What is interesting about this announcement is that the new tram projects are planned near Lille France, which operates the VAL automatic mini-metro. The two approved tram or light-rail lines are very close to the City of Lille and the VAL mini-metro system. This poses the question: Why not build with VAL?
French cities that have built with VAL, do not continue building with VAL, as it is just too expensive to build and costly to operate. SkyTrain costs about the same to build and operate than VAL, yet TransLink doesn’t care about the taxpayer and still continues to plan for the SkyTrain mini-metro or any mini-metro for that matter, instead of light rail. And with any alternative to SkyTrain is offered, it is so poorly planned or the costs are so inflated that SkyTrain appears to be the best option. This is planning by deceit and deception; no wonder TransLink has a terminal case of financial bankruptcy.
From the Railway Gazette
Tram projects planned in northern France
FRANCE: A consortium comprising Systra, Inexia, Eccta, Ilex and Urbanica has been appointed to manage two tram projects in northern France. The contract was awarded by the Artois-Gohelle local transport authority, which is responsible for public transport in an area comprising 115 towns and villages with a total population of 600 000.
The first route connecting Liévin, Lens and Hénin-Beaumont will be 20·8 km long with 30 stops. The second will be 17·4 km long, running from Bruay-la-Buissière to Béthune and Beuvry and will have 24 stops. The tram lines will serve key destinations in 18 towns and villages and are part of an initiative to regenerate the former mining area.
Systra will be responsible for project management and, with Inexia, for engineering and systems. Eccta is in charge of infrastructure, roads and services, while Ilex and Urbanica will handle architecture, landscaping and urban design.
The consortium is due to present its proposals for the two routes by autumn 2010. Construction is expected to start in 2011 with revenue service set for 2014. The project will cost around €657m.