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First Translohr tram decommissioned: Shanghai

© UTM Archiv

On 26 May, the Shanghai Pudong Modern Rail Transit Co., Ltd. announced that operations on the so-called Zhangjiang tramway Line 1 ends on 31 May 2023; buses will operate on a modified route from 1 June.

The main reasons for this undoubtedly rather drastic decision to completely abandon a modern public transport system that is only a few years old, are the limited ridership numbers and the difficult maintenance of the vehicle. The routing of the 9.8 km long line which is based on the monorail Translohr guideway system with rubber tyres, does not fulfil all of today’s requirements on public transport in this area: within the large Pudong urban development zone in Zhangjiang Industrial Park, the line does not serve all relevant points of interest with its 15 stops, such as the large Chamtime Mall shopping centre, and besides industrial sites and scientific research institutes, the proportion of residential development remained rather limited.

on street-level: STE3 model built by Translohr in Shanghai | © Itsuhiro Mori

Maintenance of the fleet of nine Translohr STE3 low-floor vehicles (137 standing, 30-seat passenger capacity) became increasingly complex and cost-intensive over the years, as the system is no longer actively marketed after the takeover by the Alstom Group. The supply of spare parts has remained difficult for years. Currently, only four vehicles are still operational.

The previous 15-minute interval was significantly reduced on 1 February this year, and in recent weeks there have only been four daily departures in each direction, two in the morning and two in the afternoon at peak times. Today, 31 May 2023, this too will be over.

The Zhangjiang tram was the first modern tram line in Shanghai metropolitan area and started passenger service on 31 December 2009. The investment costs for the system at the time were approximately 120 million USD. The future fate of the systems is currently still unclear. In China there is one other Translohr system, the Tianjin Development Zone Tram Line 1 in Tianjin / Binhai New Area with a total length of 7.9 kilometres and a total of 14 stations. Here, too, the complicated supply of spare parts makes stable operation difficult at all times. Worldwide, there are systems based on the Translohr system at only 6 other locations: Medellín, Padua, Venice-Mestre, Clermont-Ferrand and two independent, operationally different lines in the greater Paris area (T5 and T6). Another system in L’Aquila in Italy was never completed. In 2018, Alstom stopped production of the Translohr, and all operations have since been concerned about the long-term availability of the required system components.

In China, this is already the second discontinuation of a contemporary low-floor tram that is only a few years old. Already in 2021, the Zhuhai tramway was abandoned, but here due to completely insufficient passenger demand.

© Baidu