Ever thought of a tram chugging off in the Doaba heartland of Punjab? Well, it is just a matter of time to see the heritage mode of transport doing rounds of LovelyProfessional University. The LPU campus will become the only second place in India after Kolkata to have trams running, thanks to a research proposal whose findings have encouraged the University management to go for a transportation system, which suits its requirements and is eco-friendly as well. Apropos this, talks are already in advanced stages with Calcutta Tramways Company Ltd., the operators of the sole tramways system in the country. A circular ring needs to be created that will allow the tram to run across the campus, without interfering with existing mode of transportation flow in the campus.
The project of mass transport within the University campus was envisaged by the university, after observing that the students and staff traversing have to traverse long distances within the 600 acre campus. The need for an intra-campus cost effective and non polluting transport system was long, and as a result invitations of research proposals were invited from the student by the University authorities to address the challenge. Nearly a dozen proposals were received with suggestions ranging from CNG-run autos, electric rickshaws, mini-buses, mono-rail etc.
To get the idea of having a tram transit system in the University was not a cake walk, and was ridden with challenges and hiccups, all the way through. With not many manufacturers in India, the students who were working on this project had to approach manufacturers based in numerous European countries and China, with a view to secure technical knowhow. But the exorbitant prices acted as a dampener, and then the students approached indigenous tram builders of CTC Limited in Kolkata. But there was a catch again - the trams built by CTC Ltd. Kolkata worked on DC voltage and the University wanted to employ AC voltage system. The students had to work again to bring amendments to the existing design, and came up with their version of Tram Transit System which works on DC voltage system. Interestingly, the CTC Ltd. Kolkata has now evinced interest in the AC version, and if modalities work out, the same could be employed in the streets of Kolkata in future.
The zeroing down on tram transit system was motivated by a multitude of factors, the most important being that it can be stopped and re-started at short intervals (which is the need of the University, as its having a number of boarding points strewn across its stretched campus) with great efficacy and poses minimal hindrances to parallel pathways. The other big advantage is that it’s an eco-friendly means of transport as it runs on electricity. It is a noiseless means of transport and can be driven in either direction as per the need of the situation. They have a higher passenger carrying capacity and are ideal for commuting between short distances. The operating costs are low, and the safety factor is high as they run on slow speeds and can be easily brought to a halt in comparison with other mass transit systems.
Commenting on the development, Mr. Ashok Mittal Chancellor - LPU stated, “Technology has always been a driving factor at LPU campus. In the past, we have taken numerous tech oriented initiatives for the betterment of students and staff and inclusion of tram transport system will be addition to the legacy of employing technology for making things easier and comfortable for students. The credit of the project goes to the students, who have analysed the needs of campus and come up with a brilliant proposal taking due consideration of the commuters’ requirements, technical feasibility and economic viability. CTC has given its nod to share their technical knowhow with us, and by 2014 LPU will have a dedicated tram system of its own.”