Zürich will test bicycle-friendly tram rails
Zürich is going to test a new product designed to prevent cyclists falling as a result of their tires getting stuck in tram rails. The specially designed rails will accommodate an embedded rubber profile.
Actually, filling rails with a rubber profile is not a new thing. This measure has also been adopted in the Netherlands, often at train-tram intersections. A number of rail crossings in the Amsterdam harbour area, for example, were recently fitted with such rubber profiles. But according to Zürich public transport there have been no trials thus far demonstrating the durability of such a product over the long term.
In the experimental stretch of rail, the rubber profile will be implemented over a length of 90 metres at a stop that that is being completely renovated. The extra costs for the bicycle-friendly filling are 334,000 Euros.
High demands are being made of the product, according to the public transport company. The rubber must not only withstand the intermittent load of the tram wheels, but also severe treatment brought on by weather – such as salt spraying during winter.
Rubber profiles were also tried in the past in Zürich but had to replaced too quickly as a result of wear and tear. For that reason a completely new rail profile has been developed, allowing more elbow room for the rubber filling in such a way that the sharp edge of the tram wheel does not cut through it. The first results are expected in the spring of 2014.
In the past cycle paths were perpendicular to railway lines. But a special technique now fills the grooves in the rails, making it possible for cyclists to safely cross the tracks in a more oblique direction.