European latest – Croydon, Reims & Bordeaux

Stadler wins London Tramlink tram order

Railway Gazette

18 August 2011

Ai??Impression of Stadler Variobahn LRV for Croydon Tramlink

UK: Stadler Rail has won a contract to supply six Variobahn trams to increase capacity on the Tramlink light rail system in south London, Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced on August 18.

The first of the new trams is scheduled to be delivered ‘this winter’ and all will enter service in spring 2012, allowing a more frequent service to be operated on the busiest part of the network through central Croydon between Therapia Lane and Elmers End.

Three of the trams will be taken from a batch of five which were ordered for the Bybanen light rail line in Bergen but not yet delivered to Norway; Stadler built these earlier than the 2012 contractual delivery date to make use of free capacity at its Pankow plant in Berlin. Stadler will also build three trams directly for Croydon, plus three replacements for Bergen.

At 32 m the five-section air-conditioned Varobahn trams will be 2Ai??5 m longer than Tramlink’s existing fleet of 24 Bombardier CR4000 vehicles, requiring modifications to the stops and the depot.

The contract is worth A?16Ai??3m to Stadler, including spare parts and related equipment. The London Borough of Croydon is contributing A?3m to the purchase cost.

‘Perception is important, and the perception today is that things are really beginning to move again in Croydon’, said council leader Mike Fisher. ‘By spending heavily on extra trams we’re backing what we’re saying with hard cash. The tram network has proved to be a huge hit with the many thousands who use it on a daily basis. It’s fair to say that, at peak times during the day, the network has become a victim of its success. These new trams will ease that burden’.

The Bordeaux Tramway & APS

Although Bordeauxai??i??s tramway was not opened earlier but in late 2003, it is already one of the biggest tramway systems in France. Currently, there are three lines, which operate separate from each other. Every line has just one intersection with the two other lines. In this way the lines form a triangle in the city centre. Line A is the only line which crosses the river Garonne to serve the eastern neighbourhoods. It is as well the only line which has a branch. All three lines possess longer sections with Alimentation par Sol (APS), a ground-level power supply system. Bordeaux was the first city in the world that adopted this technology. The motivation was to avoid negative visual influence of aerial contact lines in sensitive ambience. APS can be found on all three central sections, but as well in MAi??rignac at the western end of line A. Various extensions should bring the network to approximately 80 km until 2017.


Ai??Reims Tramway


and Tramways Monthly

France has seen another of its cities open a brand new tramway, following the inauguration of services on the new network in Reims. With services beginning on April 18th, this tramway becomes the 22nd new system to open in France, which has embraced the new generation of tramways on a larger scale than any other European country. Having seen almost total abandonment of its original system in the 1930s and 1940s, the tram in France is now seen as the future, with most cities and many towns now boasting a tramway of their own.

The system in Reims took two and a half years to construct, a period which would be the envy of most tramway promoters in Britain. Built to replace three bus routes, two lines are currently in existence, a north-south route from Neufchatel to the Robert Debre hospital, with another, shorter line branching off to serve the main railway station.

Eighteen Alston Citadis trams, numbered 101-118, have been delivered to serve the new tramway, a type which is particularly favoured in France, also seeing extensive use on the Paris tramway. Uniquely however, the decision has been made not to introduce a corporate identity through having a single fleet livery. Instead a local artist was commissioned to choose nine different, complimentary colours and each tram has been given one of these. Thus, the tramway boasts vehicles in fuchsia, lavender, grey, mandarin, pistachio, azure, turquoise, lemon or scarlet, adding a splash of colour to the local transport scene.

Another significant feature of the new tramway is the dual use of both conventional overhead wires and a surface contact system in the city centre area. This has been designed to appease critics of unsightly overhead being erected in areas of historical interest, and mirrors arguments held in towns and cities such as Torquay and London over a century ago.

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