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Timetable change sees new tramlines across Europe

The weekend of the European timetable change (14/15 December) saw five new tram extensions opened in France and Germany. In Toulouse line T1 was extended over the Ligne Garonne from Arenes to Palais de Justice (interchange with metro line B). The 3.4km, EUR 115M, project includes a rebuilt bridge across the river. Livery modifications were made to the 18 Alstom Citadis trams to mark the opening. Valenciennes inaugurated its second tramline, line B from Anzin to Vieux-Condé, which will have service over the existing line to and from Gare SNCF. The 15.5km line is mostly single track with passing loops and cost EUR 150M, including seven more Citadis trams. Despite the official inauguration, regular passenger service will not start until 24 February. Line B is due to be extended in the other direction to Quiévrain on the Belgian border, bringing the line to 29.7km.

Heilbronn was the location for a further extension of Karlsruhe's tram-train system (almost) as new line S42 was inaugurated to provide a 30'-service on the Stadtbahn Nord from Heilbronn Bhf to Neckarsulm Bhf. 3.6km is street based, the remainder over train tracks, but the latter have had to be reclassified as governed by BOStrab (tramway) rules rather than EBO (railway) regulations. This is because the 8 Bombardier ET2010 dual-voltage cars allocated for the service (two sets plus two spares; teething problems are common) have not yet been cleared for EBO operations. When this happens the new service will be extended to Mosbach; the cost of the whole project is EUR 84.2M. In Köln (Cologne) the city's 'second cathedral' was opened, the 28.5m deep, spacious, Heumarkt station (EUR 90M) on the new north-south Stadtbahn served by a one-station extension of line 5. Finally München (Munich) chose the weekend to extend line 19 through the streets of Pasing on a loop linking Marienplatz and Pasing Bhf (900m costing EUR 12M) with a convoy representing each tram generation before free rides were offered on Saturday.

Picture shows first two tram sets on Stadtbahn-Nord in Heilbronn. Courtesy AVG

17 December 2013

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