Does light-rail make the grade?


There is a common misconception, especially with loal transit planners, that light-rail can’t climb steep grades. The industry standard (crush capacity or all seats taken and 8 persons per square metre standing) for the maximum gradient that modern LRT can climb is 8%. Sheffield’s trams (streetcars) because all axles are motorized, can climb 10% grades and in Lisbon, Portugal, the famous route 28, see 2-axel trams climb 13.75% grades!

This short U-Tube video dispels three common LRT myths:

  1. That LRT/trams can’t operate in close headways – the video shows 10 second headways!
  2. That LRT can’t climb steep grades – the video shows 13.75% grades!
  3. That LRT can’t operate in confined areas.

Clearly modern LRT can make the grade!


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