T12 Tram-train

Start of the test run for tram-train T12 in Paris region

T12 Tram-train IDF Mobilités

Following the dynamic tests conducted in June, tram-train T12 began its test run on September 11th. The T12 trams are now operating under real conditions on the operational route but without passengers. This is the final step before its scheduled inauguration on December 9, 2023. The 20.4-kilometre route will connect Massy to Évry-Courcouronnes in 39 minutes, passing through 13 municipalities in the Essonne department, in the French Île-de-France region.

This final stage aims to verify operational procedures and schedules while ensuring the proper functioning of the entire line. It also provides an opportunity for future drivers to deepen their knowledge of the route and for local residents to become familiar with tramway traffic.

Since last May, residents and future users of the line have been able to observe the new tramway on the tracks. Dynamic tests were conducted to assess the tram train’s circulation and the proper functioning of equipment during its journey. This includes checking the proper operation of tramway crossing lights, confirming sufficient electrical capacity to power multiple trams simultaneously, and testing signals near switches to guide the tramway.

These tests, supervised by Île-de-France Mobilités, SNCF Réseau, and SNCF Voyageurs, also allowed the local community to become familiar with the arrival of this new urban transport line and to remain vigilant when approaching the tramway. The final phase before the line opens to passengers began on September 11th and will continue for three months.

T12 route
T12 route . Image: Grand-Orly Seine Bièvre

An Essential Step

During the simulation phase, the tram train covers the entire route under normal operating conditions but without passengers on board. This crucial step allows the practical application of operational procedures and ensures the proper functioning of all systems (passenger information systems, electrical power supply, signalling, etc.) in real-life situations.

This simulation period will also allow residents and drivers in the newly traversed areas to become accustomed to the specific rules of conduct and safety associated with the presence of this silent mode of transportation. An awareness campaign has also been conducted for at-risk populations since the start of the tests. Disruption scenarios will also be simulated, ranging from delays to obstacles on the tracks. In each situation, safety and passenger information remain the top priorities.

Impact on traffic

To ensure the safe commissioning of the T12 line, the simulation phase must cover the entire route, including the new tracks created between Epinay-sur-Orge and Evry-Courcouronnes (in an urban environment) as well as the existing tracks of RER C, between Massy and Epinay-sur-Orge (partly railway). The simulation planning aims to minimise disruptions to RER C traffic. Temporary interruptions are planned, especially on weekends or in December, just before the line’s opening.

Until its inauguration on December 9th, around ten trams will run simultaneously to simulate the planned operational program at both urban and entire line levels. Therefore, occasional interruptions of RER C services will occur on certain weekends in October and November, as well as in the lead-up to the December opening, to test the transportation offer that will be available from the inauguration.

The Tram-Train T12

The new line will establish a connection between Massy-Palaiseau station (RER B) and Évry-Courcouronnes station (RER D), passing through the municipalities of Champlan, Longjumeau, Chilly-Mazarin, Épinay-sur-Orge, Savigny-sur-Orge, Morsang-sur-Orge, Viry-Châtillon, Grigny, Ris-Orangis, and Courcouronnes. It is estimated to serve 40,000 passengers per day, with a 10-minute wait time between trams during peak hours. Tramway T12 will operate on both the existing national railway network, using RER C tracks, and on recently developed urban tracks.

The project’s infrastructure costs 526 million euros and is financed at 4 percent by SNCF, 5 percent by the IDF region, 10 percent by the Essonne department, and 30 percent by the French state. Additionally, an extra 145 million, fully funded by IDFM, is allocated for rolling stock, including 25 Dualis Alstom trams. The operation and maintenance of the line will also be carried out by IDFM. The line will be operated by Transkéo.

The Dualis tram will have a transport capacity of 251 passengers, with 92 seats. It will operate in a double configuration (two coupled trams), allowing for the transportation of over 500 passengers. In total, the vehicle will have a length of 84 metres and a width of 2.65 metres. The 25 trams for tram-train T12 are manufactured and assembled in France at Alstom’s Valenciennes – Petite-Forêt site. The funding for these trams is entirely provided by IDFM.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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