Once upon a time, London had trams. They were pulled by horses and later went electric. Then trams weren’t cool anymore, so London’s councils expensively dug up all the tramlines and everyone travelling above ground had to use diesel-powered buses stinking up the atmosphere and clogging up the roads. Now, though, the capital is set to get some eco-friendly public transport that combines the accessibility of a tram with the track-free convenience of a bus.
Later this year, route 358 in south London (Crystal Palace to Orpington for transport geeks and/or south Londoners) will introduce some pretty futuristic vehicles. Manufactured by Spanish engineering firm Irizar, the ieTram is shaped like a tram carriage, with a high roofline, huge windows and minimal internal disruptions, but runs on the road, with features like covered wheels to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians (and look more space age presumably). Best of all, the ieTram is electric and emission-free. Twenty of them will be running on the route, with overhead charging stations at both ends to top up the juice. TfL says that if the trial is successful, the ieTram will appear on more bus routes across the capital.
It’s more good news for London’s bus fans, following the introduction of the swanky new 63, with skylights, phone holders and USB ports, and there are already 20 hydrogen-powered buses on our streets. If we could just get all the pesky cars, Amazon vans and lorries full of rubble off the road, it would be the dawn of a public-transport golden age in the capital, strikes permitting.
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