FRANCE: Contemporary artist Hervé Di Rosa conceived the distinctive livery of the first Citadis Compact tram, unveiled at Alstom's La Rochelle plant on November 14.

Alstom has developed Citadis Compact as an affordable option for 'intermediate-sized' cities with between 50 000 and 100 000 people. The Pays d'Aubagne et de l'Etoile region was the first customer, placing an €14m order in October 2011 for eight trams for the 9 km network under construction in Aubagne. Delivery is scheduled for early 2014, and the customer has an option to order five to 10 more.

At the roll-out Daniel Fontaine, Vice-President of the region, said it was 'only natural that the livery of the tram - a symbol of modernity and quality of life - should be the combined product of the imagination of a great artist and the creativity of the children of Aubagne'.

The 100% low-floor standard gauge Citadis Compact for Aubagne is around 22 m long and 2 400 mm wide. It has 35 seats arranged 2+2 and a total capacity of up to 130 passengers, with wide aisles and four 1 300 mm wide doors per side including at the front and back to minimise stop dwell time. The tram offers large windows, air-conditioning and real-time passenger information, while Alstom's Ixège bogie features dual suspension and four 120 kW permanent-magnet motors designed for reliability and low energy and maintenance costs.

Citadis Compact trams have also been ordered for Avignon.