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Sun 26 Jan 2014 03:51 PM

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Dubai set to extend testing for new tram system

Transport authority says trams will run in Jumeirah Beach Residence and Dubai Marina ahead of official Q4 launch

Dubai set to extend testing for new tram system
An artists impression of the Al Sufouh tram project

Dubai's transport authority said on Sunday that it plans to expand the test track for its new tram project in the run-up to its official launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has started its testing of the tram on a trial track which initially extends 2.5km from the tram depot at Al Sufouh.

Mattar Al Tayer, chairman and executive director of the RTA, said he was delighted with the tram's progress, adding that the technical trial run would continue until the launch later this year.

"The test track will be expanded in the near future to cover the entire tramway," he said.

He added: "Road users will start to see the Dubai Tram on the move on roadsides at Al Sufouh, Jumeirah Beach Residence and the Marina. The tram track will intersect with vehicular & pedestrian traffic at certain points; which warrants motorists in particular and road users in general to be more attentive and compliant with the rules and regulations governing the tram operation."

Al Tayer revealed that the technical trial run made for the tram in the depot was a success. "The tram moved smoothly without wobbling or noises as it is powered by ground electrical feed stretching along the track," he said.

The trams have been designed and assembled at Alstom’s La Rochelle plant in France.

The tram is expected to lift about 27,000 riders per day at the start of operations in 2014, and the ridership is bound to hit 66,000 riders per day by 2020.

In September, it was announced that UK facilities manager Serco will operate the new Dubai Tram network under a AED105m ($28.6m) deal with the RTA.

Eight trams will operate in the initial phase, slated for November 2014, and are expected to lift about 3,500 passengers per hour per direction.

The project was originally scheduled to be completed in 2011, but has been plagued by cash concerns in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Designed to stretch 14km along Al Sufouh Road, the tram is set to be the world’s first to run with ground power feeding the entire line, eliminating the need for overhead wires.

The first phase of the project will span 10.6km and cost AED4bn, and will see 11 of the network’s 17 stations open to the public.

On completion, the tram will link with the Dubai Metro at three stations along Sheikh Zayed Road and will also tie-up with the monorail on the Palm Jumeirah.

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