January 2018 News

Seasons greetings to our contributors and readers 
Joyeuses fêtes! à nos contributeurs et lecteurs

Success for Santa specials 

Santa trains are always popular in France and this year was no exception.  Demand resulted in recently overhauled 141R 840 operating from Orleans to Tours on the 16th December, followed by a relief service to Pithiviers the following day.

Above. On the 16th December 141 R 840 is seen accelerating away from Blois in the Loire Valley on the outward journey from Orleans to Tours.

The following day 141 R 840 became the first passenger hauled service to reach Pithiviers since 4th October 1969, apart from a FACS special in June 1974, when 141 R 840 worked an additional 'Santa special' from Orleans. Seen opposite running around in Pithiviers station. Both photos Christophe Masse. A video of 141 R 840 at Pithiviers is available via this link

Although 141 R 1126 has recently completed a major overhaul, problems with the right hand coupling rod resulted, as in previous years, in the Père Noël trips starting from Toulouse being worked by BB 66304. . On December 16th, the Père Noël went from Toulouse to Agen. In the attached photo, this special train is seen at Saint Jory station, with steam heating blue fourgon. The following day the ensemble visited Narbonne. A previous special had visited Carcassonne on the 10th December Photo and information Georges Turpin. .

For the first time, the MTVS association organised a week end of Santa specials on its new line at Crèvecoeur-le-Grand. It was an overwhelming success. More than 1.500 visitors enjoyed a winter ride on the 5 carriage steam train hauled by Cotes-du-Nord engine No 36 "Lulu". 16 trips in all were operated. Each one was followed by a search for Santa who was hiding in a decorated carriage in the depot. Seasonal refreshments were offered and local TV reported the event. 

 End of the current boiler ticket means that this was the last performance for Lulu after 20 years of more or less continuous service. A return to steam is hoped for in 2025, the loco's centenary. Short video sequences via this link  

At the Baie de Somme the CFBS organised Santa specials from St Valery to Cayeux on the 16th/17th December to coincide with the Marche Noel at Cayeux. 

Former Reseau Breton 4-6-0T E332 operated the well-filled train on both days and is seen opposite making a stirring departure from St Valery with the last departure of the year on the 17th December

Let us not forget one of the few Santa trains to take place this year in the snow. 

High in the Haute Loire, the Velay Express at Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was hauled by Mallet 101 specially equipped with its "snow plough". Close inspection of the photo shows that Santa was a popular figure that day.

Due to problems with the firebox stays of 141R 420 Train à Vapeur d'Auvergne's programme of Christmas specials had to be diesel hauled, itself something of a raity these days from Clermont Ferrand.

On 16th December BB 67615, now part of the Infra CMR (Cellule des Matériels Radiés) fleet, and repainted from En Voyage into blue livery, departs from Clermont Ferrand for Saint Germain des Fossés with the cab front suitably adorned. Photo Philippe Boulard

Final year for Class BB 67400s?

As the Class BB 67400 begin their 49th year in service the remaining examples now operate just four areas of regular daytime passenger work. Their Intercite work is confined to the two daily return Montlucon - Paris service between Montlucon and Bourges and the five daily return Boulogne - Paris services between Boulogne and Amiens. Alstom Coradia units are on order to replace them on both services.

Above. BB 67438 swings out of the Somme Valley and heads towards Noyelles with the 13:31 Paris - Boulogne on the 18th December

There are two small pools of TER work with push-pull stock. Two or three work Grand Est TER rush hour services from Strasbourg to Lauterbourg and Barr and another two work the Paris Est - Le Ferte Milon rush hour services. The latter services are expected to start transferring over to AGC units within the next few weeks

Right. The 17:05 to Le Ferte Milon waits to leave Paris Est on the 6th December 2017. Photo D. Michel Costes

Since the timetable change the two remaining Class BB 67400 services at Bordeaux, the weekdays La Rochelle and weekend Ussel services have transferred to Nouvelle Aquitaine TER bringing the use of BB67400s in south west France to an end, apart from the overnight sleeper to Rodez, although this is expected to move to BB 75300s fairly soon.

Right BB 67621 arrives at Correze with the  08:31 Bordeaux - Usel on 23rd September 2017 

December 2017 timetable changes

The December timetable changes from Sunday 10th December saw a number of changes to both services and rolling stock. With  Grand Est TER in control of Ligne 4 there has been something of a renaissance with through services between Paris and Mulhouse  re-introduced utilising the Alstom Coradia fleet delivered in 2017. On weekdays there are four departures from Paris at 06.42, 08.42, 16.42, 18.42. Departures from Mulhouse are at 05.24, 07.45, 12.46 and 15.19. All have a journey time of four and a half hours with ten intermediate stops. There is also a 13:42 departure from Paris to Belfort. Upon arrival at 17:47 it forms the 18:15 return service  to Paris. 

With the intermediate Ligne 4 services from Paris to Culmont-Chalindrey, three services each way are extended to, or start from Dijon. Weekday services from Troyes to Paris have now increased to 14 services each way

Other changes see an expansion of  low-cost services. The latest addition to the Intercites '100% ECO' network using hauled corail stock is a weekend service (each way on Saturday and Sunday) from Paris Bercy to Lyon Part Dieu, returning from Lyon Perrache. It is non stop between Paris-Bercy and Beaune, something of a novelty. It also stops at Chalons and Maçon Ville taking 4h30m for the overall journey.

Low cost Ouigo services to western France have started to operate from Paris Montparnasse (Vaugirard) whereas previously they have only called in the suburbs at Massy ​​ and Roissy Charles de Gaulle. 

There are two return trip a day to Bordeaux and Nantes and one to Rennes. Travelling from the heart of Paris sees minimum fares increase from €10 to €16

On 17th September Ouigo Duplex TGV 767 waits to leave Bordeaux with the 19:34 to Massy.

Z 5300 - 50+ years and still in service

These stainless steel, unpainted, emu's were designed in the 1960's and delivered in two batches; nos 5301- 5358 from 1965 - 1969, and nos 5362 - 5445 from 1972 - 1975. The units consist of a motor coach and three trailers (one with driving cabin). The total length is 103 m , there are two motor bogies that operate under 1500v DC with current collection by a single pantograph. Top speed is 130 kph and 3 units can be operated together.

After 5 decades, the original fleet of 145 has decreased to 24 units at the end of 2017. They are all based at Villeneuve St Georges (Technicentre Sud Est). 13 of these units have been in service over 50 years, a record for post-war emu's in France. They are 5304, 5307, 5314, 5317, 5323, 5331, 5332, 5333, 5335, 5337, 5339, 5344, 5346. 6 units remain from the second batch; 5362, 5363, 5364, 5366, 5368, 5426. Twelve Z 5300's have been given a final overhaul at Saint Pierre-des-Corps to extend their lives while awaiting replacement. They include 5331, 5337, 5339, 5363 (2014), 5304, 5356, 5365, 5426 (2015).  

Z 5300's are deployed Mon - Fri,  on Transilien Line R branch Melun - Montereau and Line D at peak hours between Juvisy - Corbeil - Melun. These services continued with Z 5300's after the start of the winter timetable (2017-2018) as the new Bombardier trains that were due to replace them did not materialise (see seperate article about Regio 2N). 

These stainless steel emu's represent modernity in the 1960's. They have .

operated 50 years, a tribute to the excellence of their construction. But for the passenger in the 21st century they have drawbacks. They are not air-conditioned and in winter, the under-seat heating is excessive and uncontrollable. The motor coach is very noisy and at speed the unit is quite bouncy. The bench type seats date from anther era as do the WC cubicles which empty onto the track ! Altogether these trains will not be regretted by passengers today as their retirement approaches.
Above: Z5426 departs from Grande Paroisse on October 31st. Left: Z5314 at Livry-sur-Seine on December 28th.

A new generation of double deck stock for Ile de France begins roll-out

After the delivery of over 200 Z 50000 single deck emu's (known also as "NAT" or "Francilien"), Bombardier has started production of the order for 125 Régio 2N double deck train sets (Z 57000) for Ile-de-France. The first 42 units were ordered in 2013 for Transilien Line R and the second order was placed in May 2017 for 83 units for Lines N (Montparnasse) and Line D. Delivery of the first batch for Line R (*) started in September 2017. All these new trains have been financed 100% by the IDF Region. 

 * Line R comprises 3 branches; from Melun to Montereau via Héricy (Rive Droite), to Montereau via Moret and to Montargis. Line R services are non-stop between Paris Gare de Lyon and Melun. The Rive Droite line is self-contained between Melun and Montereau. The terminus at Montargis for line R trains is outside Ile-de-France and therefore not accessible with Transilien tickets (Navigo, Mobilis). Line R has 24 stations and carries 70,000 passengers daily. 

Rolling stock used on Transilien Line R, at present, consists of Z 5600 double deck units (1983-1985), Z 20500 double-deck units (1988-1995) and Z 5300 single deck emu's (1965 - 1967). The new stock (Z 57000) will entirely replace the existing fleets used on Line R by 2019.
The delivery schedule for the new Bombardier Régio 2N stock is as follows: 
- December 2017 - May 2018 11 units for the Melun - Héricy - Montereau line. 
 - May 2018 - December 2018 19 units for Paris - Melun - Montereau (via Moret) 
- December 2018 - April 2019 12 units for Paris - Melun - Montargis -
- Second batch: - 2019 - 2021 delivery of the new double-deck train sets to replace all the VB2N loco-hauled trains on Line N from Paris Montparnasse to Mantes-la-Jolie, Dreux and Rambouillet. 
- from 2021, delivery of units to RER D between Malesherbes - Corbeil - Juvisy.
New Livery

On Dec 8th 2017, Valerie Pecresse, President of Ile-de-France Region signified the official start of services with the new trains on Line R in a short ceremony at Melun with unit 003. This was the opportunity to reveal the new livery of Ile-de-France Mobilité (ex STIF) The colours are shades of silver grey, white with blue edging and giant letters along the sides spelling out the name of the Regional authority. SNCF, the operator, is identified with a couple of small badges and its trade mark crimson red has disappeared. This new regional livery is to be applied on all the transport vehicles in Ile de France. It will gradually replace the 3 or 4 previous liveries used in the Paris region, including the crimson red, the coloured blobs and coloured blocks, as well as earlier variations.

The New Train

The Bombardier Regio 2N double-deck electric train set is a BOA ("walk through") type, 110m long, with 582 seats arranged 2 + 3. There is under floor heating and air conditioning (AC) for the summer. The AC is automatically regulated by sensors according to the occupancy of the train set. The windows are double-glazed and 220v plugs at seats are provided to recharge mobile phones, tablets, computers. The new train has real time video information screens and 25 video cameras for security. The centre doors of the train are wheel chair accessible (on condition that the platform height is compatible). The new train seems to have everything for which one could possibly wish. But there are no WC's !. This is also the case with the Z 50000 Francilien units.  Up to 3 Regio 2N units can be coupled together for multiple unit operation. In maximum configuration, the Regio 2N would be 330m long and provide 1746 seats compared with a double emu Z 20500 (10 coaches) which provides 1608 seats and a double Z 5600 configuration of 12 coaches which provides 1752 seats.  
Although 5 or 6 new trains should have been in service in December, in fact, only two were in SNCF stock on Dec 28th. During the first two weeks of the winter timetable the new trains were used for only one return service on Mondays - Fridays, and 6 return services at week ends. 

Photos  Top Bombardier Regio 2N Set 003 (Z57005/006)  D Michel Costes. Left Z 5600 set 18C (Z 5635/636) (33 years in service)  Both on the "Rive Droite" line, the first to be upgraded on 16th December. 

€65 million package for Grand Est rural lines

On the 28th November 2017 a convention was signed by Grand Est and SNCF Reseau committing €65 million  to upgrade and safeguard six rural lines in the Grand Est Region.

- Reims-Fismes, 
- Colmar-Metzeral, 
- Sarreguemines-Béning section on the Metz-Sarreguemines line, 
- Port-Saint-Vincent-Mirecourt section on the Nancy-Merrey line, 
- Verdun-Conflans section on the Metz-Verdun line, 
- Molsheim-Saint-Dié section on the Strasbourg-Saint-Dié line.

The €65 million package is made up of €35 million by the Grand Est Region, €20.7 million by the State, and € 9.3 million by SNCF Réseau. Priority will be given to the Molsheim-Saint-Dié section of the Strasbourg-Saint-Dié line where since December 2016, for reasons of safety, a 50km/h speed restriction on the Saales - Saint-Dié-des-Vosges section has lead to the elimination of almost all rail services. A €15.9 million package will see the replacement of 9,000 sleepers between Saales and Saint-Dié with the intention of restoring the normal line speed and an increase in services by September 2018. Restoration work will also take place on the Colroy Tunnel, including replacement of the ballast, and the Magel bridge between Molsheim and Rothau. A second stage will see 16 km of track replaced between Rothau and Saales by 2021. The package is intended to secure the Strasbourg-Saint-Dié line for the next thirty years.

Farewell Class CC 72100

 Having working the 'Farewell Class CC 72100' railtour from Sottevile to Dieppe on the 18th November, 72186 was surpisingly used on the 27th November as traction for a Chartres - Sotteville freight (despite the route being electrified!). It is seen here west of Paris between Plaisir and Epône on its last revenue earning trip. On the 15th December CC 72180 worked a set of withdrawn RIO stock from Sotteville to Le Havre and all three remaining CC 72100s (72180/72186/72190) were withdrawn from Sotteville Depot later that day. Photo Jean-Louis Poggi

Gretz-Armanvilliers - Troyes electrification underway

The work to electrify the double track line 4 from Gretz to Troyes has started. It will require the construction of 2 sub stations, a new signal box, rebuilding of 41 over-bridges, the transformation of a 105 metre tunnel into a cutting and the installation of 6,000 catenary poles and 320 km of overhead wires. 

 The project has been divided into two phases. Phase 1 concerns the stretch from Gretz to Nogent-sur-Seine (72 km) and the 7 km single track branch from Longueville to Provins. This phase will cost 179 million euros and it is planned to be completed at the end of 2021. It is during Phase 1 that the short tunnel ( located between Maison-Rouge PK 80 and Longueville ) will be modified into a cutting. On completion of this first phase, the Transilien services will be operated by Z 50000 Francilien emu's and the current BGC bi-mode units will be transferred elsewhere. 

 Phase 2 will concern the section from Nogent-sur-Seine to Troyes (56 km). It is planned to be completed by the end of 2022. Budget 141 million euros.

231 G 558 Back in Steam

On 18th December Pacific Vapeur Club steamed 231 G 558 for the first time in nearly three years following an extensive overhaul of the driving wheels and axles. Overnight 231 G 558 was moved to Sotteville Depot for testing of the live steam equipment (brakes and steam generator etc ) followed by cold testing of the other components as part of the main-line certification process. Once a number of minor issues have been dealt with it is planned to have a loaded test-run in early February to complete the process. Photo: Sylvère Zanaroli

Bâle tramway connects three nations

On December 9th, the inauguration took place of the extension of Bâle tram line 3 across the border to Saint-Louis in Alsace. The city of Bâle can now demonstrate again the unique exploit of linking Switzerland, France and Germany with its modern, green urban tramway system. Of course, this has been done before. Swiss trams from Bâle used to cross the borders into the neighbouring French town of Saint- Louis and the German town of town of Lorrach (Line 6). But these short international incursions were closed in the 1950's when old pre-war tramways were not popular.

But the Bâle tramway system (started in 1895) survived without interruption and now that electric trams are ecologically 'correct", history is reversing itself once again. In December 2014, the Bâle tram line 8 was opened across the border to the adjacent German town of Weil-am-Rhein. Three years later, the green Bombardier Flexity Basel trams have been welcomed at Saint-Louis staton.

The double-track tramway (Line 3) crosses the border into France at Burgfelderhof. There is a loop here for alternate trams which terminate and return to Bâle without continuing to the French terminus. The service frequency in Bâle is every 71/2 minutes, so the standard service between the Douane and Saint-Louis SNCF station will be every 15 minutes. The route (3km) crosses a new suburban area serving a stadium, swimming pool, lycée, a hospital and high rise apartment blocks. 

There are 3 halts called Saint Exupéry, Place Mermoz and Soleil. At the terminus, a multi-story car park for 700 vehicles is being built. 

This new tram link will provide a journey time of about 20 minutes from the SNCF station at Saint-Louis to Barfusserplatz, right in the centre of Bâle. Saint-Louis is served by TER 200 trains (every 30 minutes Mon - Fri). 

 The ultimate destination of this tram line is Bâle - Mulhouse international airport to be reached in a few years time.
The  video above shows a cab-ride of the return journey Douane - Saint Louis - Douane by tram .

Tramways in France - Update January 2018

In this update we provide some news of the latest developments on the urban tramways in France. In the FEBRUARY NEWS page we will cover Light Rail (Tram-train) projects in Ile de France and elsewhere.

Ile de France

8 tram lines are now open in the Paris region. They total 108 km and include 182 stops. Every day, over 1 million passengers are carried on the network. There are 238 trams in service. As we have frequently mentioned, the Ile de France tram "network" is a group of individual lines that are not interconnected. They are all operated by RATP and managed by IledeFrance Mobilités (formerly STIF). T4 (Bondy - Aulnay) has been excluded from these statistics and will be discussed in the Light Rail article next month.

At Saint-Denis SNCF station, tramway T8 crosses T1 on the level but there are no plans to create new routes using both lines. At Porte de Vincennes, T3a is physically linked to T3b, across the boulevard, but there are no commercial services between the two arcs. These two lines have their own termini each side of the avenue. None of the other tram lines in Ile-de-France is physically inter-connected. 

 All the tram lines are overcrowded most of the day except for T7 Villejuif - Athis Mons. The busiest lines are T1, T2 and T3a. Each carries over 200,000 passengers a day, the volume of a metro line. T5 from Saint Denis market to Garges-Sarcelles carries 54,000 passengers daily but was designed for 30,000 passengers. Four additional Lohr "trams" have been ordered for T5.

Congestion on the busiest lines is caused by irregular running due to a lack of priority for the tram at the many traffic lights and road crossings. There is insufficient capacity in general, particularly on T1, the first tramway in Ile de France (1992). T1 has not been adapted for longer trams. It still uses the original short TFS trams. These cannot be operated in multiple unit. They have been modernised with low level access. From 2019, the tram stops along T1 will be modernised and lengthened and new rolling stock will be introduced from 2021. Below: A T1 TFS low access tram.

New Lines

Two new tram lines are under construction;  T9 Porte-de-Choisy - Orly-Ville and T10 Antony (Croix de Bercy) - Clamart. 

 T9 will be 10km long with 19 stops. It is expected to carry 70,000 passengers daily and 22 new generation Citadis X 05 trams have been ordered. The gabarit of T9 will be 2,65m, the same as T3. The two lines could therefore be inter-connected at Porte-de-Choisy in the long term. T9 is expected to open in 2020. 
T10 will be 8 km long with 14 stops. It will open in 2021 but only 30,000 passengers daily are forecast. It is planned to extend this line further to Ivry in a second phase. The extension would boost the utility of this line. 
T7 is one of the rare tram lines that has not yet exceeded the original forecasts (36,000 daily). It is planned to extend this line along the N7 from Athis-Mons to Juvisy-sur-Orge (Gare SNCF) by 2021. Implementation of the plan has been delayed due to local opposition in Juvisy (A small tunnel of 800m is required). It seems the project is active again. Construction and implementation of the tramway along the heavily used N7 road will be delicate. 

 Other extensions planned and/or under construction concern T1, T3b, 

 T1 is being extended westwards from the current terminus at Les Courtilles to Quatre-Routes in Asnières (+ 900m). This short extension will open in 2019. Then on to Colombes (Gabriel Péri) in 2023. Ultimately to Rueil Malmaison. The eastern terminus of T1 is at the RER E station in Noisy-le-Sec. A project to extend the tram line T1 to Val-de-Fontenay RER A station (11 km, 15 stops) has been discussed for nearly 15 years. The town hall at Noisy-le-Sec has stubbornly blocked the project for over 10 years by objecting to the planned route through the town centre. Their alternative plan has been to propose a route that avoids the town completely which is unacceptable to the Region and the département. 

In October 2017, the Region has allocated 7 million euros to complete the detailed planning of a compromise solution. This compromise was reported by Le Parisien newspaper to resemble closely that proposed 10 years ago, namely a double track tramway in a pedestrian only zone. Apparently the mayor of Noisy-le-Sec has abandoned his opposition. This is not a small project. The original budget largely exceeded 400 million euros. The French State was to contribute 30%. But 10 years later the State's policy has changed and it is reluctant to fund tramway projects nowadays. A major doubt exists over financing this well overdue project.


Is being extended 4 km from the current terminus at Porte-de-la-Chapelle to Porte d'Asnières, along the Military Boulevard. It is forecast to be opened in 2019. Fourteen additional Alstom Citadis 402 trams have been ordered. In December, new plans were published for a further extension ( 3.2 km with 7 stops ) from Porte d'Asnières to Porte Dauphine. Journey time will be 12 minutes. Opening is expected in 2023. Opposite A T3 Citadis 402 at Rosa Parks

Other Tramways in France

Saint Etienne

Saint-Etienne Metropole has a metre gauge tramway network that has operated without interruption since 1881. It currently consists of three lines (T1, T2 and T3). The narrow streets of the centre-ville are served by all three lines. T2 and T3 have a terminus at the SNCF Chateaucreux station. The link to the route diagram is here. STAS (Société des Transports de l'Agglomération Stéphanoise), the urban transport operator, is a subsidiary of TRANSDEV.
Two types of tram are in service. There are 15 Alstom-Vevey TFS trams built in 1991-92 and 20 similar units built 1998. The TFS trams are 23m long and 2.10m wide. The 20 units dating from 1998 have recently been overhauled and modernised. The TFS units are uni-directional. 

16 new CAF Urbos trams built in France at the ex CFD factory at Bagnères-de-Bigorre (Hautes-Pyrénées) have been delivered during 2016/2017- see photo above. The first one was received in July 2016. The CAF trams are 33m long and 2.15m wide. They are bi-directional and have a theoretical capacity of 238 (30% more than the older trams). All doors have low-level access(no steps). The new trams are air-conditioned. Their official inauguration took place on May 3rd 2017 and it is believed that 6 - 8 units were in service daily, this autumn. The introduction of all the CAF trams into regular service has been gradual. and may not be complete yet. 

 A new tram line is to be created from the SNCF station and it will be opened in 2019. 

 A number of older Saint Etienne trams and rolling stock have been preserved. Two articulated PCC trams built in 1968 have been preserved in Brittany by Chemin de fer de Bon Repos. This association at Gouarec is building a 4 km metre gauge line on a former section of Réseau Breton. 

 Our thanks to Georges Turpin for the photo of the new tram at Saint Etienne and for information provided.

Caen and Nancy resolve to replace the TVR

At the end of the 1990's, first Nancy and then Caen (Normandie) chose to install a hybrid guided trolley bus system proposed by Bombardier, the TVR (Transport sur Voie Résérvée). The rubber tyred vehicle could operate as a normal diesel bus or, in guided mode, use a central slot in the road and collect current from an overhead wire with a an old fashioned pole (Nancy) or pantograph (Caen). That was the theory.
Opposite. Nancy TVR with the 'Scalextric' slot in the middle of the route.
In practice, it took a year to debug the system at Nancy and obtain a kind of service that would always be costly, unreliable with regular derailments and occasionally the TVR would burst into flames. The experience at Caen was similar. In the end Bombardier removed the TVR from its catalogue. Caen was the first to abandon the TVR before the end of its theoretical life. On Dec 31st 2017 the TVR ceased service at Caen and work began to rebuild the routes as a conventional tramway on rails. The plan is to re-open with Alstom Citadis X 05 trams in September 2019. 

 At Nancy, consideration was first given to an extensive overhaul of the TVR but in the end reason prevailed and a full scale project is now underway to replace the TVR with a conventional tramway on rails. A delegation has been to Besançon which currently holds 1st prize for the least costly new tramway in France.

Angers, a 2nd line

In 2011, Angers opened its first modern tram line ("A") that currently carries 40,000 passengers daily. During 2017, work has started on the second line ( "B") that will cross the town east - west and share a common section with Line A in the town centre. Line B will be 10 km long with 19 stops. 18 Alstom Citadis 302 trams have been ordered for Line B. They will be the same as the 17 units in service on Line A. The opening date is forecast for 2022.
Opposite. An Alstom Citadis 302 on Angers Line A duty

Tramway of Grenoble

In September last, the tramway network in Grenoble, started in 1987, celebrated its 30th birthday. 

 This network currently extends over 42 km, with 5 lines, 81 tram stops and 235,000 passengers daily. There is a fleet of 103 trams. 53 TFS trams (Train Français Standard) date from from the early years. 50 Alstom Citadis 402 trams were delivered in 2007 - 2009. 38 of the TFS trams are to be overhauled for a life extension until 2030. 

Opposite Citadis 402 decorated with 30th anniversary vinyls. Georges Turpin 

Nice, a 2nd and 3rd line

Following a late start, Nice is forging ahead with a full scale tramway network. The first line, which opened in Nov 2007, was extended in July 2013, and work is in progress on a second line. T1 is located in the east of the urban area. It is 9 km long in the form of a "U". There are 22 stops and the line currently carries over 100,000 passengers daily, an impressive volume.  There were 28 Citadis 302 trams but 15 units have been converted to type 402 ( 44m ) with the addition of 3 segments. The trams cross the historic squares of Masséna and Garibaldi on battery power to avoid unsightly overhead wires. 

 T2, the second line under construction, is ambitious. It runs from the port Lympia in the east, through a tunnel of 3.2 km under the centre ville and then along Avenue Californie, parallel to the Boulevard des Anglais. The line will end in the west with two short branches, one of them to the airport (Nice Côte d'Azur). The line will be 11.3 km long. There will be 20 stops including 4 in the tunnel. There will be no physical connection between T2 and T1 but two of the underground stations will allow passengers to change between the lines. 19 Alstom Citadis X 05 trams have been ordered. These new trams will operate with rechargeable batteries. Recharging will take place at each station in less than 20 seconds. This technology will be used for the first time in the world. The journey time from the airport to Port Lympia will be 23 minutes. 

 The 2nd tram line at Nice will be opened in 4 stages between July 2018 and September 2019. 

 A 3rd line is projected to open in 2020 from Nice-Côte-d'Azur airport to Saint Isidore in the western suburbs, using part of T2 line. In the long term around 2030 a line is planned from the airport along the coast to Saint-Laurent and Cagnes-sur-Mer. 

 Sources for these updates: 
 Ile-de-France Mobilités (ex STIF) press releases and web site 
Local press 
Rail Passion Hors-Série - November 2017 "Le Tramway en France aujourd'hui"
© Peter Lovell & Graham Skinner. The French Railways Society 2017-2018. Thanks to Christophe Masse, Georges Turpin, D Michel Costes, Jean-Louis Poggi, Philippe Boulard and Sylvère Zanaroli . Photos by authors unless credited. 

 Merci beaucoup à Christophe Masse, Georges Turpin, D Michel Costes, Jean-Louis Poggi, Philippe Boulard and Sylvère Zanaroli
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