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La Réunion picks tram-train concessionaire

18 Aug 2009

FRANCE: The regional council in La Réunion selected the Tram'Tiss consortium as preferred bidder for the PPP concession to develop the Indian Ocean island's ambitious interurban tram-train route on August 13.

Led by Bouygues, Bombardier and Veolia, the consortium also includes Colas, local architects and financial partners such as AXA and Société Générale. Tram'Tiss was preferred to the rival Run Ram consortium led by Vinci, Alstom and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.

Valued at around €1·6bn, the concession covers the construction and operation of the initial 40 km section of the coastal route, linking Sante-Marie and the airport to the east of the capital Saint-Denis with Le Port and Saint-Paul in the northwest. With 28 stops, the line is to be worked by a fleet of 20 LRVs, which would be 40 m long with a capacity of 265 passengers. It is expected to open in 2014, and carry around 45 000 passengers/day.

Promoted by the President of the regional council, Paul Vergès, the tram-train project was allocated €435m by former transport minister Dominique de Villepin in 2007. Further funding may come from the government's economic stimulus package, and the EU is expected to contribute €200m. The project failed to receive its Declaration of Public Utility in April following concerns over a 600 m section of the route through Saint-Denis, but following further studies another public enquiry is to be held in October.

In the longer term, Vergès envisages that the tram-train route would be extended eastwards from Sante-Marie to Saint-André and Saint-Benoît, and along the island's west and south coasts from Saint-Paul to Saint-Louis, Saint-Pierre and Saint-Joseph.