French community replaces guided buses with tram network
French urban community of Caen La Mer has launched a 16.2-kilometre tram network. It replaced the guided bus service that was being functioned in the city for 15 years. The conventional tram network is served by the Citadis light rail vehicles supplied by Alstom.
The Caen tram network was opened for the passengers on Saturday, 27 July. It consists of three lines converted from the guided bus routes and 37 stations. The conversion started at the end of 2017, it took more than one year. The conventional tram network is owned by the urban community, it is operated by Keolis Caen, a local subsidiary of Keolis Group.
The new network is served by the new-generation Citadis X05 trams manufactured by Alstom. They were being tested since the beginning of spring. Alstom supplied to Caen La Mer 26 trams. Each vehicle has five sections and 33 metres long. The Citadis X05 tram is capable to carry up to 210 passengers. To provide a comfortable journey, the manufacturer equipped the vehicles with wide information screens, large windows, USB charging sockets, LED lighting and optimised air conditioning. The trams for Caen La Mer were designed and produced at eight Alstom’s facilities in France: La Rochelle (design, assembly, validation, commercial entry into service and warranty), Ornans (engines), Le Creusot (bogies), Tarbes (traction modules), Valenciennes (interior layout), Villeurbanne (on-board computerised systems), Aix en Provence (tachymetry, for measuring travel speed) and Saint-Ouen (design).
Caen guided light transit
Before launching the conventional tram network, the community of Caen La Mer was operating the Caen guided light transit for more than 15 years – from November 2002 to December 2017. The system was served by a the rubber-tyred trams, one of the type of the guided bus services. These vehicles ran on the tyres but had a guide rail and used a catenary like the ordinary trams. The rolling stock and technology for the network were supplied by Bombardier Transportation. The similar technology is still in operation in another French city of Nancy. It will be converted to the conventional tram network by 2023. It is worth to note that Alstom is also developing the rubber-tyred trams known as Translohr. This type is served the city routes in France (city of Clermont-Ferrand, Île-de-France region), Italy (Mestre, Padova), Colombia (Medellin) and China (Tianjin, Shanghai).