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Double-ended or Single-ended



Traditionally, British trams are double-ended - they are symmetrical in construction with a driving position at each end; and can run in either direction without turning at the end of the route. Other tramways, which use circular routes or have the local geography to permit a turning circle to be provided at each end of a linear route, are equipped with single-ended trams.

The proposed system for Bath would allow a tram to run around the City Centre and return without changing its running direction. At the suburban terminus, however, it would have to reverse, so as to avoid the necessity of uneconomical loop tracks. For this reason, double-ended trams are suggested for Bath.

One advantage of double-ended trams is their ability to perform short working by simply having the driver change ends.
A disadvantage is the extra space taken up by duplicate driving positions and, in the case of double-deckers, duplicate staircases. Both of these problems were mitigated to some extent in traditional tram designs. The unused driving position being available for passengers going to or from the foot of the staircase; and the understair space being used to house heat-producing and bulky electrical control equipment (which was sometimes mis-used to warm the crews' tea or dry their coats).

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