WORK HAS started on the tramway project dubbed Le Tram in the French city of Orléans, following the declaration of public utility in July. At the end of August Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot confirmed the government would contribute over Fr374m to the Fr1·85bn project, of which Fr68m will be released this year for initial works. Further finance will come in the form of a Fr300m loan from the European Investment Bank.

The first 18 km north-south line with 23 stations running from Les Aubrais to La Source is due to open in autumn 2000. It will link both of the city’s main line stations, the city centre and expanding northern and southern suburbs (RG 3.97 p171).

Concessionaires Semtao, which runs Orléans bus services, and Transamo have confirmed a Fr236·7m order for 22 low-floor Citadis 301 trams to be built by Alstom at La Rochelle, Le Creusot, Tarbes and Ornans in France and Salzgitter in Germany. Each car will be 29·8m long and 2320mm wide, with seating for 44 and a total capacity of 178. The first is due to be delivered in February 2000. o