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Le Mans light rail takes off

06 Jan 2008

LE MANS Metropole inaugurated light rail services on November 17 as the French city became the latest in a growing club to have opened a modern tram system in recent years.

Le Mans' network consists of a principal route of 12·6 km from the university in the northwest to a park and ride facility at Antarès in the south of the city, close to the motor racing circuit used for the annual 24 Heures du Mans event. A junction at St Martin de Pontlieue connects onto a 2·8 km branch that runs eastwards to Espalarche de la Nature, although services along this line were not expected to start until around a month after the main section. Services in the city centre will operate every 4½ min during the day.

Alstom has supplied 23 Citadis 302 cars, all finished in Le Mans Metropole's distinctive orange livery and featuring interior design by RCP Design Global of Tours. Services are operated by Keolis, while the design and construction consortium for the line comprised Egis Rail, Thales and architects Dubus-Richez and Attica.