Tramway Line 3 in Paris – Let’s have a look!


A post in today’s blog about Portland’s new light rail line mentioned Paris’s new Tramway Line 3, so let’s explore Tramway Ligne 3 in Paris. If TransLink ever showed the public true images of modern light rail, instead of their stock of dated and altered photos, there would be much more public support for modern light rail transit in the region!


Tramway line T3 is the first modern tramway in Paris proper. Opened on December 16, 2006 it is known as the Tramway des Maréchaux because it follows the boulevards that were built on the route of Thiers’s fortifications around Paris (built 1841-45) named after many of Napoleon’s marshal (maréchaux). It connects Boulevard Victor – Pont du Garigliano RER station in the western part of the XVe arrondissement with Porte d’Ivry metro station in the XIIIe arrondissement.

The line now carries over 120, 000 customers a day, exceeding ridership projections. Planned extensions include a link to Porte de Charenton in 2011 and eventually Porte de la Chapelle.

line 3

Planned extensions include a link to Porte de Charenton in 2011 and eventually Porte de la Chapelle.



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6 Responses to “Tramway Line 3 in Paris – Let’s have a look!”

  1. mezzanine Says:

    ^I agree that we need more of this in metro vancouver. I can see this on KGH and perhaps the SRY line if they ever remove freight traffic. Perhaps if they keep the vancouver streetcar line and extend it, this can be done.

    Even on the arbutus corridor, this would be wonderful. However, vancouver city controls the zoning but the CPR still owns the land. If we were waiting to get LRT to richmond/YVR and run it down arbutus, we would still be waiting. Longer term, I can see arbutus LRT link up to the vancouver streetcar system by false creek, all the way to marine drive skytrain station.

    Zweisystem replies: Under Canadian Transport rules, the city or GVRD could have purchased the Arbutus rights-of-way for scrap value, a few millions of dollars, if LRT were to have been used. Vancouver wanted the land for cheap, with no intention of rail transit whats so ever.

    If we had built LRT instead of metro we could have had for the same cost as the RAV/Canada line:
    1) Vancouver to Steveston LRT.
    2) A spur line to the Olympic Oval (railway R-O-W in situ).
    3) A line via the CNR to Ironwood Mall at Steveston and #5.
    4) A spur line to YVR (both terminals)
    5) A deluxe Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban, including a spur line to YXX.

  2. Richard Says:

    Yeah, just like you always show ugly pictures of elevated transit rather than the wonderful job Richmond did on #3 Road or sections of the Central Valley Greenway with lots of people walking and cycling along it.

    Or for that matter, Las Ramblas in Barcelona with hundreds of thousands of people walking above the subway.

    How about some balance?

    Zweisystem replies: Richmond’s RAV guideway beautiful? People waling under a subway? You must love that parkcade over Front Street in New West. Oner thing that transit planners have found is that elevated transit systems are ugly and until the brief appearance of SkyTrain and/or monorails, elevated guideways were to be avoided at all costs. Just go to Terminal Ave and see what the RAV Line will look in the next decade. Even in Kuala Lumpur they put hanging flower baskets on the guideway to beautify it, but alas, they were too expensive to maintain.

    With modern LRT, there is no real need for elevated guideways, except if one is building a real metro, the effectiveness of elevated guideways are negligible when compared to modern light rail.

  3. Justin Bernard Says:

    I’ll take a surface rail, over an ugly guideway any day. What is the point of focusing on speed, if resident living along the corridor, and on the side street can only watch as a few thousand regional travelers zoom by? Elevated Transit does not work in an urban centre.

  4. mezzanine Says:

    ^ I don’t understand that point. I would ask you:

    -you do not prefer LRT with some lane segregation and higher volumes?
    -you prefer tram/streetcar?
    -you support building an underground subway if warranted?

    Elevated transit seems to work well in Chicago, Copenhagen and Vancouver.

    Zweisystem replies:
    1) Chicago hasn’t invested in a new transit line since ICTS was built in the early 80’s; No one copied Chicago’s transit planning.
    2) Copenhagen has spent huge sums of money on a metro and needs huge subsidies to keep it operating. So expensive was Copenhagen’s metro that planners wanted to build with LRT instead to create a large ‘rail’ network. So far, like Vancouver, Copenhagen’s metro lobby has swayed politicians to fund more metro.
    3) Who has copied Vancouver? No one. Why? SkyTrain light-metro has proven inferior in operation when compared to LRT. Ridership statistics, which impress the local yokels, do not impress more knowledgeable transit planners elsewhere.

  5. vonny Says:

    the problem with this LRT is

    1/ average speed = 20km/h but in reality closer to 18km/h…for Richmond Vancouver, that could means 50mn travel time instead of 25!

    average speed in this context is not a deterent because it is mostly a pheripherical line connecting radial subway ine between each other on the Paris inner ring (Bd des marechaux), and the line is barely 8km total and patrons use it usually on a very short length, probably no more than 2km on average.

    Note, in Europe, LRT line are barely onger than 10km long, for longer travel other option like suburban train (DMU/EMU like Ottawa O train) are often preferred.

    2/ “boulevard des marechaux” was already providing a natural right of way /platform for the LRT all at grade (no high clearance bridge to build and tunnel to bore): its cost 311 millions of Euros, so close to 500 millions of dollars for a third of the Canada line length!

    25% cheaper per km than canada line
    50% slower than canada line

    that’s it Folk.

    Zweisystem replies: Dead wrong. You make (as everyone in the SkyTrain lobby makes) the wrong assumption that LRT is inherently slow. The commercial speed of 18 km/h, you quote, is based on a streetcar, running on-street without any priority at intersections and with stops every 400 metres. This type of construction would cost about one fifth to build than the RAV/Canada Line.

    Modern LRT, operating on a ‘reserved rights-of-ways’ with signal priority at intersections and with the same number of stations or stops as the RAV/Canada line would have comparable commercial speeds, but the cost would be one half to one third the cost of the RAV/Canada line. Also remember, in France, one third of the cost of a new light rail line is for parks, shrubbery and public art along the line. Also note, that the real cost of the RAV/Canada line is closer to $3 billion as many costs are still kept secret from the public because of the P-3 contract. DoRAVright, found three years ago that the cost for RAV/Canada line was $2.5 billion and that number has now increased.

    As a comparison with light rail, a Vancouver to Steveston & Airport LRT (via Arbutus) was estimated to cost under one billion dollars.

    In Karlsruhe Germany, their longest light rail route is 210 km. or about 21 times longer than you quote.

    That’s the facts and golly gee whiz, I wonder why no one else builds subways on routes with about the same potential ridership as RAV/Canada line? Could it be it is just too expensive an option for what little ridership it will carry?

  6. vonny Says:

    you mention the Karlsruhe tram-train to explain a 210 km long line:
    1/ the exception Karlsruhe doesn’t make a rule (far of it)
    2/ the line you mention use mostly existing intercity (I think DB) railway line in good state of repair and use for passenger service
    3/ It takes more than 3hrs to ride the line end-end…

    May you source the assertion that 1/3 of french LRT cost go to public park?
    anyway, what you show eventually include some landscaping, and there is no reason to present a cost excluding this landscaping (and think about the maintenance of it.

    I just took your example, get the price quote : that is fact.
    Yourself seems to take picture of a pretty expensive system, price of a very cheap system, and explain the later buy the former with the performance of a third one.

    for Arbutus at $1Billion: Wasn’t it a waste a money? what the heck go to Arbutus when you come from Airport or Richmond to travel to downtown: it could have been cheaper but way slower and as a consequence attract way less ridership and obvioulsy could have been useless for commuter from south of Fraser, so not sure it was a right option …and the bus at this time is just fine, not even need for a 60ft one! so not really needed for local traffic: The vintage railway is nice but that’is pretty much it
    (well have a downtown streetcar extended to Arbutus could make it as a feeder to Canada line, and future M line extension)

    Zweisystem replies: You can not talk sense with a die-hard RAV/Canada Line supporter, one might as well deal with the “Flat Earth Society” or “Holocaust deniers”. You make fundamental errors based on myth not fact. How can you say Arbutus would attract less ridership, when no ridership study was done. One of the contenders for the RAV/Canada Line thought Arbutus would be a natural transit line, attracting more ridership than Cambie St. but for the terms of reference were not allowed to mention the route! The truth is, the city, Ken Dobel Campbell and Falcon wanted a subway, just for the sake of having a subway (civic penis envy one would say) and thus the RAV/Canada line myth was created and repeated ad nauseum by the mainstream media.

    You don’t like light rail and will argue for the sake of argument, yet what I find fascinating is that despite all the evidence to the contrary, including the failure of SkyTrain to find an international market and the obsolescence of light-metro in general (made obsolete by LRT) you continue to bang the drum for a very expensive light- metro, operating on a transit routes that doesn’t have the ridership to sustain it and with its two cousins the EXPO & Millennium Lines, bankrupting the operating authority TransLink. Sorry, such perverse reasoning escapes me.

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