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City to build second tram system
By Zha Minjie

SHANGHAI will build its second tram route in Songjiang District as the city tries to develop a medium-sized transport system to supplement its busy subway network, officials said yesterday.

The electric-powered trams, which looks like a cross between a bus and a train, will link the Sheshan tourism resort to Songjiang New Town. Details are to be released soon for the route, which is seen as a key test of the technology.

The trams will be environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

They will be less noisy than the subway since rubber shock absorbers will be used on the wheels, according to tram builder Changchun Railway Vehicles Co.

The new trams will have a capacity of 368 people in four carriages. Maximum speed will be 80 kilometers per hour.

Officials hopes to build 700 to 800 kilometers of tram tracks in the next five to 10 years as the city builds satellite urban centers in the suburbs.

"The city will gradually make the tram transport one of the pillars in the future, especially in suburban areas," said Sun Jianping, director of the Shanghai Transport and Port Administration.

The city's only existing tram line is in Zhangjiang in the Pudong New Area. It is mainly used by commuters traveling from Metro stations to their office buildings in the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park.

Residents in the city's outskirts and new towns often complain about the lack of public transportation options linking their communities to Metro stations.

Trams will be introduced in some large residential areas as one answer to that need.

Construction of tram routes is difficult in many downtown areas because there is little room for expansion of roads.

Sun said in some areas, such as those along rivers, the trams can "combine tourism and transport functions."

More shuttle bus lines will also be created to link Metro stations and residential communities in suburban areas.

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