Green Transport: The Grass Tramway of Kagoshima

grass-tram-tracks-kagoshima (Image: Ian Fisher, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

Inspired by a recent post on Amusing Planet, we thought our readers might enjoy a brief departure from our normal take on urban transportation articles (such as car graveyards, recycled aircraft and the ghost stations of abandoned rapid transit systems). This series of images shows the increasing trend toward grassed tram tracks in contemporary urban design. The practice isn’t exactly new, first used in Liverpool in 1924. But as Treehugger and grass tram routes have become more prevalent over the past 10 years throughout Europe and, in this case, the city of Kagoshima in Japan.


grass-tramway-kagoshima-2 (Images: Ian Fisher, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

While grassy routes make tramways more aesthetically pleasing and naturally compliment the urban landscape, there are considerable environmental benefits to sinking tracks into  turf lawns. As inhabitat states: “Much like green roofs, these swaths of green provide a host of benefits to any urban area, like reducing urban heat island effect, providing a permeable surface for storm water to infiltrate, and reducing pollution. ”

grass-tramway-kagoshima-3 (Image: Ian Fisher, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

Strange as it sounds, it’s even been suggested that trams might be fitted with large grass-cutting apparatus to mow the lawns as they rattle along. And it’s not only trams that are going green! Check out this Chicago rail car on the Chicago Transit System that became a mobile urban park (for five hours).

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