Volga-Dnepr Airlines has transported a prototype tram to Los Angeles destined for the Los Angeles County MTA Gold Line, utilizing the unique capabilities of one of the Russian airline’s AN124-100 aircraft.

The tram, measuring L27.4m x W2.65m x H3.81m and weighing in at 47,000kg, was a load that required months of planning. Several weeks before the flight a physical load inspection by Volga-Dnepr’s Load Planners was necessary to calculate the equipment needed and load angles to ensure easy passage for the tram when loading and offloading between the aircraft and trailer.

The prototype tram was constructed by Ansaldobreda, an Italian company responsible for designing and manufacturing railway and mass transit vehicles. The tram was loaded onto the aircraft using a specially designed adjustable trailer. A special rail system, provided by Ansaldobreda, was laid inside the aircraft to guide the tram in and out. With the aircraft ‘kneeling’ at two degrees, the trailer was adjusted to the same height and the tram was simply pulled inside using the aircraft’s onboard winch system.

Paul Bingley, Commercial Executive at Volga-Dnepr Airlines UK, said, “The flight posed some interesting challenges for us but expert planning, combined with the AN124-100s outstanding capability to accept cargo of this size and weight, meant the operation was a great success.”