FRANCE: A major programme of renewal and renovation has begun on the T1 tramway which runs through the suburbs north of Paris.
First opened in 1992 and subsequently extended at both ends, the 17 km T1 was the first modern light rail route in Paris. Today it carries up to 215 000 passengers per day between Noisy-le-Sec and Asnières-Quatre-Routes.
Operator RATP has closed a long central section of the route for most of July and August for a major upgrade to facilitate the introduction of a new fleet of trams. The summer works, which are costing €60m funded by RATP and regional organising authority Ile-de-France Mobilités, will see platforms and shelters at stops extended and renovated, track renewed at key locations, and the control system modernised.
Several stops are to be relocated, notably in the centre of Saint Denis where trams run through narrow streets. The stops at Gare-de-Saint Denis and Basilique-de-Saint Denis are being moved to allow wider platforms and better access.
After the modernisation has been completed, a fleet of 37 Alstom Citadis X05 trams branded as TW20 by RATP will be introduced, with the first vehicles now expected to enter traffic in 2024.
They will be 33 m long, 2 400 mm wide and fitted with six doors per side. They will be able to handle 15% more passengers than the current Tramway Français Standard cars which have been running on T1 since it opened.
Procurement of the Citadis cars, modification of the main maintenance depot at Bobigny and associated infrastructure work for the introduction of the fleet is costing €300m overall. RATP has signed a contract covering up to 120 trams in total, and has placed a firm order for 37 at a cost of €130m. The options would support the opening of various planned extensions.
According to Brice Mouly, RATP’s director for the T1 extensions, the priority is an eastern route beyond Noisy-le-Sec to Val-de-Fontenay.
Work on this is expected to start later this summer at a site near Montreuil Murs-à-Pêches, and it is scheduled to open in two stages between 2026 and 2028. It will require construction of another depot.
In the west, branches from Asnières to Colombes and Rueil are planned to open by 2028-29.
When all are completed, T1 would be 38∙6 km long, at which point the route would be operated as three overlapping services, with drivers dedicated to one of the three: Bobigny – Asnières; Les Courtilles –Colombes/Rueil; and Val-de-Fontenay – Bobigny. Trams would be regulated at Bobigny and Les Courtilles, but through journeys would be maintained.