By Andy Sambidge
Transit system serving Al Sufouh, Marina, JBR aims to carry 5,000 passengers per hour.
Preliminary works for phase one of the Al Sufouh Transit System project have started, a Dubai transport chief announced on Tuesday.
The Alstom-Besix Consortium has begun digging trial trenches, carrying out topographical surveys and soil analysis of impacted sites ready for the tram project which will serve residents in Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Initial designs had been approved for the stations, the layout of carriages, and the depot, Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the Board and executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), who added that construction of the track would start soon.
The tram project, which is expected to be commissioned in April 2011, will extend 14km along Al Sufouh Road with phase one including the construction of a 9.5km-long track starting from Dubai Marina up to Mall of the Emirates Station.
The Tram network will include 19 passenger stations, nine of which are covered under phase one.
Each train will measure 44 metres in length and will carry up to 300 passengers. The fleet will consist of eight trams in phase one and 17 more will be added in phase two.
In total, a fleet of 25 trains will be capable of commuting about 5,000 passengers per hour in each direction.
The track will pass in a path parallel to the Dubai Metro Red Line and will link up with the metro system in three stations along Sheikh Zayed Road.
The Sufouh scheme will also link with the Palm Monorail at the entrance of the Palm Jumeirah from Sufouh Road.
Al Tayer added: "The project serves a residential and commercial area along the track of the tram in Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence.
"These areas witnessed in recent years high-end urban development for residential, commercial and tourist purposes. Demographic studies of the project revealed that those areas have a population of about 180,000 (residents), 210,000 workers and 20,000 visitors.
"The high population and workers density reflects the importance of the tram project as an initial step in a chain of similar transport modes to cover all high density areas in the emirate."