Posts Tagged ‘Guided bus’

“Misguided” Busway Part 2

September 1, 2010

More news about Cambridge’s “Misguided” bus or BRT. Instead of being simple and cheap alternative to a ‘rail’ solution, the Cambridge BRT is ending up costing  more than reinstating the rail line for DMU/EMU or tram service.

The real question needed to be answered will be: “For all the cost and delay, will the Cambridge guided (BRT) bus attract its projected customers or will it merely be regarded as a local transit curiosity and not attract the all important motorist from the car?”

The yet to be used Cambridge Guided Busway

Guided Busway to Open Next Spring

Chris Elliott

The guided busway may finally be up and running by next spring, the News can reveal.

Sources close to the project have disclosed that at the current rate of progress, it could take about seven or eight months to finish the concrete track completely and get it ready for the first buses to roll.

That will mean an opening date either in March or April 2011 – making the busway more than TWO YEARS late.

As the News reported a few days ago, Cambridgeshire county councillors are due to examine a progress report on the troubled scheme at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 7.

The report says that contractor BAM Nuttall has still not fixed six defects in the northern section of the busway, which runs between St Ives and Cambridge.

However, the company is making “good progress” on completing the southern section at Trumpington, and is expected to be finished there by mid-December.

If BAM Nuttall does complete the southern section by mid-December, the council will give the contractor a month to rectify the faults on the northern section – and if that does not happen, the council will step in to do the job itself.

Together with subsequent checks and bus trials, the News understands that this could stretch out the work until March or April – although if con¬struction of the southern section is completed more quickly, the timetable might be brought forward.

The defects identified by the council include raising the level of parts of the maintenance track alongside the busway, which has been flooded, and remedial work on the viaduct at St Ives, where rainwater has leaked through an unsealed joint.

A county council spokesman said the council could not confirm that the busway would open by the spring.
He said: “Whilst the contractor has said they will complete the route by mid-December, we are in their hands until the work has been completed.
“We are very clear that the defects must be rectified and once the route is handed over we will know exactly what work the council will need to carry out and a more precise idea of how long that will take.
“It is frustrating that BAM Nuttall have not finished the job as yet and although damages of over £7 million have already been deducted from the contractor all we really want is the work to be completed so we can get the route open and passengers can start using it.”
Mike Mason, South Cambridgeshire district councillor for Histon and Impington, criticised the delays.

He said: “It’s a political disaster, and it’s never going to make money. The council have completely failed and there is no credibility in any of their statements because they’ve made so many predictions that haven’t happened.

“Any of the political parties on the council could have stopped this a long time ago, and all three political parties share equal blame, but the Cambridge taxpayer is going to pay the price.”


£76m Leigh Guided Busway on hold over cost fears – From the Manchester Evening News

August 31, 2010

Postings in other blogs have been painting an all too rosy a picture of BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) and this post should level the playing field somewhat. Just as a note, the Cambridge “Misguided Busway” is built on a former railway formation which greatly reduced initial cost estimates and as the guided bus project now stands, it would have been cheaper to reinstate the railway instead! Imagine, a modern LRT line with lawned rights-of-ways, rather than this start concrete guide way needed for the BRT.

The yet to be used Cambridge Guided Busway

£76m Leigh Guided Busway on hold over cost fears

Alan Salter – August 31, 2010Manchester Evening News

A controversial £76m busway plan in Greater Manchester has been put on hold.

A review has been ordered into the Leigh Guided Busway project – which has been on the drawing board since 1996 – even though contracts for vital preparatory work worth £1.3m have already been awarded.

The move comes after Richard Knowles – an Oldham councillor and Salford University professor of transport geography – was sent to Cambridge to see a similar scheme.

The Cambridge busway is infamous in the transport world for spiralling costs and delays. The bill for the 25-mile busway, between Huntingdon and Cambridge, has risen from £54m to £116m and could even reach £160m by the time it opens.

Now, the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition which controls the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority has voted to review the Leigh busway – despite Labour opposition.

The project – linking Wigan, Leigh, Salford and Manchester – would see a special lane built for buses on the East Lancs Road. Four miles of the route – between Leigh and Ellenbrook – would see specially-adapted buses using ‘guided’ concrete tracks along the path of an old railway line.

Keith Whitmore, vice-chairman of the authority, said: “We are talking about a review which will take weeks rather than months. It would look at the costings and the way it operates in the light of what has happened in Cambridge.

“I visited Utrecht where they rejected the building of a second busway and decided to build a tram line instead. There is also the question of how the Leigh busway would operate – who exactly will use it has never really been tackled.

“If the review shows that everything is fine, then it can go ahead. But there has never been unanimous support for it.”

Dubbed the ‘misguided busway’ by opponents, the project has been seen in some quarters as a sop to Wigan and Leigh – which are not included in plans to expand the Metrolink.

For more on Cambridge’s ‘Misguided‘ busway:


From Bus to Light Rail

August 24, 2010



Light Rail.

The following Master’s Degree Project – Ottawa’s Transit Busway to Light Rail by David James, is well worth a read.

Let’s ride on the Clermont-Ferrand TransLohr GLT -Courtesy of U-Tube

October 27, 2009

This is an interesting U-Tube of the TransLohr GLT or guided bus. The centre rail is for guidance only as the tram like bus is propelled by standard rubber tires.

Tram on Tires – Guided Light Transit (GLT), the ultimate BRT

October 26, 2009


Guided Light Transit or GLT is a hybrid bus/tram system, where rubber tired vehicles are guided by a single rail and the TransLohr GLT falls into this category. It has been long realized that for a bus to obtain higher performances to compete against LRT, it must be guided. The Achilles heel of BRT in busways is that the kinetic envelope needed for BRT operation is much greater than LRT, thus the land take for a busway was much more expensive than for light rail. The Ottawa busway cost more to build than for originally planned for LRT! To reduce the kinetic envelope for buses, they must be guided and the German O-Bahn addresses this problem by side wheels running on a cement guide-way. Visually ugly, the guide-ways have not proven popular and are almost impossible to locate in city centres, which means the O-Bahn operates just as a bus in the city. In Germany, this problem has been some what overcome by O-Bahn track-sharing with LRT on reserved rights-of-ways and in tunnel; though problems still persist.

By guiding a bus by a single rail (monorail?), flush with the street (like a tram), enables the GLT to safely operate in city centres, within its kinetic envelope thus providing the bus with most of the benefits associated with light rail- but at a cost as GLT became only a little cheaper than LRT, but with a much more limited capacity than light-rail and limited productivity as GLT buses can’t operate in multiple unit. In Paris, GLT is more expensive to build than tram!

The new Paris tram-on-tire or GLT line Saint Denis-Sarcelles (6.6 km) will serve some popular destinations, as well trying to revitalize strategical urban areas. Many modal interchange points will be located along the route: Marche de Saint-Denis (T1 tramway line), Saint-Denis Basilique (metro Line 13), Garges-Sarcelles (RER local railways Line D), besides many other bus interchange stops.

A further standard tram line (steel wheels) will also serve Seine-Saint-Denis department, connecting Saint-Denis, Epinay-sur-Seine, Villetaneuse and serving Universitè de Paris XIII-Villetaneuse. It will interchange with metro L13 (Saint-Denis Porte de Paris stop) and tram T1 (Gare de Saint-Denis stop), but not directly with Saint Denis-Sarcelles line.
RATP (official site)

What is interesting to see is the cost of  Paris’s new GLT, CAD $52.7 million/km is much higher than Le Man’s new LRT line costing $31.2 million/km. or Paris’s tramway T-3 cost of $42.5 million/km! It seems the TransLohr GLT or tram on tires is very expensive for what it does and like SkyTrain, be built in very numbers.

It is important to note, when provincial politicians espouse the notion of Bus Rapid Transit as an alternative to LRT, Rail for the Valley must expose this nonsense as both BRT and GLT could be more expensive to install than light rail and certainly GLT/BRT will cost more to operate than LRT.

Country France
Line Saint Denis-Sarcelles
Inhabitants District 11.175.000
Date opening 2011
Future development:
Length (km) 6.6
Track sections
Stops 16, average distance 400 m
Platform doors
General characteristics
n. of vehicles 15
n. of cars per vehicle 3
Type rubber tyres bi-directional
Vehicle dimensions (m) length 30, width 2.2
Vehicle capacity (pax) 127
Frequency 5’/
Type of guide/gauge central rail
Speed Km/h Comm. 18, Max —
Accel./Decel. (m/sec2)
System capacity
Ridership 30.000 pax/day
Total cost 33 M Euro/km
System builder LOHR
Model Translohr STE3