Metro Rail in 2016

Currently, Toronto Canada has the highest Light Rail ridership of any North American district. In the United States this honor is carried by the city of Boston, followed by Los Angeles. Canadian cities have a comparatively high rate of public transport usage as compared to that of the United States. There are presently two established Light Rail Systems in Mexico. In the United States, Light rails are common modes of transportation in cities that are mid-sized to large. In any case these are more feasible in such cities mainly because the roads are not overtly crowded and the population size is just right to be able to get through such a setup. There are a total of seven streetcar systems that are strictly the modern versions of the Light rail system and do not owe any modifications to the conventional streetcar versions in the USA.

The oldest street car system that is currently operational is found in San Diego, California. This is revered for being a first of its kind second generation system to be introduced in the United States, as most of the Light Rail Systems currently available presently second generation.

In North America, a few of the lately opened systems are the diesel powered ones, which include the Trillium Line in Ottawa, the Sprinter in San Diego California, and the River Line in the State of New Jersey (source: MaidMarines). Diesel powered lines are only sought out as an option in states that do not have a high population. This is because in a highly populated state starting a Light Rail system powered by diesel would cause high diesel consumption and expulsion, which would raise a lot of concern amongst environmentalists and the general public. Another option is to start in states that have interurban lines with the individual stations being spaced out at long distances which would facilitate a diesel run line that directly connects two points that would otherwise have a lot of hassle with the Metro Light Rail.

The Light Rail is one of the most efficient ways of travelling in North America, and has been so for a long time. It is convenient, inexpensive, and most importantly, environmentally friendly. The highlight of the Light Rail is that one can take it from the street itself while it moves.


Light Rail in America: A History

Until the latter part of the 1880s, pretty much most of the short distance intercity transportation took place via horse drawn carriages that were the standard version of the present day cabs. Post that, the invention of a mechanical setup which facilitated the collection of electric current, also known as the trolley-pole system, led to the successful establishment of an efficient street railway transportation system that was entirely powered by electricity. This coincided with the creation of the IC engine, and caught on very soon because of the poor state of the roads back in the day. The tracks of this mode of transportation allowed for a uniformly smooth journey regardless of the type of terrain on the outside. There was even a time where these street cars were constructed in a way that the single units could join to form a small train.

Jumping to the post world war era, there were a total of seven major cities in North America that still operated the streetcar systems. However, these systems had got more and more sophisticated over the years and many cities switched from calling them street cars to naming them as the Light rail system, so as to distinguish them from conventional street cars after which they had been named.

However, the light rail did have a dark time when it was decommissioned in the year 1950 following the easy availability and the crowd enthusiasm of purchasing automobiles. Back then pollution, carbon footprints, etc. were not an issue worthy of attention and therefore the latest technology of the world i.e. automobiles were all the talk of the town and everyone wanted one, to the extent that the public completely stopped visiting the Light Rail System. The resurrection of the Light Rail system was mainly due to the 1978 adoption of Siemens-Duewag the German U2 system by the city of Edmonton in Canada. This was followed by cities like Alberta, Calgary, and later on taken on in San Diego, California. There has been a switch in engineering trends in the rail gauge from wide gauge to narrow gauge to the presently used standard gauge which is the predominant type of Light Rail System in North America at present.