The Anonymous Widower

More Innovation From CAF

CAF are noted for innovation in the design of their trains and particularly trams. I have read somewhere, that they spend a lot of money on Research and Development and it seems to show in their products.

  • In Seville’s Elegant Trams, I wrote about the MetroCentro in Seville, which is catenary-free and charges the batteries of the trams at stops, through an overhead rail.
  • Zaragoza trams use a similar system.
  • The Midland Metro is fitting batteries to its CAF Urbos 3 trams, to extend the system in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
  • A second line for the Midland Metro could use tram-trains, so it can share the South Staffordshire Line with freight trains.
  • My engineering instinct tells me that the Midland Metro system is more advanced, than that installed in Spain.

This article on Global Rail News is entitled CAF Secures New Orders In Luxembourg, Germany and Sweden.

This is an extract from the article.

Luxtram has selected CAF to supply 12 trams for the second phase of Luxembourg City’s tram network, a catenary-free line which is currently under construction.

These Urbos 3 trams will cost €40 million and be powered through a ground-level charging system at stops.

So it looks like CAF have now added a new way of charging battery trams.

Will we be seeing this technology in the extension to the Edinburgh Tram and later extensions to the Midland Metro?



June 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Seville’s Elegant Trams

Seville’s tramway; the MetroCentro, by the cathedral is powered without using traditional overhead catenary.

Each double-sided stop has a high electrified rail on each side.

When the tram stops, it puts up a pantograph and then for a minute or so, it charges the batteries.

Seville’s Urbos trams are the same as in Birmingham, so will the Midland Metro be using the same elegant system to charge the batteries, that are now been fitted, so trams can run to Centenary Square in Birmingham and the railway station in Wolverhampton?

|Edinburgh also has another version of Urbos trams, so if Birmingham battery trams are successful, will we be seeing them North of the Border?

There’s only one thing wrong with Seville’s trams. Every one is wrapped in advertising, which makes it difficult to see out and look at the outstanding buildings.

How Does The Battery System Work?

CAF , who built the Urbos trams, have this page on their web site, which is entitled Greentech Tram.

The system uses two methods of storing electricity.

Supercapacitor Modules

A supercapacitor has the advantage that it can be quickly charged and discharged.

So as a tram only takes perhaps fifteen seconds to stop from full speed, the fast charging allows the regenerative braking energy to be stored.

On starting again, this energy can be discharged quickly from the supercapacitor to accelerate the tram.

This charging/discharging cycle does degrade the supercapacitor  and they would have to be replaced periodically.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries can hold greater amounts of electricity, but their charge and discharge rate is slower.

They can provide smaller amounts of power to keep the tram going at a constant speed after it has been accelerated.

A Sophisticated Control System

The page talks about a sophisticated control system that optimised the driving of the tram and the minimisation of energy.

The System Can Be Licenced From CAF

It should be noted that CAF will licence the system to other manufacturers.


By using two different storage systems with different characteristics, CAF are able to drive the tram along its 1.4 km route, charging at each stop.




June 24, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Summing Up Seville And Cadiz

Seville was rather a disappointment, as it does seem the Spaniards are intent on ruining one of the gems of Europe, with some hideous architecture. But against that the I liked the innovative trams and was pleased to see the floats before the parade.

I didn’t see much of Cadiz and it is a city that I would visit again.

In hindsight, given the times that the Oriana was in Cadiz, I think it would have been better to give Seville a miss and explore the city on foot.



March 31, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

I Dread To Think What This Might Mean

I caught sight of this notice.

I Dread To Think What This Might Mean

I Dread To Think What This Might Mean

I suppose it’s fairly obvious, but I can’t resist the obvious translation.

March 30, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking Down The River In Seville

I finished my day in Seville by walking back down the river to the coach for the journey back to the Oriana.

There are some interesting bridges and the Torre del Oro.

In contrast to most rivers in Britain, there were very few places to sit and those that did exist, were rather muddy.

March 30, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

More Appalling Architecture In Seville

I’m not totally against modern architecture, as after all, I used to live in one of London’s most modern brutalist tower blocks, but s0me examples like the Metropol Parasol are not to my taste.  Here’s a couple more.

Does Spain have planning rules to stop the worst of these buildings getting constructed?

Call me a Philistine if you like, but I believe truly great buildings enhance the buildings around them, rather than obscure their features. That is why One New Change is a much better building than The Shard.

March 30, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Floats For The Palm Sunday Parade In Seville

After seeing the Metropol Parasol, I wandered through a few churches looking at the floats for the afternoon’s Palm Sunday parade.

In some ways, I find these sort of Holy Week parades obscene. All that gold, silver and expense, when in many places in the world, there is a great deal of poverty and starvation.

If you reckon this is all too ostentatious, then look at some of the churches in Ecuador and other parts of South America. It does seem that Pope Francis is trying to move the Roman Catholic church to a different and more humble plane.

But will he succeed?

March 30, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Metropol Parasol In Seville

The Metropol Parasol in Seville,  must be one of the worst pieces of architecture and design, I’ve ever seen.

I was also told by a couple, I met beside it, that when it’s hot in summer, the market underneath is not a pleasant place to be.

I should think too, that being made of wood and glue, it could be a bit of a fire risk.

Apparently, though, it was built by a retiring mayor, who wanted to leave his mark on the city. Ken, Boris and the other UK mayors, may have big egos, but I can’t think of any legacy of a mayor, that wasn’t received positively.

March 30, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bombers This Way

This is just my take on this notice.

Bombers This Way

Bombers This Way

My Spanish goes as far as gluten and gracias.

March 30, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Food For Armies

I like translation mistakes and this is a good one.

Food For Armies

Food For Armies

Pate of campaign is probably an easy mistake to make.

March 30, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment