Mulhouse, population 112,260 (2006) is a small French provincial city that has just built two tram lines but now is expanding their tram service further afield by adding Tram-Train and track sharing with mainline railways. Here, again is another example of small city in Europe, building with LRT and then greatly expanding tram service via Tram-Train, using existing railway infrastructure. One wonders how many examples of Tram-Train one must show to TransLink and the provincial transportation ministry, until they get their collective heads out of the sand and start planning for Tram-Train for the Fraser Valley?
The following is from SITRAM the operating authority.
A tram-train is a tram designed to run both on the tracks of an urban tramway network and on the existing railways. It allows travel in an extended geographical area without “breaking the journey”, i.e. without changing the method of transport. The Mulhouse tram-train will be the first to be commissioned in France.
The tram-train, also known as an interconnection tramway, will eventually serve some fifteen stations between Kruth and Lutterbach and ten stations on the Mulhouse urban network. This project is sponsored by the Alsace Region with the support of Réseau Ferré de France, the SNCF, SITRAM and the Haut-Rhin département.
The first tram-train phase concerns public transport services between Mulhouse and Thann St Jacques, due to come into service at the end of 2010. The journey will then be mainly covered by tram-train, running every 20 minutes. This 20 km section will include 18 stops including 7 urban tramway stations in Mulhouse.
Principles of the first phase:
The offer will be regular and transparent in both directions from Mulhouse to Kruth
Services will be increased significantly
Connections will be facilitated in Mulhouse station
Most journey times will be reduced.
Several infrastructure developments are currently under way
Between the Stricker roundabout and Lutterbach
Between Lutterbach and North Thann
The rolling stock
Twelve Siemens Avanto tram-train cars have been financed for this scheme by the Alsace Region with the support of SITRAM. A comfortable vehicle with a similar design to the tram, it has higher acceleration/deceleration performance than a standard train:
These 3 characteristics of the tram-train allow a better service for the areas covered, with more frequent stops but also a reduction of the journey time by comparison with traditional trains.
The definitive livery selected for the future Mulhouse – Thur valley tram-train was designed by the Spanish graphic designer Peret, who also designed the urban tram livery. The artist had to take into account firstly the graphic identity of the SITRAM trams and buses, and secondly the graphic identity of Alsace TER regional trains.
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