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ART: Another rail-less tramway in China

Xi'an | © CRRC on Twitter

China has branded its newly-developed rail-less, rubber-tyred, electronically guided public transport systems ART: Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit. The design clearly resembles many features of modern low-floor tramways on rails, however, it runs on tyres like a bus. The “trains” are full-electric and battery-powered with fast charging capability via pantograph along the lines, and are  driver-operated, thus being not considered ‘autonomous’ vehicles.

Zhuzhou 2018 | © CRRC on Twitter
Yibin | © CRRC on Twitter

CRRC Zhuzhou has developed this system and started a first commercial operation in Zhuzhou in Hunan province in May 2018. It has been extended since, and another system opened in Yibin in 2019, with two other currently in trail operational mode in Yancheng and Yongxiu.

Now, on 21 March 2023 opened another system as a demonstration line in Xi’an in Northwest China (Shaanxi province) in the so-called Xixian New Development Area. The first new new line 1 starts from Doumen Station in the east and ends at Happy Valley Station, over a distance of approximately 11.9 kilometers. Service is operated between 6:30h and 22:00h at intervals of 10-15 minutes. Currently riding is for free.

Xi’an | © CRRC on Twitter
© CRRC on Twitter
Demonstration vehicle in Xi’an | © CRRC on Twitter
Abu Dhabi | © TXAI

Abroad there is also some interest for the ART system. While studies to implement ART in Australia did not materialize, two vehicles have been supplied to Abu Dhabi for trials. Current plans foresee the introduction of the technology on new lines to Yas Island’s main tourist attractions and commercial hubs. The vehicles will operate in driverless mode, together with other kinds of autonomous vehicles in Abu Dhabi under the brandname TXAI. Kuching City in Malaysia has also expressed its interest in purchasing 38 ART vehicles. The System ART is to drive here with hydrogen propulsion for the first time. A first test vehicle was presented in March 2023.

First hydrogen version of the ART – for Kuching City, Malaysia | © CRRC on Twitter
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