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Offline Sandbox Player

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Tips for trams
« on: May 22, 2020, 03:25:47 AM »
Some players feel that they have trouble with building tram network. Here's some tips:

Where are the tools?
The "Tram tools" only provide tram track and tram depot. If you want cantenary or signals, you can find them in railway tools. If you want stations, you can use railway stations in the railway tools or bus stops in the road tools. If you want bridges or tunnels, you can either directly use railway bridges or tunnels (in pak192 comic, use narrow gauge) or build tram tracks on road bridges or tunnels.

Why the trams can't go on it's maximum speed?
Trams are like trains in simutrans. In some paksets, the fastest tram can't go on top speed on tram tracks. If you use those trams, you may place railway tracks (but narrow gauge in pak192 comic!)on places not overlap with roads. Tram tracks only go one way on one tile. If you want more trams on a line, but the line is in the city centre, place two tram tracks separately on two streets (just like London Tramlink in Croydon, the street are narrow for two tracks.)

Are trams useless?
In Simutrans-Standard, trams are pretty useless. In most paksets, you can build underground railway or elevated monorail. Also, paksets without these things often provide fast buses. But, they're not useless at all. Like in pak64 in the year 1930, there's no passenger stations for underground. Also, in that year, trams can go faster than buses. So I use trams in that year in pak64. But since trams can't even carry mail, I use mail trucks for mail. In some paksets (like pak128 CS), there are no bridges or tunnels at all, and although there's fast buses, they can only go 50km/h due to speed limit of roads. (is the game is not balanced?) So I also use trams in this case.

In Simutrans-Extended, trams are more useful. First, you can't place underground railway or elevated railway everywhere. In places only 1 tile above sea level and if the buildings are tall, you can't either underground or elevate. Second, city roads have a very low speed limit, so trams become the best way to transport passengers because trams have larger capacity than buses. But I still think it's pretty useless, or even more useless, because Simutrans-Extended compatible paksets all you can place elevated railways, and you just need to avoid tall buildings (just like where you place trams on two separate streets)

Offline KneeOn

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 12:49:58 PM »
In fully historic games, thinking Pak128.Britain, trams are appropriately balanced so become useful.


I think a lot of your concerns are pakset specific and game play style specific (based solely on your name which is similar to how I play, sandbox!)


What would make trams useful for you?


My own take is this:


I think trams have a much higher cost to build, specifically on street ones but they tend to have a lower operating cost utilising line of sight, signals shared with traffic signals for cars, much lower station and staffing costs making them the cheaper long term option. Compared to the cost of building an underground line and then running it, trams can be used where demand sits between buses and trains.


I'd use heavy rail to cover express, inter town and inter city travel, under ground trains on a semi-segragated network to accommodate cross region, inter suburban travel and trams to move people around a region to the various hubs where bus networks cannot sustain the throughput required. Buses would be used for orbital, shorter distance feeder networks (or first mile) and for last mile travel from a hub to a destination where trams are either impractical to run (dense inner city, where the city wasn't built around or grown with the tram in place) or where an underground line exists (but a tram may interchange with the various networks to act as both first or last mile transit and as part of a more orbital network to prevent overcrowding).

Offline Freahk

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 01:59:17 PM »
Well when talking about extended, most often pak128.britain-ex is meant.

I'd really like to get these 50 km/h tracks earlier, but it's a British pakset and it's perfectly realistic not to get these before the 1990s.
In fact law changed in order to introduce modern Manchester Metrolink, so it's perfectly fine to stick with this pretty British opinion about trams before the 1990s.

Another thing is two tram tracks on a single road tile, or even two tram (and tube) tracks on a single rail tile.
Whilst at least in my opinion desirable, this would be a very major coding project, likely equally complicated to re-implementing the whole waytype and vehicle movement logic from scratch.

So far, I've made quite positive experience with interurban trams/tram-trains, using a mix of tracks and tunnels within cities and usual rail to connect close, medium sized cities.
Actually, you only want to use tunnels if you have some spare space on ground to build most parts of the accelerated tram tracks over ground.

Offline Vladki

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2020, 03:58:18 PM »
signals shared with traffic signals for cars,
That is not true in simutrans. Trams use normal railway signals

Offline KneeOn

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2020, 09:37:32 PM »
I was speaking from a real world point of view in so much as trams, from what I know of them, have more expensive capital costs per km but often are cheaper to run than above ground heavy rail. One of the ways is by having these shared signals. I assume James has balanced costs in game to reflect these savings (through shared infrastructure for example) even if they can't be accurately simulated in game. That is an assumption though.


I should have been clearer in my explanation!

Offline Václav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2020, 05:18:54 AM »
Yes, in real world, at least as I know tram networks in the Czech republic, trams partially share signals with cars. But really only partially. They have own ones that are more or less synchronized with cars signals on crossings where they share roads (even if trams go on rails) with cars.

But I am worried about that it is hard to do.

Offline KneeOn

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2020, 07:16:06 AM »
It would be a good feature but very low priority.


I mentioned it because it's an example of lower running costs. Even if the reason for lower running costs can't be graphically shown in game, the costs can be still be low.


I think that is where trams fit nicely in - intra-urban transportation where heavy rail would have to be elevated or underground but to do so wouldn't be profitable because of the associated running costs of heavy rail.

Offline Václav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2020, 07:48:30 AM »
I don't know current situation about trams in paksets excepting pak96.comic - because long time passed since I have played them the last time.

But in pakset I mentioned are not special tram bridges and tunnels (but I think it is the same in other ones. So I try to create them. To allow multi-level crossings if they would be better fitting to current situation. Currently I have one bridge for very short (1 tile) passes. But I need to prepare also bridge(s) for long passes.

But still, classic crossings shall stay main way.

Offline KneeOn

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2020, 08:04:21 AM »
I think trams can run on heavy rail bridges, tunnels and tracks, so it would be equally as expensive to build and run an underground or overground tram network. Trams should avoid bridges etc to remain profitable unless they're using a road bridge, in my opinion.

Offline Václav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2020, 08:12:16 AM »
I know that it is possible. However, it does not look good to send trams to tunnels or bridges for trains. At least for different alignment. And also for strange face of crossings between trams and trains tracks.

My idea of trams tunnels is based on tunnels known from Prague. I know about four such ones. One is beneath Vyšehrad rock. Other ones are in Barrandov city part.

Offline KneeOn

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2020, 08:25:12 AM »
Ah, in the UK We have a mix of totally new infrastructure for trams (I think Edinburgh is a good example) while Croydon Tramlink is built on old railway alignments.


I play on pak64 where there wouldn't be an issue graphically with shared off road tunnels.


Abroad both Bruxelles and Alicante have trams that go underground.


Bruxelles it is a pre-metro with easy to convert platforms as well as conventional above ground trams.


Alicante all apart from Line 5 terminate in one tunnel in town. Around the very first major junction is where they go above ground and branch off. Tunnels are also used by the trams around La Isleta stop on both the old and the new alignments. I think both these were specifically built for the tram network, rather than repurposed.

Offline Václav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2020, 04:49:17 PM »
All tram stops in Prague (and also in Most and Litvínov - I don't know other trams network across the Czech republic) are on surface level. Those four tunnels I mentioned only pass some hill obstacles that could not be passed by any else way. And this is base for my idea of trams tunnels. However, you cannot say that stop will be only on surface (or am I wrong?). So, why don't take advantage of it.

Btw, trams between Most and Litvínov go on very old tracks (however, probably reconstructed or renewed) that were built (I think) between WW1 and WW2. But current statement is related to sixties or seventies od the twentieth century, when new town of Most was built.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2020, 05:14:51 PM »
Tram tunnels can be seen quite frequently in some parts of Germany, especially in Ruhr area.
For example https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4686478,6.7837203,3a,75y,226.65h,85.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sIVskRzvcO42r_PL3xVYejg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e2

Offline Leartin

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2020, 05:16:13 PM »
However, you cannot say that stop will be only on surface (or am I wrong?). So, why don't take advantage of it.
You most certainly can make stops that can only be buildt underground as well as stops that can only buildt above ground.

And for another underground Tram example, Linz has a tram that goes underground for a few stops.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2020, 05:35:24 PM »
Asphalt tracks?
Well that's quite unusual here. Tram and Light rail tunnels here use "usual" rails.

Yep, that's a former DLR P86.

Offline Václav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2020, 05:48:38 PM »
Tram tunnels can be seen quite frequently in some parts of Germany, especially in Ruhr area.
I know that some tram lines in the Germany and Austria (about Austria I know it thanks to Kommissar Rex ) go also into underground. As part of U-bahn or S-bahn (or how city mass transit networks are called).

You most certainly can make stops that can only be buildt underground as well as stops that can only buildt above ground.
I don't know that command in dat file. I know that this feature was discussed long time ago but I cannot know all changes.

May be that soon I will be like Sandbox Player  :-[ even if I really try to know.  :)

Quote
And for another underground Tram example, Linz has a tram that goes underground for a few stops.
If I remember TV serie Kommissar Rex correctly, also in Wien.



Offline Leartin

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2020, 05:57:10 PM »
I don't know that command in dat file. I know that this feature was discussed long time ago but I cannot know all changes.
allow_underground=0 #only above ground
allow_underground=1 #only below ground
allow_underground=2 #both (default)

Offline Václav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2020, 06:06:47 PM »
Thank you very much. Let's say that it is very strange to build stop visibly designed for surface in underground.

But to prepare reasonable stop for underground is not easy, if it should look good. So I decided to create only surface platforms, at least for the beginning.

Offline KneeOn

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2020, 06:20:18 PM »
I certainly think there are examples of both tram specific infrastructure i.e tunnels built for the use of trams and ones which use old railway alignments such as Croydon Tramlink.

What I disagree with the OP about is that they are useless, because you can use heavy rail.

There are examples of trams being used instead of proper trains in an entirely underground setting which can be upgraded to full metro.

There still benefits to this over a full heavy rail solution. Trams, generally, are lighter and cheaper to run even if building the infrastructure isn't.

Equally, trams can serve suburban regions going around a city centre to act as a feeder and alternative to travelling in to, then out of large towns to change railway services which both relieves congestion and over crowding and increases the likelihood of the journey being made. This is simulated by the max walking/journey times in extended.

I think the infrastructure should include both tunnels designed for trams and those which use former railway alignment tunnels (and this is already catered for), as well as underground tram stations. Bank DLR being a good example.

In all cases trams can be used, no matter if they're exclusively above or under ground or if they're a mix. This is because they often provide lower running costs compares to a full metro network.

Trams should, in my opinion, avoid these high cost way alignments.

I think this entire conversation does highlight that trams are a very flexible solution to urban and suburban transport of passengers. I realise I said making underground trams would be counter productive then listed two networks which have either a mix or exclusively underground lines.

I just disagree with OP that trams are useless, the
real world benefits we've all pointed out are reflected in game in one form or another. They just may not always be graphically represented.

Offline Vladki

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2020, 06:41:13 PM »
All tram stops in Prague (and also in Most and Litvínov - I don't know other trams network across the Czech republic) are on surface level. Those four tunnels I mentioned only pass some hill obstacles that could not be passed by any else way. And this is base for my idea of trams tunnels. However, you cannot say that stop will be only on surface (or am I wrong?). So, why don't take advantage of it.
Brno has one underground stop ;). Anyway many tram tunnels are just road tunnels with tram tracks (Bratislava, Vysehrad)

Offline Václav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2020, 07:20:20 PM »
Brno has one underground stop ;). Anyway many tram tunnels are just road tunnels with tram tracks (Bratislava, Vysehrad)
I went through Brno today. On holiday travel from Prague to Otrokovice and back. :) Just for some cycling equipment. Meanwhile morning travel was direct (without train change), afternoon travel (really afternoon? mostly afternoon and evening - it started at 11:44 a.m.  and ended at 17:55 p.m. in Prague, but with almost hour stop in Brno) was through Brno and then via Havlíčkův Brod and Kutná Hora. Really crazy. Or not?

But back to topic, where (in Brno) is that underground tram stop?

And by the way, problem of trams in game is, that it looks better when they have own tunnels, rather than shared with cars. Situation with bridges is significantly better. But however, sometimes it is better when they have own bridges too.

Trams to Barrandov go on own way, at least in part behind Hlubočepy stop. But in city center (Mánesův most, Palackého most, Jiráskův most) they share bridges with cars.

And of course, I should not forget on bridge between Troja and Holešovice - Trojský most. There trams don't need to share space with cars because tram track is in axis of bridge, meanwhile cars go on sides. But this is bridge that is inaccessible in game. For getting near to ať least idea, three bridges would have to be built. Special tram bridge that would cover all area of tiles - and two road bridges that would cover all area of tiles too (but in case of road bridges it is much easier to do it in that way).


Offline Václav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2020, 07:52:19 PM »
As I see photo of that stop Jírova, it is not classic underground stop. Because it is under wide bridge, if it is that construction above.

But as I see map of Brno and surroundings of main station, Brno needs no new main station - but reorganisation of train traffic (like Prague  ;D). Prague main station is not in much better situation than Brno main station.

It is nonsense to lead all trains to the center (main station). But Prague suffers to the same. However, it has minor advantage of Masarykovo nádraží that can serve part of trains. And Brno would have some such stations too, if its government would like to do it (perharps from Královo Pole or other outer stations).

But I got out of topic.  :-[ But maybe that this may help someone to build reasonable trains/trams network in any large city.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2020, 09:26:15 PM »
Quote
There are examples of trams being used instead of proper trains in an entirely underground setting which can be upgraded to full metro.
When exactly is a train a "proper train"?
Is a DLR vehicle a "proper train"? And if so, does it mean it's not a tram?
What about trams that can run on mainline tracks or the other way round, mainline trains that can run on tram tracks.
Very hard to draw a line here...

Offline Flemmbrav

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2020, 12:44:25 AM »
I just want to say hi from Karlsruhe, we have a set of trains, that is/will be serving:
- A subway/underground "Tram"-track section with multiple stations ( will open soonTM )
- "Tram"-tracks on the streets
- "Tram"-tracks seperated from streets
- "Tram"-tracks completly seperated from traffic
- "Railway"-tracks, some lines even share tracks with highspeed-trains
Needlessly to say, they do dual voltage as well.

Are these proper trains? Trams? We germans sure are lucky that we can just call them "Bahn" or "Bähnle" and be good both ways.
My take on it: a tram is a proper train. Unless you talk legal maybe, but then, our "Bähnle"s are both?

Offline KneeOn

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2020, 02:22:58 AM »
When exactly is a train a "proper train"?
Is a DLR vehicle a "proper train"? And if so, does it mean it's not a tram?
What about trams that can run on mainline tracks or the other way round, mainline trains that can run on tram tracks.
Very hard to draw a line here...

DLR sits in an odd space. One could say trams are simply any light rail vehicle capable of running on roads however both the DLR and the tram line pre-metro in Bruxelles are examples of tram style vehicles running on segregated ways. Perhaps it is better to say light rail because most traditionally named tram networks are light rail but not all light rail are trams in the traditional sense.

Is road running vital to a trams identity? Is weight? Method of operation?

There are networks which share traits which could be considered specific to one type of transit that sit under a different name

I'd say there are (broadly) some characteristics which a heavy rail network must have. if a network site firmly in those characteristics, it is heavy rail but if it doesn't have all of them it could be considered light rail.

It's fascinating to see just how we define it, and therefore its use in a larger multimodal company in game.

Offline Ters

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2020, 02:28:39 PM »
In Oslo, a tram line dug into the ground. Then it dug further into the ground and met the younger subway system. This gave birth to the city's current metro system, which is still called something best translated into English as "subway" (literally "t(unnel)-track"). Ironically, what was originally a subterranean tram stop, is not an above ground subway station. For a time, some of the western lines were operated by both trams coming from the regular tram network, as well as dual-mode metro/subway trains.

There is also a connection between the metro and the railroad. Less than ten years ago, retired pre-metro trains (they look somewhat between a typical subway train and a tram) meant for the above mentioned former tram part of the subway/metro network, was transported to a storage facility some distance from the city. Voltage differences meant that they had to be pulled by a railroad locomotive. Oslo's trams and subway have the same track gauge as the national railroad. There also used to be an interconnect between rail and tram. Trams and subway trains may have been pulled on their own wheels from the factories, until they started ordering trams abroad, rather than making them at home.

There also was a freight tram line once, carrying grain.

So there is a whole range of different rail systems in real life that greatly overlap. That is difficult to reflect in Simutrans without lots of new features.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2020, 01:16:17 AM »
Which lots of new features do you mean?

I am running tram on a railway mainline on stephenson-siemens for many years already, historically using conventional DC catenary trams using DC 3rd rail + DC canenary electrfification. Recently Electrification was modernised to AC catenary, requiring the use of dual electrification tram-train vehicles. A few years later, two tram-train lines were merged using a new road running section and sharing an existing overground section of the tube between two cities.

Offline Ters

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Re: Tips for trams
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2020, 04:09:21 PM »
Primarily, a larger number of waytypes, and allowing vehicles and other objects to be associated with more that one waytype. Secondarily, multiple types of electrification. An perhaps more I haven't even thought about. Like if historical accuracy is a must, that waytypes change over time.