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Paris opening launches next round of French tram projects

01 Aug 1997

PRESIDENTS Louis Gallois of French National Railways and Jean-Paul Bailly of Paris Transport Authority joined Minister of Transport Claude Gayssot to inaugurate the French capital's second modern tramway on July 1.

Originally intended to open last year, the 11·3 km Tram Val de Seine links La Défense to Issy-Val de Seine along the River Seine via Puteaux, St Cloud and Meudon. There are 13 stations served by trams running between 05.30 and 00.30 at 10min intervals off-peak and 5min intervals in the peaks. The fleet of 16 low-floor cars built by GEC Alsthom is expected to carry 25000 passengers a day this month, once the French holiday period ends.

The orbital route has been converted from a former SNCF suburban line originally electrified at 750V DC third rail. Cost of the work has been Fr892m, of which Fr620m was spent on infrastructure; about 1% of the cost has gone on environmental features along the route.

Extensions are envisaged from Issy along the former Petite Ceinture round the south of Paris to Porte de Versailles and later to Maison Blanche. To the north, plans call for trams to run on several routes, possibly connecting ultimately with the St Denis - Bobigny tramway opened on July 6 1992.

Rouen extension

On September 1 Rouen will open a 4·2km elevated extension of its Métrobus tram route from Hôtel-de-Ville in Sotteville to Universit‚ in the suburb of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. The extension has eight stations, while another station on the tunnel section of the existing route will be opened at Palais de Justice. Bus services are being rerouted to feed the trams.