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For 35 years Bath trams ran to Combe Down, a 450 foot climb from the city centre.

Present day Sheffield tram routes include several 10% (1 in 10) gradients [65kb] and these are used daily at high speeds in complete safety.

The steepest gradient on the proposed routes would be 12% (1 in 8). which occurs in three short stretches on the Lansdown route . Crown Hill in Croydon has a similar gradient (Picture). The longest continuous gradient, about 8% (1 in 12) is Wellsway on the Combe Down route.

In 1903 the Lansdown route was surveyed for the previous tramway system, but the only part actually built was in Broad Street. This included a 12% (1 in 8) gradient which operated for many years without difficulty.

In emergency, trams can increase their braking power by automatically dropping sand on the track and with magnetic brakes which clamp to the rails with many tons force.

Long uphill runs require considerable power but this can be partially recouped by regenerative braking.

A tram which skids can only go in the direction it would have taken anyway.

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