A rubber-tyred metro or rubber-tired metro is a form of rapid transit system that uses a mix of road and rail technology. The vehicles have wheels with rubber tires that run on rolling pads inside guide bars for traction, as well as traditional railway steel wheels with deep flanges on steel tracks for guidance through conventional switches as well as guidance in case a tyre fails. Most rubber-tyred trains are purpose-built and designed for the system on which they operate. Guided buses are sometimes referred to as 'trams on tyres', and compared to rubber-tyred metros.
The first idea for rubber-tyred railway vehicles was the work of Scotsman Robert William Thomson, the original inventor of the pneumatic tyre. In his patent of 1846 he describes his 'Aerial Wheels' as being equally suitable for, "the ground or rail or track on which they run". The patent also included a drawing of such a railway, with the weight carried by pneumatic main wheels running on a flat board track and guidance provided by small horizontal steel wheels running on the sides of a central vertical guide rail. A similar arrangement was patented by Alejandro Goicoechea, inventor of Talgo, in February 1936, patent ES 141056; in 1973, he built a development of this patent: 'Tren Vertebrado', Patent DE1755198; at Avenida Marítima, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
During the World War II German occupation of Paris, the Metro system was used to capacity, with relatively little maintenance performed. At the end of the war, the system was so worn that thought was given as to how to renovate it. Rubber-tyred metro technology was first applied to the Paris Métro, developed by Michelin, who provided the tyres and guidance system, in collaboration with Renault, who provided the vehicles. Starting in 1951, an experimental vehicle, the MP 51, operated on a test track between Porte des Lilas and Pré Saint Gervais, a section of line not open to the public.
Line 11 Châtelet – Mairie des Lilas was the first line to be converted, in 1956, chosen because of its steep grades. This was followed by Line 1 Château de Vincennes – Pont de Neuilly in 1964, and Line 4 Porte d'Orléans – Porte de Clignancourt in 1967, converted because they had the heaviest traffic load of all Paris Métro lines. Finally, Line 6 Charles de Gaulle – Étoile – Nation was converted in 1974 to reduce train noise on its many elevated sections. Because of the high cost of converting existing rail-based lines, this is no longer done in Paris, or elsewhere. Now, rubber-tyred metros are used in new systems or lines only, including the new Paris Métro Line 14.
The first completely rubber-tyred metro system was built in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1966. Santiago Metro and Mexico City Metro are based on Paris Métro rubber-tyred trains. A few more recent rubber-tyred systems have used automated, driverless trains; one of the first such systems, developed by Matra, opened in 1983 in Lille, and others have since been built in Toulouse and Rennes. Paris Metro Line 14 was automated from its beginning (1998), and Line 1 was converted to automatic in 2007–2011. The first automated rubber-tyred system opened in Kobe, Japan, in February 1981. It is the Port Liner linking Sannomiya railway station with Port Island.
Trains are usually in the form of electric multiple units. Just as on a conventional railway, the driver does not have to steer, with the system relying on some sort of guideway to direct the train. The type of guideway varies between networks. Most use two parallel roll ways, each the width of a tyre, which are made of various materials. The Montreal Metro, Lille Metro, Toulouse Metro, and most parts of Santiago Metro, use concrete. The Busan Subway Line 4 employs a concrete slab. The Paris Métro, Mexico City Metro, and the non-underground section of Santiago Metro, use H-Shaped hot rolled steel, and the Sapporo Municipal Subway uses flat steel. The Sapporo system and Lille Metro use a single central guide rail only.
On some systems, such those in Paris, Montreal, and Mexico City, there is a conventional 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge railway track between the roll ways. The bogies of the train include railway wheels with longer flanges than normal. These conventional wheels are normally just above the rails, but come into use in the case of a flat tyre, or at switches (points) and crossings. In Paris these rails were also used to enable mixed traffic, with rubber-tyred and steel-wheeled trains using the same track, particularly during conversion from normal railway track. The VAL system, used in Lille and Toulouse, has other sorts of flat-tyre compensation and switching methods.[clarification needed]
On most systems, the electric power is supplied from one of the guide bars, which serves as a third rail. The current is picked up by a separate lateral pickup shoe. The return current passes via a return shoe to one or both of the conventional railway tracks, which are part of most systems, or to the other guide bar.
Rubber tyres have higher rolling resistance than traditional steel railway wheels. There are some advantages and disadvantages to increased rolling resistance, causing them to not be used in certain countries.
Compared to steel wheel on steel rail, the advantages of rubber-tyred metro systems are:
The higher friction and increased rolling resistance cause disadvantages (compared to steel wheel on steel rail):
Although it is a more complex technology, most rubber-tyred metro systems use quite simple techniques, in contrast to guided buses. Heat dissipation is an issue as eventually all traction energy consumed by the train — except the electric energy regenerated back into the substation during electrodynamic braking — will end up in losses (mostly heat). In frequently operated tunnels (typical metro operation) the extra heat from rubber tyres is a widespread problem, necessitating ventilation of the tunnels. As a result, some rubber-tyred metro systems do not have air-conditioned trains, as air conditioning would heat the tunnels to temperatures where operation is not possible.
Automated driverless systems are not exclusively rubber-tyred; many have since been built using conventional rail technology, such as London's Docklands Light Railway, the Copenhagen metro and Vancouver's SkyTrain, the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort line, which uses converted rolling stocks from non-driverless trains, as well as AirTrain JFK, which links JFK Airport in New York City with local subway and commuter trains. Most monorail manufacturers prefer rubber tyres.
|Canada||Montreal||Montreal Metro||Bombardier MR-73 (Green, Blue, Yellow)
Alstom/Bombardier MPM-10 (Orange, Green)
|Chile||Santiago||Santiago Metro (Lines 1, 2, and 5)||Alstom NS-74 (5)
Concarril NS-88 (2)
Alstom NS-93 (1, 5)
Alstom NS-04 (2)
CAF NS-07 (1)
CAF NS-12 (1)
Alstom NS-16 (2, 5)
|China||Chongqing||Bishan rubber-tyred tram||BYD Skyshuttle||2021|
|Guangzhou||Zhujiang New Town Automated People Mover System||Bombardier Innovia APM 100||2010|
|Shanghai||Shanghai Metro (Pujiang line)||Bombardier Innovia APM 300||2018|
|France||Lille||Lille Metro||Matra VAL206
|Lyon||Lyon Metro (Lines A, B, and D)||Alstom MPL 75 (A, B)
Alstom MPL 85 (D)
|Marseille||Marseille Metro||Alstom MPM 76||1977|
|Paris||Paris Métro (Lines 1, 4, 6, 11, and 14)||Michelin / Alstom, 1,435 mm between Rollways||1958[e]|
|Paris (Orly Airport)||Orlyval||Matra VAL206||1991|
|Paris (Charles de Gaulle Airport)||CDGVAL||Siemens VAL208||2007|
|Rennes||Rennes Metro||Siemens VAL208||2002|
|Toulouse||Toulouse Metro||Matra VAL206
|Germany||Frankfurt Airport||SkyLine||Bombardier Innovia APM 100 (as Adtranz CX-100)||1994|
|Munich Airport||Bombardier Innovia APM 300||2015|
|Indonesia||Soekarno–Hatta International Airport||Soekarno–Hatta Airport Skytrain||Woojin||2017|
|Hong Kong||Hong Kong (Chek Lap Kok Airport)||Automated People Mover||Mitsubishi Crystal Mover
2007 (Phase II)
|Japan||Hiroshima||Hiroshima Rapid Transit (Astram Line)||Kawasaki
|Kobe||Kobe New Transit (Port Island Line / Rokkō Island Line)||Kawasaki||1981 (Port Island Line) |
1990 (Rokkō Island Line)
|Osaka||Nankō Port Town Line||Niigata Transys||1981|
|Sapporo||Sapporo Municipal Subway||Kawasaki||1971|
|Nippori-Toneri Liner||Niigata Transys||2008|
|Tokorozawa / Higashimurayama||Seibu Yamaguchi Line||Niigata Transys||1985|
|Sakura||Yamaman Yūkarigaoka Line||Nippon Sharyo||1982|
|Yokohama||Kanazawa Seaside Line||Mitsubishi
|South Korea||Busan||Busan Subway Line 4||Woojin||2011|
|Uijeongbu||U Line||Siemens VAL208||2012|
|Macau||Taipa, Cotai||Macau Light Rapid Transit||Mitsubishi Crystal Mover||2019|
|Malaysia||Kuala Lumpur International Airport||Aerotrain||Bombardier Innovia APM 100 (as Adtranz CX-100)||1998|
|Mexico||Mexico City||Mexico City Metro (All lines except A & 12)||Michelin, 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) between Rollways||1969|
|Singapore||Singapore||Light Rail Transit||Bombardier Innovia APM 100 (C801 [as Adtranz CX-100] and C801A) and future APM 300R (C801B)
Mitsubishi Crystal Mover (C810 and C810A)
|Switzerland||Lausanne||Lausanne Metro Line M2||Alstom MP 89||2008|
|Taiwan||Taipei||Taipei Metro Brown Line||Matra/GEC Alsthom VAL 256
Bombardier Innovia APM 256
|Taoyuan Airport||Taoyuan International Airport Skytrain||Niigata Transys||2018|
|Thailand||Bangkok||Gold Line||Bombardier Innovia APM 300||2020|
|UAE||Dubai International Airport||Dubai International Airport Automated People Mover||Mitsubishi Crystal Mover (Terminal 3)
Bombardier Innovia APM 300 (Terminal 1)
|United Kingdom||Gatwick Airport||Terminal-Rail Shuttle||Bombardier Innovia APM 100 (Replaced C-100s)||1988|
|Stansted, Essex (Stansted Airport)||Stansted Airport Transit System||Westinghouse/Adtranz C-100
|Heathrow Airport||Heathrow Terminal 5 Transit||Bombardier Innovia APM 200||2008|
|United States||Chicago, Illinois (O'Hare)||Airport Transit System||Bombardier Innovia APM 256 (Replaced VAL256s in 2019)||1993–2018 (VAL), 2021 (Innovia)|
|Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (DFW Airport)||DFW Skylink||Bombardier Innovia APM 200||2007|
|Houston, Texas (George Bush Intercontinental Airport)||Skyway||Bombardier Innovia APM 100 (as Adtranz CX-100)||1999|
|Miami, Florida||Metromover||Bombardier Innovia APM 100 (Replaced C-100s late 2014)||1986|
|Phoenix, Arizona (Sky Harbor International Airport)||PHX Sky Train||Bombardier Innovia APM 200||2013|
|San Francisco, California (SFO Airport)||AirTrain (SFO)||Bombardier Innovia APM 100||2003|
|Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)||The Plane Train||Westinghouse C-100/Bombardier Innovia APM 100||1980|
|Indonesia||Bandung||Metro Kapsul Bandung with domestic driverless rubber-tyred technology|
|South Korea||Busan||Busan Metro Line 5|
|United States||Los Angeles, California (LAX Airport)||LAX Automated People Mover|
|South Korea||Suwon||one line, name not yet announced|
|Gwangmyeong||one line, name not yet announced|
|Country/Region||City/Region||System||Technology||Year opened||Year closed|