Can trams climb the steep gradients in Bath (and in winter)?

From Prof. Lewis Lesley:

Maximum hill climbing, and braking down hill is not dependent on vehicle weight but the number of driven axles and the control system used. The steepest tramway with only wheel/rail adhesion was in Montreal (14%), which the replacement buses could not manage in winter. As a number of you have pointed out Lisbon has 12% gradients with all axle powered trams, coping with in all weathers for over 100 years. Trams used to climb the steep hills of Bath until 1939. The steepest gradient in the UK is Sheffield 10%, with all powered axle trams operating up and down safely since 1995.

Kind regards,
Prof. Lewis Lesley BSc, AKC, PhD, CEng, FRSA, MICE, FCIT, MTPS

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From Clive Hinchcliffe:

I repeat yet again there are trams available that are rated for 12% in all weathers.
I have personal been on trams in Lisbon starting fully loaded in a rain storm on 1 in 6 hills that buses have problems with.
The correct driving technique coupled with traction control system can overcome any issues.
In some Swiss cities they have trams starting on 1 in 5 inclines in snow storms.
Coupled with the fact that trams used to operate in Bath I can foresee no issues.
Time to put this to bed until there is a full feasibility study…..

Best wishes.

Clive Hinchliffe

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From David Walmsley

I asked a contact in Lisbon about gradients. He works for the public transport company Carris.  He said the maximum gradient in Lisbon is 14.5 %, not counting funiculars,  and the sharpest curve is 11m radius. And it works.

David Walmsley

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From  Adrian Tuddenham  – electrical engineer:

The big advantage of trams in ice and snow is that only the width of the
track surface  ( 2 or three inches) needs to be completely cleared, not the whole road width.
This is something trams can easily be equipped to do for themselves; Bath
had a ‘snow broom’ car to keep the tracks clear (as did most cities with
trams).When the M.O.D. had an important base at Lansdown in the 1960s or ’70s,
it was considered vital that Lansdown Road was never allowed to become
impassable.  Under-road heating pads were installed on the vulnerable
bits.  I never heard of them being used and I don’t suppose anyone
remembers them now.  They heated the whole width of the road, which was
very wasteful, and they were vulnerable to damage by movement of the
surface under heavy traffic.

Compare that with trams, where only the rails need to be heated (if this
system is chosen) and traffic will not damage them.  No special equipment
is needed under the road because the heating current can be passed
directly through the rails themselves.

Adrian Tuddenham