Vision from 2050
ConnectedCities were chosen for their relationship to the heritage rail network, and although their inter-own transport is mainly electric trains, there are new light rail routes and many technical advances.
The inter-town services within and between the ConnectedCities are mainly lightweight metro-trains with fast acceleration/deceleration and wide, level-access doors to speed boarding. They provide at least a ten minute service. Where all trains stop at every station they can have a really frequent service, like the London Underground.
Few trains have drivers: they usually operate automatically, supervised by staff in control centres.
RailTaxis and Tram Trains
RailTaxis are individual vehicles which run autonomously and automatically on existing rail tracks. They provide a turn up and go service from a station, so users do not have to wait. At peak demand when the system is operating near to capacity, the individual vehicles are combined to form conventional trains.
Advances in energy storage mean that trams no longer need overhead wires. They are very short vehicles with seats at either end and a single set of sliding doors on each side. At busy times they link together in sets and operate like metro-trains.
Multi-car trams can be as long as a short train, and they can be much more frequent, giving a higher overall capacity on the route.
The convenience of never having to wait more than two or three minutes makes these inter-town routes very popular.
There are also a few inter-town routes operated by high-ambience buses – see new routes.
Branding has secured a high level of public awareness and approval of the inter-town routes and ensures that they are used to the full.