a railway station
A Nordhausen "DUO" Combino at Ilfeld station on the HSB (Harzer Schmalspurbahn) rural railway, where it is powered by an onboard diesel engine.

A tram-train is a type of light rail vehicle that meets the standards of a light rail system (usually an urban street running tramway), but which also meets national mainline standards permitting operation alongside mainline trains. This allows services that can utilise both existing urban light rail systems and mainline railway networks and stations. It combines the urban accessibility of a tram or light rail with a mainline train's greater speed in the suburbs.[1]

The modern tram-train concept was pioneered by the German city of Karlsruhe in the late 1980s,[2] resulting in the creation of the Karlsruhe Stadtbahn. This concept is often referred to as the Karlsruhe model,[1] and it has since been adopted in other cities such as Mulhouse in France[1] and in Kassel, Nordhausen and Saarbrücken in Germany.[2]

An inversion of the concept is a train-tram; a mainline train adapted to run on-street in an urban tramway, also known as the Zwickau Model.


The tram-train often is a type of interurban[3] — that is, they link separate towns or cities, according to George W. Hilton and John F. Due's definition.[4]

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 Saarbrücken systems use "PZB" or "Indusi" automatic train protection, so that if the driver passes a signal at stop the emergency brakes are applied.


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. The first interurban to emerge in the United States was the Newark and Granville Street Railway in Ohio, which opened in 1889. In 1924, in Hobart, Australia, sharing of tracks between trams and trains was proposed.[5]

The difference between modern tram-trains and the older interurban 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.

Existing systems[edit]













United Kingdom[edit]

North America[edit]

Proposed systems[edit]


  • The October 6th Tram system (The O6T), Cairo, Egypt




South America[edit]


Models of tram designed for tram-train operation include:


The Zwickau Model has main-line lightweight diesel tram-trains running through urban streets.


North America[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Tram-train: Making new connections". Tramways & Urban Transit. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Uk tram-train: Learning lessons". Tramways & Urban Transit. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  3. ^ "UrbanRail.Net > Europe > Germany > Hessen > Kassel Tram / Straßenbahn".
  4. ^ Hilton, George Woodman; Due, John Fitzgerald (2000) [1960]. The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press. Original preface, 1960 page ix.
  5. ^ "TRAMS AND TRAINS". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 12 February 1924. p. 6. Retrieved 21 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "TRAUNSEETRAM - Stern & Hafferl Verkehr".
  7. ^ "Aarhus tram-train project gets the go-ahead". Railway Gazette International. 10 May 2012.
  8. ^ Haydock, David (April 2011). "France's first real tram train". Today's Railways. Platform 5 Publishing Ltd. pp. 37–40.
  9. ^ "Tram-Train for Haifa-Nazareth.(Transit News)". Archived from the original on 2014-06-29.
  10. ^ Place North West (7 January 2019). "Metrolink heads to Stalybridge and Middleton in 2040 expansion". Archived from the original on 1 March 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Planovane-modernizacie-elektrickovych-trati-MET-a-Integrovany-dopravny-system-IDS" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Agency Strategic Initiative" (PDF).
  13. ^ "Jöhet a Szeged-Szabadka tram-train, megjelent a tender – Szegedi hírek". Szeged365 (in Hungarian). 2021-12-02. Retrieved 2022-01-04.
  14. ^ "Szeged-Makó elővárosi közösségi közlekedés vizsgálata - Döntéselőkészítő Tanulmány (Közlekedés - Pro-Urbe - V-Plan - Uvaterv - Unitef)". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  15. ^ Archived July 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "El tren tranvía ya tiene la firma para arrancar - Cali - Colombia - ELTIEMPO.COM".

External links[edit]