Nanjing has built a 7.8km tram line from a metro station to its Olympic Stadium East, and trials began on 2 August. The line uses lithium-ore batteries that allow for 90 per cent of the route to be free of overhead electricity wires (i.e. catenary free).
Instead, tram batteries are recharged using ‘pantographs’ at the various tram terminals.
A second 9.4km tram line is under construction.
Such a solution could overcome one objection against trams in George Town – that overhead wires would mar the heritage setting of the inner city.
Perhaps Penang should check out this largely wire-free system for the inner city and the proposed airport-to-Komtar route.
Meanwhile, the Gold Coast tram system in Australia, which began on 20 July, has been deemed to be “an early success” and possibly a model for Canberra’s planners. Over 18000 people per day were using the system by the end of August, compared to the forecast of 25000 per day after two years.
Thanks to blog visitor Ric Francis for the alerts.