Manchester Metrolink – Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations Compliance

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Metrolink engaged GHD to plan platform modifications to meet accessibility requirements. The 2008 Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR), define stepping distance standards for trams. Initially for new vehicles and infrastructure, the regulations will also be incrementally applied to existing networks.

The introduction of new M5000 trams to run alongside the existing T68 trams across the existing network, led Metrolink to engage GHD to devise and implement a plan to modify existing platforms (built before RVAR) so that the mixed fleet operation met the demanding requirements for near step and gap free access to either the M5000 or T68 LRVs.

GHD developed a model to assess the stepping distance at each door position of both vehicles, using existing survey data for:

  • existing survey data for
    • track alignment geometry
    • the vertical and horizontal distance between coper edge and nearest running rail
  • the kinematic and static envelopes for the different trams under varied loading scenarios

Some of the challenges were:

  • the absence of self levelling suspension on the new M5000 fleet
  • tramstops built on curved sections of track
  • track maintenance tolerances for ballasted track
  • selection of areas of platform for treatment, consistent with the need to deliver a uniform approach for the mobility impaired.

GHD supported Metrolink in agreeing with Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate the compliance works that were needed immediately, such as coper adjustments and track slews, and works that could be deferred such as relocation of tram stops on curved track. GHD then specified and managed implementation of the works needed immediately.

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We’ve got extensive experience in all facets of tram infrastructure planning and design, including tracks, overhead wiring, power feeders, accessible tram stops, and tram depots. We also have the capability to address the ancillary elements of design including risk analysis, safety, street lighting, traffic modelling, geotechnical investigations, urban design, architecture, environmental assessments, planning and stakeholder engagement.

Our clients are looking for sustainable, cost effective and community-enhancing light rail solutions. GHD appreciates and understands light rail projects from planning imperatives, including heritage implications, to preparation of constructible infrastructure designs that comprehend the requirements of all stakeholders.

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