The “Lëtz Switch” plan is expected to save the city a hundred million euros and several more years of construction.
“It might seem like we were acting recklessly by digging up half the city and creating a major headache for everyone,” said VDL spokesperson Gonzalo Trolie. “But we were simply doing what every other city with a tram does.”
“When you think of a tram, you think of tracks, right?” he added. “You don’t think of rubber tires, do you? You see, we fell for the same cognitive bias.”
The idea to switch to car wheels came when Luxtram driver Daniella Fabricco got a drawing from her seven-year-old son of a tram with comically large black wheels.
“Oh, that’s wonderful, sweetie,” she told him. “But not accurate. A tram needs itsy bitsy metal wheels that fit inside teeny tiny little tracks.”
“Why?” the boy said.
When Fabricco was unable to answer, she approached her supervisor who spoke to a head engineer who marched right up to Luxtram executives while they were eating lunch and demanded to know the answer. Nobody knew, so the executives decided to go back to the drawing board with an open mind.
One driver, admiring her new, unbound vehicle fitted with sturdy Goodyear tires, said she believes that soon trams will be able to go places the original designers hadn’t dreamed of.
“If we give these babies large enough batteries,” she said. “We can leave the power lines and go anywhere.”
“Imagine how exciting that will be for passengers when we tell them that the usual route has been blocked by an accident, but not to worry because we’re taking the tram offroad down into the Pffandedal, and then we’ll climb back up the sides of the casemates.”
Many drivers are calling for the wheels to be monster truck wheels, which would “just look cooler,” they say, and would help restore confidence and morale lost to actual train drivers who are allowed to travel at speeds exceeding 100 kph.
Originally published by RTL Today on October 22, 2020