Citadis 1_2

Photo: Jérémie Anne

FRANCE: The first of 61 Citadis X05 trams that Alstom is building for municipal transport authority Nantes Métropole has been unveiled at the supplier’s La Rochelle plant.

The city ordered the trams in two batches in 2020-21. The contract value was €240m, fully funded by the local council. The first tram is expected to enter service at the end of the year, with the first 14 cars due for delivery by the end of 2024. These will run on Line 1, which is used by about 100 000 passengers a day.

A further 47 trams will be used to replace the current fleet of TFS1 vehicles across the current three-line network. These date from the mid-1980s; Nantes is regarded as having France’s first modern tram network, which opened in 1985.

Supporting tram expansion

A batch of 14 of the trams will be dedicated to future routes 6 and 7 which will run over an extension now under construction for opening in 2027.


The extension will take routes 6 and 7 south from Chantiers Navals in the city centre to serve the Ile-de-Nantes regeneration zone which is on an island in the River Loire. The Anne-de-Bretagne road bridge is being rebuilt to handle trams, and another bridge will be built at the southern end of the island to take the tramway to a terminus at Basse-Île in the Rezé district.

Route 6 will run to and from Ranzay in the north of the city over tracks already used by route 1. A 4 km northern extension is under construction from Ranzay to Babinière, to be completed in 2025. Route 7 will also share route 1’s tracks between François Mitterrand in the west and Chantiers Navals.

Existing depots will be renovated to support the Citadis X05 cars and a new maintenance centre will be built at Babinière.

Residents involved in the design

The 45 m trams have seven modules on three powered and two unpowered bogies and seven doors. They have capacity for 300 passengers and a top speed of 70 km/h.

Nantes Alstom Citadis tram launch-NM-RCP (3)

The internal and external design of the trams has been led by the RCP Design Global agency in partnership with Alstom. RCP founder Régine Charvet-Pello said her agency recruited local people to support the design process, and drivers were involved in designing the cab.

Nantes Alstom Citadis tram launch-NM-RCP (5)

‘We have rethought the urban realm by working with 39 local residents in the neighbourhoods to be served by the growing tram network’, said Charvet-Pello. ‘We have created a tram that will be embedded into the landscape, both real and imaginary, to better serve the people living and socialising in Nantes.’

Automatically opening doors

One notable feature of the trams is an automated door opening function. The trams will ‘notice’ approaching passengers and open the doors automatically without a need for passengers to push a button.

Citadis 8

Photo: Jérémie Anne

The door design will see two buttons located either side of the doorway to encourage boarding passengers to stand aside to allow alighting passengers to pass. The doors will illuminate green when they are ready to be opened, and red when closing.