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Points of few will halt Luas.

Byline: LISA O'CONNOR

THE new LUAS system faces chaos if trams break down on the tracks.

Not enough "cross-over" points have been built into the system to allow trams to by-pass broken-down carriages.

An engineer on the multi-million Euro project explained: "Things will be fine for the first couple of years as the trams are all brand new. But there will inevitably be breakdowns.

"When a tram breaks down the trams following along behind need to cross over to the opposite track and then back to get round it.

"The problem is they are spaced very far apart, four or five kilometres at some points.

"So the trams will be stuck behind any that have broken down and then they will have to back up to a cross-over point.

"Having them spaced quite far apart also means trams heading in the opposite direction will have to wait until those by-passing broken down trams have crossed back onto their own track."

LUAS project director Michael Sheehy said: "We have several cross-over points but we don't have them all over the city.

"It's a question of flexibility, they are quite close together in the city centre, every kilometre or so, but they get further apart the further out of the city you go. Between Tallaght and the Red Cow roundabout they may be four or five kilometres apart."

Similar tram systems worldwide have cross-over every kilometre and 500m.

The first trams are expected to be running by May next year.
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 24, 2003
Words:248
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