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Light Rail Information

What is Light Rail?

Midland Metro in Birmingham

Mike Taplin, a Vice–President of the LRTA and International News Editor answers:–
First, when we say tramway we mean streetcar in the American way of using words. For instance, there is a streetcar line in Seattle running from the Waterfront to the train depot. In Portland they have a light rail line running from the city centre to the eastside (and now a new line to the westside). These lines are light rail because they are mostly segregated from other traffic, passengers get on and off at stations rather than in the street, and the cars run faster. However there is no definite border line between streetcar and light rail — they merge gradually from one to another, and as a streetcar system gets upgraded it becomes light rail. A lot of this is to do with planning jargon; streetcars are seen to be old fashioned whereas light rail is trendy!

See Mike Taplin’s extensive article The History of Tramways and Evolution of Light Rail which explains this in detail. Also the comprehensive World Systems List is updated to June 2011.

Light rail is:–

Most modern light rail systems

See also Light Rail Systems

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