Light rail, light rail transit, or fast tram is a form of urban rail transit using rolling stock similar to a tramway, but operating at a higher capacity, on an exclusive right-of-way. There is no standard definition, but in the United States, light rail operates along exclusive rights-of-way and uses either individual tramcars or multiple units coupled to form a train, lower capacity and lower speed than a long heavy-rail passenger train or metro system. A few light rail networks tend to have characteristics closer to rapid transit or commuter rail. Other light rail networks are tram-like in nature and operate on streets. Light rail systems are found on all inhabited continents, they have been popular in recent years due to their lower capital costs and increased reliability compared with heavy rail systems. Many original tram and streetcar systems in the United Kingdom, United States, elsewhere were decommissioned starting in the 1950s as the popularity of the automobile increased. Britain abandoned its last tram system, except for Blackpool, by 1962.
Although some traditional trolley or tram systems exist to this day, the term "light rail" has come to mean a different type of rail system. Modern light rail technology has West German origins, since an attempt by Boeing Vertol to introduce a new American light rail vehicle was a technical failure. After World War II, the Germans retained many of their streetcar networks and evolved them into model light rail systems. Except for Hamburg, all large and most medium-sized German cities maintain light rail networks; the basic concepts of light rail were put forward by H. Dean Quinby in 1962 in an article in Traffic Quarterly called "Major Urban Corridor Facilities: A New Concept". Quinby distinguished this new concept in rail transportation from historic streetcar or tram systems as: having the capacity to carry more passengers appearing like a train, with more than one car connected together having more doors to facilitate full utilization of the space faster and quieter in operationThe term light rail transit was introduced in North America in 1972 to describe this new concept of rail transportation.
The first of the new light rail systems in North America began operation in 1978 when the Canadian city of Edmonton, adopted the German Siemens-Duewag U2 system, followed three years by Calgary and San Diego, California. The concept proved popular, although Canada has few cities big enough for light rail, there are now at least 30 light rail systems in the United States. Britain began replacing its run-down local railways with light rail in the 1980s, starting with the Tyne and Wear Metro and followed by the Docklands Light Railway in London; the historic term light railway was used because it dated from the British Light Railways Act 1896, although the technology used in the DLR system was at the high end of what Americans considered to be light rail. The trend to light rail in the United Kingdom was established with the success of the Manchester Metrolink system in 1992; the term light rail was coined in 1972 by the U. S. Urban Mass Transportation Administration to describe new streetcar transformations that were taking place in Europe and the United States.
In Germany the term Stadtbahn was used to describe the concept, many in UMTA wanted to adopt the direct translation, city rail. However, UMTA adopted the term light rail instead. Light in this context is used in the sense of "intended for light loads and fast movement", rather than referring to physical weight; the infrastructure investment is usually lighter than would be found for a heavy rail system. The Transportation Research Board defined "light rail" in 1977 as "a mode of urban transportation utilizing predominantly reserved but not grade-separated rights-of-way. Electrically propelled. LRT provides a wide range of passenger capabilities and performance characteristics at moderate costs." The American Public Transportation Association, in its Glossary of Transit Terminology, defines light rail as:...a mode of transit service operating passenger rail cars singly on fixed rails in right-of-way, separated from other traffic for part or much of the way. Light rail vehicles are driven electrically with power being drawn from an overhead electric line via a trolley or a pantograph.
However, some diesel-powered transit is designated light rail, such as the O-Train Trillium Line in Ottawa, Canada, the River Line in New Jersey, United States, the Sprinter in California, United States, which use diesel multiple unit cars. Light rail is similar to the British English term light railway, long-used to distinguish railway operations carried out under a less rigorous set of regulation using lighter equipment at lower speeds from mainline railways. Light rail is a generic international English phrase for these types of rail systems, which means more or less the same thing throughout the English-speaking world; the use of the generic term light rail avoids some serious incompatibilities between British and American English. T
A side platform is a platform positioned to the side of a pair of tracks at a railway station, tram stop, or transitway. Dual side platform stations, one for each direction of travel, is the basic station design used for double-track railway lines. Side platforms may result in a wider overall footprint for the station compared with an island platform where a single width of platform can be shared by riders using either track. In some stations, the two side platforms are connected by a footbridge running above and over the tracks. While a pair of side platforms is provided on a dual-track line, a single side platform is sufficient for a single-track line. Where the station is close to a level crossing the platforms may either be on the same side of the crossing road or alternatively may be staggered in one of two ways. With the'near-side platforms' configuration, each platform appears before the intersection and with'far-side platforms' they are positioned after the intersection. In some situations a single side platform can be served by multiple vehicles with a scissors crossing provided to allow access mid-way along its length.
Most stations with two side platforms have an'Up' platform, used by trains heading towards the primary destination of the line, with the other platform being the'Down' platform which takes trains heading the opposite way. The main facilities of the station are located on the'Up' platform with the other platform accessed from a footbridge, subway or a track crossing. However, in many cases the station's main buildings are located on whichever side faces the town or village the station serves. Larger stations may have two side platforms with several island platforms in between; some are in a Spanish solution format, with two side platforms and an island platform in between, serving two tracks. Island platform Split platform
UMSL North station
UMSL North is a St. Louis MetroLink station; this station features 100 park-and-ride spaces. The station sits adjacent to the University of Missouri–St. Louis' Touhill Performing Arts Center on the university's North Campus. St. Louis Metro
MetroLink (St. Louis)
MetroLink is the light rail transit system in the Greater St. Louis area of Missouri and the Metro East area of Illinois; the system consists of two lines connecting Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and Shrewsbury, Missouri with Scott Air Force Base near Shiloh, Illinois through downtown St. Louis; the system carries an average of 53,123 people each weekday. As of the first quarter of 2015, it is second only to Minneapolis Metro Transit's Blue and Green lines in the Midwestern United States in terms of ridership, is the 11th-largest light rail system in the country. MetroLink is operated by the Bi-State Development Agency, operating as Metro since 2003, in a shared fare system with the MetroBus lines. Construction on the initial MetroLink alignment from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to the 5th & Missouri station in East St. Louis began in 1990; the initial 17-mile segment with 19 stations opened on July 31, 1993 between the North Hanley and 5th & Missouri stations. Service was operated with 31 high-floor light rail vehicles.
About 14 miles of the original 17 miles were on existing rail right-of-way. The first phase of MetroLink was complete when the line was extended westward to Lambert Airport Main station on June 25, 1994. At that time another station, East Riverfront, was opened in East St. Louis. Four years in 1998, the Lambert Airport East station was added; the capital cost to build the initial phase of MetroLink was $465 million. Of that amount, $348 million was supplied by the Federal Transit Administration. Construction on the St. Clair County MetroLink extension from the 5th & Missouri station to the College station in Belleville began in 1998 and opened in May 2001; the extension added seven park-ride lots. The total project cost was $339.2 million, with the FTA and St. Clair County Transit District sharing the burden at 72% and 28%, respectively. Local funding was provided by the St. Clair County Transit District as a result of a 1/2 cent sales tax passed in November 1993. In May 2003, a 3.5-mile extension from Southwestern Illinois College to Shiloh-Scott station opened.
This $75 million project was funded by a $60 million grant from the Illinois FIRST Program and $15 million from the St. Clair County Transit District; the Cross County Extension from Forest Park-DeBaliviere station to Shrewsbury-Lansdowne-I-44 station opened to the public on August 26, 2006. This 8-mile, 9-station extension connected Washington University, the popular Saint Louis Galleria shopping center and Shrewsbury to the system; the entire project was funded by a $430 million Metro bond issue. Metro cited repeated delays and cost overruns as its reasons for firing its general contractor in Summer 2004. Metro sued the Collaborative for $81 million for mismanagement; the Collaborative counter-sued for $17 million for work. On December 1, 2007, a jury voted in favor of the Cross County Collaborative, awarding them $2.56 million for work as yet unpaid for. On October 27, 2008, Metro renamed the two MetroLink lines using color designations: the Lambert Airport branch was renamed to the Red Line.
Service was extended on the Blue Line from its former terminus at Emerson Park to Fairview Heights. All trains have a red or blue sign on the front that identify the train as a Red Line or Blue Line train, all operators make station announcements identifying the Red Line or Blue Line. On September 9, 2014, the United States Department of Transportation announced $10.3 million in funding for a new Metrolink station between the Central West End and Grand stations in the Cortex research district. An additional $5 million in funding was provided by a public-private partnership including Washington University, BJC HealthCare, Great Rivers Greenway and the Cortex Innovation Community; the new Cortex station, located just east of Boyle Avenue, opened to the public on July 31, 2018. Below is a list of dates; the Red Line is a total of 38 miles with 29 stations. It begins at Lambert St. Louis International Airport's Terminal 1 and heads east serving Terminal 2, it proceeds through Berkeley before making a stop at North Hanley with numerous bus connections serving North St. Louis County.
It makes two stops at the University of Missouri St. Louis campus located in Normandy; the line continues along the old Wabash Railroad right-of-way until Grand Avenue, making stops in Pagedale at Rock Road station and in Wellston, before crossing the county line at Skinker Boulevard and stopping at Delmar in the popular Delmar Loop area. The Red Line meets up with the Blue Line at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere station; the two lines share track From this station until the Fairview Heights station in St. Clair County. For the rest of the Red Line, see "Shared alignment"; the Blue Line starts in Shrewsbury just to the west of River des Peres. It crosses Interstate 44 and continues northeast till the next 2 stations located in Maplewood, one at the Sunnen Industrial Complex, the other at Manchester Road. From there, it continues north to the Brentwood I-64 station located in Brentwood just south of Interstate 64, it proceeds underneath Interstate 64, continuing to the Richmond Heights station in Richmond Heights.
This station serves the popular St. Louis Galleria shopping center. Following that it proceeds to Clayton station in Clayton, serving the Central Business District of St. Louis County. From here, it continues in a tunnel right under Forest P
Lambert Airport Terminal 1 station
Lambert Airport Terminal 1 is a St. Louis MetroLink station in Edmundson, Missouri; the station is located adjacent to Terminal 1 of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport; this station serves the nearby airport hotels. St. Louis Metro
MetroBus (St. Louis)
MetroBus is the public bus service for the Greater St. Louis Region connected with the MetroLink light rail system, it is managed by the Bi-State Development Agency and uses a shared fare system with the MetroLink system. Its service has 75 bus routes and service four counties in Missouri and Illinois, including the City of St. Louis. MetroBus service operates daily and averages about 110,000 daily boardings, more than the MetroLink; the capacity of the system can accommodate 25,000 additional passengers during peak hours and the daily capacity of the system could most accommodate 115,000 additional boardings in all hours. MetroBus connects with 11 transit centers in Missouri and 3 transit centers in Illinois, with 6 of the 11 connecting with MetroLink. Shaw Transit Center Clayton Transit Center Central West End Transit Center North Broadway Transit Center Gravois Hampton Transit Center Civic Center Transit Center Brentwood Transit Center Ballas Transit Center Riverview Hall Transit Center North Hanley Transit Center Shrewsbury Transit Center North County Transit Center Catalan Loop Rock Hill Loop There are four maintenance facilities in the Greater St. Louis Area.
Metro Main Shop Brentwood Garage DeBaliviere Garage Illinois Garage MetroLink Bi-State Development Agency Metro Website
Park and ride
Park and ride facilities are parking lots with public transport connections that allow commuters and other people heading to city centres to leave their vehicles and transfer to a bus, rail system, or carpool for the remainder of the journey. The vehicle is retrieved when the owner returns. Park and rides are located in the suburbs of metropolitan areas or on the outer edges of large cities. A park and ride that only offers parking for meeting a carpool and not connections to public transport may be called a park and pool. Park and ride is abbreviated as "P+R" on road signs in the UK, is styled as "Park & Ride" in marketing. In Sweden, a tax has been introduced on the benefit of free or cheap parking paid by an employer, if workers would otherwise have to pay; the tax has reduced the number of workers driving into the inner city, increased the usage of park and ride areas in Stockholm. The introduction of a congestion tax in Stockholm has further increased the usage of ride. In Prague and ride parking lots are established near some metro and railway stations.
These parking lots offer low prices and all-day and return tickets including the public transport fare. Park and ride facilities allow commuters to avoid a stressful drive along congested roads and a search for scarce, expensive city-centre parking, they may well reduce congestion by assisting the use of public transport in congested urban areas. There is not much research on the cons of park and ride schemes, it has been suggested that there is "a lack of clear-cut evidence for park and ride's assumed impact in reducing congestion". Park and ride facilities help commuters who live beyond practical walking distance from the railway station or bus stop, they may suit commuters with alternative fuel vehicles, which have reduced range, when the facility is closer to home than the ultimate destination. They are useful as a fixed meeting place for those carsharing or carpooling or using "kiss and ride"; some transit operators use park and ride facilities to encourage more efficient driving practices by reserving parking spaces for low emission designs, high-occupancy vehicles, or carsharing.
Many park and rides toilets. Travel information, such as leaflets and posters, may be provided. At larger facilities, extra services such as a travel office, food shop, car wash, or cafeteria may be provided; these are encouraged by municipal operators to encourage use of park and ride. Park and ride facilities, with dedicated parking lots and bus services, began in the 1960s in the UK. Oxford operated the first such scheme with an experimental service operating part-time from a motel on the A34 in the 1960s and on a full-time basis from 1973. Better Choice Parking first offered an airport park and ride service at London Gatwick Airport in 1978. Oxford now operates ride from 5 dedicated parking lots around the city; as of 2015, Oxford has the biggest urban park & ride network in the UK with a combined capacity of 5,031 car parking spaces. One of the largest park and rides in Saudi Arabia is located at Kudai in Mecca, it helps people go the Masjid al-Haram. There is a Shuttle Service operated by SAPTCO that takes people during Ramadan from the Kudai Parking to the Masjid al-Haram.
Some railway stations are promoted as a park and ride facility for a town some distance away, for instance Liskeard for Looe and Lelant Saltings for St Ives, both in Cornwall, England. Names of stations in the UK with large parking lots outside the main urban area are suffixed with "Parkway", such as Bristol Parkway, Tiverton Parkway, Oxford Parkway. At Luton Airport Parkway and Southampton Airport Parkway, the stations are there to serve air as well as road passengers. In the United States, it is common for outlying rail stations to include automobile parking with hundreds of spaces. Boston, for example, has built several large parking facilities at its commuter rail and metro stations near major highways and large arterial surface roads around the periphery of the city: Alewife, Forest Hills, Hyde Park, Quincy Adams, Route 128, Woburn; the local transit operator, the MBTA, offers ride spaces. B & R is a name for using cycle boxes or racks near public transport terminals together with P & R parking lots.
This system can be promoted through integrated fare and tickets with public transport system. Many railway stations and airports feature a "kiss-and-ride" or "kiss-and-fly" area in which cars can stop to discharge or, less pick up passengers; the term first appeared in a 20 January 1956 report in the Los Angeles Times. It refers to the nominal scenario whereby a passenger is driven to the station by partner. Deutsche Bahn has announced that it will be changing the English expressions for Kiss and Ride, Service Points and Counters to German ones. In Italy the new Bologna Centrale railway station uses the "ride" signs; some high-speed railway stations in Taiwan have signs outside stations reading "Kiss and Ride" in English, with Chinese characters above the words that read "temporary pick-up and drop-off zone". Kiss and Ride are getting popular in Poland. Cities with such areas include Kraków, Warsaw or Toruń. Locally they are known by its English name, i.e. "Kiss and ride" and while the sign is non-standardized, all of them contain the letters K+R.
Park and ride schemes do not necessarily