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Bordeaux up and running

The President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac, was in Bordeaux on 21 December to present Mayor Alain Juppé and the Bordelais with their biggest-ever Christmas present, a new tramway. After 3 years and 6 months of construction work, the inauguration of line A: Mériadeck—Lormon-Hôpital/Cenon-La Motlette; went ahead as planned despite some concern about the pioneering surface contact current system (APS), which has required many of the individual section boxes to be replaced since dummy timetabled operation started on 24 November, due to their propensity to trip-out. There were three such breakdowns on the morning of 21 December, prior to the presidential ride after lunch. On 28 February lines B: Saige—Quinconces; and C: Quinconces—Gare Saint-Jean; should follow, creating a 21.3-km initial network that has cost EUR 660 million. 12 km is fitted with APS instead of overhead wire. Work continues on a further 21.7 km of new tramway, estimated to cost EUR 427.5 million, for completion in 2007. Alstom is delivering 70 Citadis low-floor trams, of which 44 are required for phase 1. A commercial speed of 21 km/h is expected.

23 December 2003

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