MEETING in Mulhouse on November 26, the steering committee for the city’s pilot tram-train project agreed a target date of 2010 for opening the initial route between Mulhouse and Thann.

Headed by the President of the Alsace regional council Adrien Zeller, the committee includes representatives from Mulhouse, Haut-Rhin and Alsace as well as Sitram, SNCF and RFF. It has set the end of 2006 as a deadline to complete detailed planning and the financing package, with a view to starting construction in 2007.

An initial fleet of 12 LRVs is to be ordered at an estimated cost of €54m to operate the 20 km Thur valley route from Mulhouse to Thann. They will serve 18 stops of which seven will be shared with the urban tram network now under construction.

Infrastructure works priced at €77m include the laying of an additional track alongside the existing line from a junction with the Mulhouse tram network at Stricker to Lutterbach and electrification of the RFF branch from there to Thann. Thann Nord station will be resited to permit cross-platform interchange between the LRVs and trains. Four new stops will be built along the line for the light rail services.

In the longer term, tram-train operations may be extended from Thann to Kruth. During the initial phase this section of the branch will be served by a half-hourly TER route, with alternate trains running through to Mulhouse station.