At the time of German reunification there were no stops or stations with same-level boarding in Leipzig. Until then, tramway boarding was in most cases from the track in the roadway, even on lines with the tram running in separated tracks with stop islands in between. Some of these stops provide a higher bottom step level of 8-10 cm. The tram boarding level for Tatra vehicles was approx. 30 cm with two more steps to reach the floor some 90 cm abovethe top of the rail. This was a difficult undertaking, especially for older passengers. People with restricted mobility were rarely able to use these trams without special assistance. Some years after the reunification, private automobiles lured many passengers away from public transport.
Background & Objectives
The redesigned stops had to be suitable for the use of both existing stock and vehicles to be procured in the future. The given vehicle width of 2.20 m at Leipzig and the decision of the future expansion up to 2.40 m require an adaptation of the built platforms to the future vehicle width. The design of the platform edge was mainly determined by the decision of making buses stop at this platform edge at relevant junctions. The commonest platform edge was not realizable at stops like these. To win the approval of authorities such as the public order office and the police of the newly designed stops (traditional and mountable bus boarders) took considerable time.
In order to create same-level access, it became necessary to raise the platform edge. As a consequence, it was necessary to specify the vertical and horizontal distances of the platform edge from the track in a way that would allow for future developments.>In addition to that it was necessary to find a consistent solution for the equipment and the design of the stops. The work on this problem pointed up a number of issues that had to be considered. After a few years it was necessary to find a design solution for space-critical areas. The reason was the great amount of space needed for the formerplatform islands.LVB, the public transport company of Leipzig, took the initiative, with key partners being the association of handicapped people, the LVB passenger alliance and various departments of the municipality of Leipzig (primarily those concerned with transport and town planning, building codes and subsidies).
After the installation of the platforms, the vehicle width in the door area should not be modified. In the case of applying two-way-technology, the tram width of 2.20 m often used in Eastern Europe cannot comply with the requirement for gap widths of less than 5cm. In the case of enlarged vehicles, it is advisable to adapt the platforms to the future vehicle width dimension. It may be initially levelled by means of sills mounted on older vehicles. Another version is the narrowing of the new vehicles in the lower door area. Before selecting technical equipment, it is essential to gain much information and to implement the coordination of the stop designs in all network areas. The stops that are impossible to be refashioned for same-level boarding have to be taken into particular consideration. Good involvement of the general public and users is absolutely essential in sensitive matters such as the concerns of disabled people.