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The "third rail" approach fell into disfavor because it is so much more complicated and costs multiples more to build and maintain. Re the Bordeaux system (they don't get as much snow and rain as we do):

"Sources suggest that APS adds about €100,000 to the cost of the trams, whilst the infrastructure is about 300% more expensive than overhead wires."

Opponents of overhead wires are making a mountain of a molehill in my opinion. Where they exist in Europe and other countries, I do not think anybody really notices them (they are more noticeable in pictures than in person) and the benefits just trounce the costs. Lastly, the wires are completely removable once technology leapfrogs them.

I was recently in Dresden, Germany, a beautiful city if there ever was one. See the photo below. Wires look ugly, don't they? I can honestly say though that I could not remember ever seeing wires the whole time I was in the city, and had to find the picture to see if they even had them. I do not believe the wires in any way detracted from my experience of the city. I USED the tram to help me get around though.

by Horace on Oct 27, 2009 11:34 am • linkreport

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