Trams in the countryside – where’s all the density that’s supposed to be needed for light-rail?

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The following video is of the famous Stubaitalbahn Innsbruck-Fulpmes Tram, which starts in downtown Innsbruck and terminates in the mountains, servicing the small town of Fulpmes. Standard trams are used through out the journey, providing a seamless or no-transfer journey for the customer. The Stubaitalbahn Innsbruck-Fulpmes Tram is just further proof that light-rail can successfully operate on routes in the countryside, connecting urban centres. So when TransLink of Transportation Minister Falcon  says there isn’t enough density for light-rail on the old BCE interurban rights of way, just mention the Stubaitalbahn; the Innsbruck-Fulpmes Tram.

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3 Responses to “Trams in the countryside – where’s all the density that’s supposed to be needed for light-rail?”

  1. David Says:

    One guesses that the company/government/whatever that operates that tram receives an appropriate subsidy to keep it running even when it’s not heavily used. People in Europe seem to understand that providing rail service to the public is something that benefits society in general and therefore should be funded by everyone.

    The BC government has an entirely different viewpoint. They see public services as businesses. Unfortunately business has a very narrow and distorted view of the world.

    How can they count jobs created by a road and not count all the people who will be injured or killed on that road? How can they completely ignore a hundred years of oil seeping into our streams and ground water and emissions from millions of tailpipes?

    Those are real costs of road building that are never even estimated let alone actually factored into the costs because there’s no agency to collect the money. Instead future generations will have to pick up the tab and try to repair all the damage if they can.

    Our entire financial system is ethically bankrupt.

  2. zweisystem Says:

    And please remember, that it is the same Liberal government that has happily subsidized SkyTrain to a tune of over $200 million annually! It’s alright to subsidize SkyTrain or RAV, but subsidize LRT, one would think the roof has fallen in. The Stubaitalbahn or Innsbruck-Fulpmes Tram service was almost abandoned for a new highway, until local efforts to save the route embarrassingly pointed that the annual subsidy to maintain the existing road to Fulpmes was more than the subsidy for the tram service, with the bonus of unimpeded ‘rail’ service during snowy winter months!

    All I wish to illustrate is that many tram or local interurban services operate quite happily in areas of low-density, contrary to TransLink’s and Minister Falcon’s spin.

  3. Manni Schneiderbauer Says:

    I’m not exactly sure if the Stubaitalbahn line is a good example for low-density areas. The mountain suburbs south of Innsbruck, namely the suburban village of Mutters and its surroundings, are populated enough to generate full trams during peak times and still well filled trams during the whole day while the service is provided every 30 minutes. The line is approximately for 50% used by commuters and 50% by people with leisure purposes.
    The outer half of the line, the section south of Kreith between Kreith and Fulpes is indeed less populated, but especially during weekends there are many people from the city going to the woods of Telfes for wandering etc., as well as tourists residing in the countryside wanting to travel to downtown Innsbruck.
    The Stubaitalbahn is currently even undergoing examinations for a branch line to Axams and Götzens, as Innsbruck extends its light rail network.
    For really valid examples for “low-density light rail”, probably take a look at the Rittner Bahn near Bolzano/Bozen in Italy or the Grakallbanen interurban tram in Trondheim, Norway, or, in Upper Austria, the Stern & Hafferl interurbans.
    Cheers & regards from Innsbruck!

    Zweisystem replies: Thank you for your comments, certainly the Rittenerbahn is worthy of a post!

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