UAE: Dubai Tram's Technical Trial Run Takes Off Smoothly

Jan. 27--Dubai Tram is expected to transport about 27,000 riders per day at the start of operations in the initial phase in 2014.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) on Sunday began the technical trial run of the Dubai Tram, considered the world's first tramway project powered by a ground-based electric supply system extending along the track. Dubai Tram is expected to transport about 27,000 riders per day at the start of operations in the initial phase in 2014. The ridership is estimated to hit 66,000 riders per day by 2020.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, said Sunday's test runs encompassed the 2.5km stretch from Al Sofouh to Zone 1. "We conducted the trial run to ensure the readiness of the train along with the functioning and performance of all control systems under all conditions. The technical trial run is a milestone in the construction of the Dubai tram project. It will continue without passengers till the official operation of the tram service in the final quarter of this year. The test track will be expanded in the near future to cover the entire tramway," he said.

He said the tests covered a wide range of issues such as the air-conditioning system, electrical feed and braking system, coupling of tram coaches, disconnecting power supply, rail surveillance and control system, and testing the train under normal as well as emergency conditions. "The tram moved smoothly without wobbling or noises as it is powered by ground electrical feed stretching along the track. The Dubai Tram is considered the first of its type outside Europe powered by ground feed with no catenary cables involved," said Al Tayer.

Road users will now see the Dubai tram on the move on road sides at Al Sofouh, Jumeirah Beach Residence and the Marina. The tram track will intersect with vehicular and pedestrian traffic at certain points which requires motorists in particular and road users in general to be more attentive and aware of the rules and regulations governing the tram operation. "All must follow the directional signage in place to ensure streamlined traffic movement," said Al Tayer.

During the test run, the tram moved at varying speeds and tests were conducted covering the safety systems, power propulsion of tram carriages, brake system, sudden braking during emergencies, ground electrical feed along the tram track, overhead power feed used in the depot, and the tram's doors operation.

The Dubai Tram, also known as Al Sofouh Tram, is the world's first tramway that uses Platform Screen Doors in passenger stations fully synchronised with the tram's doors opening and shutting mechanism, providing maximum convenience, safety and security for passengers, and at the same time protecting the quality of the air-conditioning in the interior of both stations and carriages from external climatic conditions.

He said the Dubai tramway extends 14.6km alongside Al Sofouh Road, and the initial phase of the project envisages the construction of a 10.6km-long track starting from the Dubai Marina and stretching up to the Tram Depot near Dubai Police Academy.

The tram network comprises 17 passenger stations, 11 of which are covered under Phase I and spread across activity and population density areas along the tramway. Fourteen trams will be added in Phase II to make a total of 25 operating trams.

Each of the 11 trams measures 44 meters in length and has a capacity to accommodate about 300 riders. The tram has a First Class (Gold Suite) and one cabin designated for ladies and children as well as a Silver Class cabin. The tram's carriages and stations will have deluxe interior finishing, and feature state-of-the-art technologies in the transmission and display of entertainment materials.

The track extends at grade level along Al Sufouh Road but rises in an elevated section passing across certain parts of Dubai Marina due to the urban constructions in the locality. Al Tayer said that the tram links up with the metro system at two stations, namely Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lakes Towers via footbridges to facilitate the mobility and exchange of passengers between the two transit modes. "It will also be linked with the Monorail of The Palm Jumeirah at the entrance of the Palm from Al Sofouh Road to facilitate passenger movement between districts served by both modes."

The Dubai Tram testing schedule started with Zone 1. It will continue to Zone 2 by April 16 then to Zone 3 by June 14 until November 10 this year.

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Copyright 2014 - Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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