Today I discovered trams have to stop if there’s heavy rain and then I found out why.
The weather in Belgrade has been very warm lately. Often 30 degrees or more. There have been a few thunderstorms as well, though. There was a pretty bad one last night. This morning the weather was okay again then, during the afternoon, there was another storm, with lots of rain and large pieces of hail.
I actually enjoyed it and sat with the door open savouring the scent of the wet trees and watching the pieces of ice bounce from the ground. But wow! There was a lot of water.
After the storm passed, I noticed a lot of activity in the street. When I went to investigate, I discovered the street resembled a river. The water was a few inches deep and people were busy trying to unblock the drains.
A little later I walked to the supermarket and noticed many of the bars that have outside seating areas in front were in a pretty sorry state. The storm must have been too powerful for the fabric that acts as a roof over the outside seating areas. People were busy trying to clean up the mess and put things straight.
That’s when I noticed the trams had been forced to a stop. Although buses and cars were moving as normal, I saw several trams were parked. Even on the roundabout. One of them was in front of a deep puddle but others were not. I had no idea why the trams had been forced to stop but noticed all of them had wound down the sections that normally connect with the electrical cables above the roads.
Why do trams stop in the rain? I’d never come across this problem before and wanted to know. There are trams in many of the countries I visit but this was the first time I’d seen any forced to a standstill by wet weather. However, before today, I’d only had the opportunity to observe trams during light rain showers.
At first, I thought the trams must have stopped due to do safety issues regarding the electricity. It must take a lot of juice to power them, after all, and electricity and water don’t make for a healthy mix.
However, when I checked online, I found a blog post by a tram driver in Melbourne. It had the answer. Apparently, if there’s too much water the metal wheels of a tram can’t get any traction on the tracks and everything comes to a stop. The answer is so simple I’m surprised I never realized it for myself.
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