The first light rail line in Dubai was opened last week, to complement its Metro which began operation five years ago.

Passenger services started at 06.30 on 12 November 2014 with trams running at 10-minute intervals during peak hours and every 12 minutes off-peak.

The six-mile long line has 11 stations and runs through the densely populated areas of Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence, connects with the Red line of the Metro at Jumeirah Lake Towers and Dubai Marina, and with the Palm monorail at Palm Jumeirah.

Most of the new line runs at ground level along Al Sufouh Road, although there are elevated sections in Dubai Marina.

All stations and trams are air-conditioned and stations have platform-screen doors to cope with temperatures up to 50 degrees Centigrade.

The trams have separate sections for passengers travelling in gold and silver class, and to enable women and children to travel separately from men.

The line is equipped throughout with a ground-level power collection system supplied by Alstom to avoid the need for overhead wires.

Alstom also supplied 11 Citadis trams for the first phase of the project with a further 14 vehicles set to be delivered for the second phase.

Alstom and Coley Besix will maintain the rolling stock and fixed installations for 13 years under a £95 million contract, with a £40 million option to extend the contract by five years.

The line will be operated by Serco, which already operates the two Metro lines, under a six-year contract dating back to 2013.

Phase 1 of the light rail line cost £553 million. A 2.5 mile long extension from Al Sufouh to Mall of the Emirates is expected to open in 2020.

It was opened by Sheik Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

Information from International Railway Journal

See also: DM