Don Townsley : “NGT trolleybuses are likely to be bi-articulated with 200 mostly standing passengers”

Swiss-built Hess LighTram double-articulated trolleybus

swiss built h Swiss-built Hess LighTram double-articulated trolleybus


Regarding the YEP feature on 9 January one particular item does concern me and that is where the ‘Metro spokesman’ in the final column refers to ‘companies interested in building the articulated 200 passenger vehicles’. Now ftr and most other 18 metre two section artic buses are typically reputed to carry 53 seated with 60 standing passengers plus 1 wheelchair and 2 buggies. The terrible artists impressions (no photographs) in Metro literature and press releases so far show 18 metre two section buses but this comment suggests that double artic vehicles are the intention, and have been all along. No wonder they are short on detail and have not published any photographs. The Swiss built Hess LighTram (pictured) of which there are three in Lucerne is a 24.7m long double-articulated trolleybus with a capacity of around 192 passengers of which only 68 have seats. Heaven help us with two of them together down Park Row and along Boar Lane! The standard Volvo/Wright Gemini 10metre long double decker as used in Leeds (standard or hybrid) takes 89 of which all but 21 are seated whilst the 12 metre long 3 axle version will take 125 of which only 44 stand. Two of these either hybrid or fully electric would more than equal the Hess and would be separate to avoid adding to congestion and could run more frequently. Most times in the day you do not need a 200 capacity monster but you do need a regular and short wait frequency.

3 thoughts on “Don Townsley : “NGT trolleybuses are likely to be bi-articulated with 200 mostly standing passengers””

  1. Hi Don,
    I am currently doing a student radio news story on the plans for a Leeds Trolleybus. The views expressed in this article are very interesting and i was wondering whether you would be able to provide me with a very short 5 minute interview about your opinions on the matter

  2. At the recent NGT meeting at Cafe Scientifique, it was stated that bi-articulated trolleybuses were not under consideration at this moment in time.

  3. Thanks for your comment Peter.

    The talk last week was given by Dave Haskins from Metro. In October last year, Mr Haskins gave a much more detailed talk at Leeds University in which he showed slides of trolleybuses in Zurich and said:

    In Zurich, these are articulated, two parts to the vehicle. This is a bi-articulated. It’s got three parts to the vehicle. In legal terms, you probably could just about get away with doing these in the UK with some legal loopholes in the length of vehicles. The maximum vehicle length for buses in the UK is 18.3 metres. These go up to about 23 or 24 metres. The reason we might need to consider bi-articulated vehicles is because the forecasts that we’re generating on level of use of the system may exceed what capacity we’ve got in terms of numbers of vehicles we can run and how many they can hold. So we might need to look at whether we need to bring these in for capacity issues. But once we do that when we get to a public inquiry stage, we’ll have a lot of objectors who’ll be telling us about their safety concerns, about how cyclists might get hit, all kinds of stuff might flow from this and it costs more money as well on top of the money we’ve got for the project. So it will be challenging to deliver that, but equally, it will be embarrassing if we deliver a system that’s full after the first year and there’s no scope for expansion.

    Then in an article published in the Yorkshire Evening Post on the 9th January 2013, a spokesperson for Metro was reported as saying:

    Technical specification of vehicles will be key to the success of NGT and, while we are not yet at the stage to contact any vehicle manufacturers, we will be embarking upon a market engagement exercise with companies interested in building the articulated, 200-passenger vehicles needed for NGT and wanting to operate the system.

    In order to hold 200 passengers, the vehicles would have to be bi-articulated, with the majority of passengers standing.

    In the newspaper article, the spokesperson says that Metro is not yet in a position to contact vehicle manufacturers. This contradicts what project manager Andrew Wheeler told visitors to the Beckett Park drop-in in December when he confirmed that Metro has been in talks with a foreign manufacturer.

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