by John Brian Shannon | November 10, 2016
How would you like to board a tram in Bristol that travels to London in one-hour, has comfortable seating, a snack bar, free WiFi, and costs less than your daily London parking fee?
What an outstanding resource for commuters south or west of London!
Even with five-minute stops near Swindon, Reading, and Heathrow Airport — you’ll still arrive downtown London in one hour — even as you work on your laptop computer courtesy of the onboard WiFi.
At the weekend, Londoners could hop on the tram, travelling all the way to Land’s End in two hours (unless you stop for tea in Bristol) and enjoy a glorious day at the beach for a fraction of the cost of driving your own car the same distance.
(I’m talking about the total per kilometre costs of driving a car; Including purchase, insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Most experts suggest a range of 18 pence per kilometre (economy car) up to 30 pence per kilometre (luxury car) as the rate to base all-in vehicle costs per kilometre.
Which totals £153 for a one-way trip, by car, London to Land’s End 511 km, all-in vehicle cost for a luxury car owner — and £306 for a trip, by car, London to Land’s End and back home to London 1022 km, all-in vehicle cost for a luxury car owner)
Not only is this type of tram technology available, it’s operating in major cities around the world today.
One fascinating idea is China’s new line of Transit Elevated Buses (TEB) although it is presently speed-limited to 60 kilometres per hour when sharing roads with cars and pedestrians.
The Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) built by China can carry 1000 people and travel at speeds up to 305 kilometres per hour — but important to state here — only when it’s on an elevated roadway where it isn’t sharing the road with cars and pedestrians.
The video below shows the compartment of an early TEB with a spartan interior for general city bus use.
According to the company that builds China’s new TEB, each 3-car unit can replace 40 city buses, but up to four TEB cars can be linked together. Each 22-metres-long car can carry 300 passengers.
In China, the TEB is set up as a simple transit bus for short duration trips, but there is no reason that aircraft or passenger train type seating couldn’t be employed, with a hostess serving soft-drinks from a cart.
In Britain, seating compartments could fit across the width of the TEB but leave plenty of room for a spacious centre aisle.
Due to the much longer routes envisioned in this proposal, trams could have larger and more comfortable seats than shown in the image below, and a pulldown laptop table with a USB3 connection.
The Last Car could be set up as a restaurant or even a sports bar with widescreen TV’s. The image below shows what a restaurant-only car could look like.
The Last Car is obviously ‘the place to be’ during World Cup Soccer, cricket matches, and other sporting events!
As the premiere railway-building nation on the planet, the United Kingdom could design and build such a Made in Britain tram.
Each tram unit could be self-powered by 24 onboard 100kW TESLA batteries that automatically receive a 5-minute charge at each stop, and a full charge overnight. Not to mention 168 square metres of solar panels built right into the roof of each car that continually charge the onboard batteries.
An additional benefit for walkers and cyclists would be the paved ground-level paths under the elevated road system, allowing cyclists to ride any portion of the route.
Faster commute times, lower traffic congestion, lower air pollution levels in cities, a tourism boost for every city on the route, and a more comfortable and productive way to travel — that’s what a double-wide, elevated tram system can do for Britain.
NOTES: Below is the map from Bristol to London, as the crow flies. You can see the UK highway system isn’t direct from one city to the next — unlike an elevated tram which can go from city centre, to city centre in the straightest possible line.
Below is the map from Land’s End UK to Bristol UK, as the crow flies.
The map below shows the route for an elevated, high-speed, double-wide tram that connects southwest Britain to London.
Land’s End is a great place to spend a weekend — walking the beach, cycling the entire region with many interesting stops, and an abundance of natural settings. A weekend in Cornwall is restorative to the soul!
If you had great trams like that – there would be no reason to take the car! The main problem of those being in Britain is that none of our roads are wide enough. There has also been another invention – the Vactrain with high speeds—up to 4,000–5,000 mph – these could be installed on or beside existing train lines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vactrain
This is why I suggest the tram be constructed on an elevated roadway, that way, it can be as wide as it needs to be (e.g. “double-wide”) and the route can be a perfectly straight line between cities.
As always, very best regards! JBS
I see. I am surprised that this hasn’t been taken up in other European countries. – Sol
This is a very new concept. The Chinese Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) was designed in early 2016, and the first TEB-1 went into service in August, 2016.
China was able to do this by using ‘off the shelf’ parts, instead of designing each piece as a brand-new item.
Thank you for your great comments! JBS