FRANCE: The design selected for the driverless rubber tyred metro trains which are to enter service in Marseille from 2023 has been unveiled by manufacturer Alstom, the Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence authority and design studio Ora-ïto.
More than 17 000 people took part in consultation on three proposals, with the winning ‘Listen to the City’ design garnering 44% of the votes.
Alstom said the design was centred on Marseille’s light and being ‘a welcoming city bathed in sunshine and the Mediterranean’. This is represented by blue trim on the outside and ‘radiant interior harmony in warm, natural tones, colouring the muted spaces with a convivial touch’.
Designer Ora Ïto said ‘the challenge was not to recreate speed in the design, but the smoothness of movement, safety and economy of material.
‘The identity of the train is determined by the hexagonal shape of the front end. The tonalities, elegant and timeless, are reminiscent of the city of Marseille, particularly thanks to the colours blue and white, symbols of the city. Its sleek lines and shapes are in keeping with the principle I call simplexity, the aim being to develop a simple answer to a complex problem.
‘These state-of-the-art trains are a prism of modernity, representing total unity between their function, their form, and the architectural character they will subscribe to for several decades to come.’
The 38 four-car walk-through trains will feature large windows, ‘sophisticated’ air-conditioning, electric braking, LED lighting and a passenger information system with sounds devised by designer Fabien Bourdier.
The car entrances are designed for accessibility, while dedicated areas will be provided for passengers with reduced mobility; work is also underway on a project to make the stations accessible, with an initial seven to be completed by 2023 and 16 more from 2024.
Martine Vassal, President of Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence and the Bouches-du-Rhône departmental council, said the new trains would improve passengers’ journeys ‘with services that are up to the standard of France’s second largest city’.
Mentioning plans to extend the tramway to the north and east, he said ‘daily transport, and its accessibility to all, is a priority of my work at the head of the Métropole, so that the inhabitants of the whole area can travel with ease between where they live and centres of employment and activities.’