ON APRIL 5 a public enquiry closed for the first section of a planned orbital tram route round the south of Paris. Running for 7·9 km between Pont de Garigliano and Porte d’Ivry, the €185·2m line is due to be completed by 2006. Known as the Tramway Maréchaux Sud because the alignment follows streets in the south of Paris named after famous military leaders, it is one of several major transport projects included in a Master Plan for the Ile de France region. Objectives include tackling the French capital’s dependence on the private car - TMS is part of a plan to reduce car traffic on the Boulevard des Maréchaux by 25%.

Philippe Ventejol, who is responsible for new projects and studies with Paris operator RATP, says that in a six-year ’contract-plan’ with Ile de France no less than €4bn is being spent on public transport, with as much as €3·4bn allocated to new infrastructure. Tram schemes including TMS will absorb €404m.

The decision to develop the tram route around the south of Paris followed recognition that orbital bus route PC1 is heavily overloaded at certain times of the day, with traffic rising by 45% since the service was modernised. In contrast to the buses, trams will run on a segregated alignment with priority at road junctions, giving an average speed of 20 km/h compared with 14·5 km/h. Capacity will reach 95000 passengers/day against the 50000/day provided on the buses at the moment.

TMS will have 17 stops, including six offering interchange to the metro at Balard, Porte de Versailles, Porte de Vanves, Porte d’Orléans, Porte d’Italie and Porte de Choisy/Porte d’Ivry. Connections will be made at Boulevard Victor with RER Line C and at Cité Universitaire with RER Line B. The route will also meet 12 urban and 19 suburban bus services, and in 2006 it will also connect with the future extension of tram route T2 at Porte de Versailles. End-to-end journey time will be 24min.

Services will be worked by a fleet of 21 low-floor trams, each 45m long with 75 seats and room for 225 standees. The cars will have real-time passenger information and modern ventilation equipment ensuring a pleasant interior during hot weather.

Construction will be accompanied by a €25m street refurbishment and ’greening’ programme that will cut the amount of space for road traffic by 15% to 30%, with the provision of walking and cycle routes. No fewer than 1100 trees will be planted, more than making up for the felling of 200 to make way for the trams.

Ile de France is providing €74m towards the cost, with the state contributing €44m, the Paris département €37m and RATP nearly €30m through a loan guaranteed by the region.

Meanwhile, extension of the existing T1 tram route is already in hand from Bobigny to Noisy-le-Sec (RG 12.02 p730), for completion in October 2003. This route will later be continued to Montreuil and Val de Fontenay. At the western end of the line, an extension from St Denis to Bois Colombes will provide a link into metro Line 13. Line T2 will also be extended north from La Défense towards Bezons, not far from the future T1 terminus at Bois Colombes.

The Ile de France contract-plan also includes several metro extensions: