Prefab tram track = fast construction! Friends of the Broadway Light Rail/Streetcar Take Note!


The following article from EccoRussia, gives an account of the installation of 670 metres of prefabricated tram track on the Athens (Greece) light rail/tram in just 10 days or about 67 metres of new tram track a day! At this speed of track laying it would take a mere 14 days to lay one kilometre of new track!

What is important, is that new tram/LRT construction would not unduly affect local merchants for a great length of time, as one’s storefront would not see construction in front of it for more than a few day, unlike Susan Heyes, whose business was disrupted for years by subway cut-and-cover construction!

It also means that a 20 km. BCIT to UBC LRT line would take less than 300 days to build! Or having two construction groups, working from BCIT and UBC towards each other, would take about 150 days. Now that is something to think about!

The first extension in the Athens tram, was duly finished and commissioned for circulation, in mid-October.

The extension measuring 670 meters comes as a trial for new technologies rather than a substantial addition to the already operating 22 km network.

One of them and surely the most important is the introduction of prefabricated segments for the substructure.

The segments were used in the crossing of Poseidonos avenue, a high velocity motorway in the south of Athens and gateway to the seaside tourist and nightlife areas.

In order to facilitate the construction of the crossing and the sequential congestion of traffic, given a conventional construction, prefabricated segments came as a natural choice.

The segments were constructed in a prefab plant in the outskirts of Athens, using Belgian know-how adapted in the local conditions.

The segments incorporating the rails and all major network duct ways were laid in less than ten days, including the soil and substructure preparation, a major advance to the other ways monthly time span.

Behavior up to now in the heavy traffic is said to be very smooth, and it is almost certain that prefab segments are to be used in the next extension to Peraeus.

Tram S.A. was founded in March 2001 and is a subsidiary company of ATTIKO METRO S.A.

In 2002, the company begun the construction of the new Athens tram network, while commercial operation started in July 2004, a few weeks before the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

TRAM S.A. is a public service corporation supervised by the Ministry of Transportation & Communications.

The company’s mission is to design, develop and operate the modern tram network.


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8 Responses to “Prefab tram track = fast construction! Friends of the Broadway Light Rail/Streetcar Take Note!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Ya, imagine Broadway looking like those pictures. You’re priceless.

    Zweisystem replies: Cambie street did, for over 3 years!

  2. Justin Bernard Says:

    This would be great for Transit City lines!

  3. bulleid35028 Says:

    Yep Anon, the less than five months to complete a BCIT to UBC LRT line compared to 12 to 18 months for the Skytrain extyension option makes good sense especially for the Broadway business owners. LOL
    When most of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the USA, South America, the Far East and Australasia are designing constructing & commissioning Light Rail systems, the Canuks are planning to burn one barrel of natural gas and consume two barrels of water to extract two of crude oil from the Athabasca tar sands, to feed their addiction to the gasoline powered automobile. Elevated automated transit systems are favoured by politicians with a conflict of interest, as they are not forced to confront the automobile lobby; more good sense especially if you’re a politician

  4. David Says:

    Does anyone really think SkyTrain to UBC would take less time than Canada Line did? I’d count on 36 months of mess along Broadway if SkyTrain is chosen.

    The bored tunnel advocates cleverly ignore the block long open pits required to get the boring machines in and out. If different soil conditions exist along the line then multiple boring machines and a whole series of pits would be required. Construction of underground stations requires more large excavations and mess for about 18 months.

    I remember the huge hole on Cambie between 27th and 28th. That site was neither a station nor a tunnel boring access point yet the excavation was enormous and don’t think that part of the street re-opened until after train testing had already begun.

    Pre-fab LRT involves the intentional permanent closing of 2 lanes, the closing of 2 more lanes for a couple of weeks per block to lay track and then occasional 2 lane closures to permit the construction of platforms and canopies. Other finishing work would not require any lane closures. No site would be messed up for more than a few weeks.

    Zweisystem replies: One of the biggest problems of a bored tunnel is subsidence and the soils and dated housing on the routes would make for expensive problems.

  5. Richard Says:


    If you actually bothered to do any research, you would know that the tunnel would likely be bored under 10th Ave so Broadway would be unaffected.


    If you bothered to even look at the photos you posted you would have noticed that the construction photos are at night. From the photos, it would appear that the LRT was finished in 2 weeks because they were working 24 hours a day seven days a week. I expect night work would be not very popular at all with residents along Broadway and very expensive due to overtime.

    I don’t doubt that prefab rails could speed up construction but also note that the original “plan” for the Cambie cut and cover was to use prefab as well. Just as the “plans” changed for cut and cover to save money, don’t be surprised when the same happens for LRT. There are just as many construction horror stories for LRT as there are for subways. It is a matter of construction management and cost and not LRT vs subway.

    Zweisystem replies: What a farce, the subsidence issue would create lawsuits lasting the next 20 years. Actually Richard, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about. But of course, the SkyTrain/subway lobby never has, for them, the taxpayer has bottomless pockets! The trouble is, Vancouver and region have lived in a transit fantasy land, so much so that we are an international laughingstock and only to those who have even bothered to look.

    As for construction at night, well for residential sensitive areas, construction would be restricted to daylight hours, but then Broadway tends to be on the go at least 18 hours a day.

  6. David Says:

    So Richard believes leaving 10th a complete mess for a hundred or more weeks is acceptable because it only affects “insignificant” things like apartment buildings and BC’s largest health care centre instead of “important” things like traffic on Broadway.

    As for problems, I have complete confidence in the Province of BC and City of Vancouver to screw up any project. But doubling construction time in any one segment from 6 weeks to 12 is insignificant next to squandering $4 billion on more SkyTrain.

  7. Round the Horn | Langley Politics Dotcom Says:

    […] Prefab light rail installation is being used in Russia (Rail for the Valley). […]

  8. Why is public transit more expensive than it used to be? « Rail For The Valley Says:

    […]… Why is public transit more expensive than it used to be? […]

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