Checklist for Successful Application of Tram-Train Systems in Europe

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, place - europe, operations - coordination, infrastructure - interchange/transfer, infrastructure - station


tram-train systems, direct connections, cooperation, stations, interchange, transfers


Tram-train systems combine the best features of streetcars with regional rail. These systems make direct connections between town centers and surrounding regions possible by physically linking existing regional heavy rail networks with urban tram networks. The tram-train approach offers many advantages by using existing infrastructure to improve regional transit. However, the use of two dissimilar networks and the mixing of heavy rail and tram operations increase complexity and often require compromise solutions. The research surveyed existing systems to identify requirements for successfully introducing tram-train systems. The requirements include network design, city layout, population density, and physical factors (e.g., platform heights). One of the most important factors is cooperation between many actors, including transit operators, railways, and cities. Tram-train systems are complex but can provide significant benefits in the right situations. The paper describes tram-train systems, the key requirements for successful systems, and conclusions.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.