Tramways de Nantes
Here's a translation:
When, on January 25, 1958, the former Nantes tram system was abandoned, who
would have supposed that 27 years later, Nantes would be the pioneer of the
revival of the tramcar in France: it happened, nevertheless.
Early on in the sixties, Nantes became aware of the importance of an
efficient transport network: it was one of the rare cities that tried to
improve its bus network and take measures to make its use easier.
The enlargement of the urban transport network was spectacular between 1979
and 1984; the length of the lines went from 177 Km to 614 Km. The number of
yearly trips per inhabitant reached 110, which represented one of the
highest rates in France for a bus system. A threshold had been reached: the
level of service needed to be changed.
After the Cavaillé conference, Nantes, which was not part of the polled
opinion, put in place in 1979, a technical team to spearhead a
fixed-guideway urban transportation project in-place. In October 1980, a
request for quotations was sent to various European builders, including
ALSTHOM for the manufacture of 20 articulated self-powered rail cars.
The tramway project was taken under consideration in February 1981 by
adopting a financing plan for the development of the rolling stock including
a state subsidy of 30% of the cost.
The construction work for the line began on October 1981 and was finished
with the beginning of service in January 1985.
The first line was built from Bellevue to Haluchère, following the route of
a bus line with heavy ridership that partially followed the path of a line
of the first tram network. The entire line was constructed in-place.
The start of service of the first line between Haluchère and la Place du
Commerce, on January 7, 1985, extended to Bellevue the following February
17, caused a stir in the urban public transport circles of France and
Europe. Success was very quickly acquired, the ridership surpassed the most
optimistic forecasts and extensions and new lines were studied.
Resolutely modern equipment conceived by ALSTHOM and labeled TFS (standard
French tramcar) was ordered. It was the first series of twenty articulated
cars 28.5 M long, with two compartments resting on three trucks with two
motors. Each air-cooled motor develops power of 276 kW under 750 Volts DC.
The capacity is more than 150 passengers. The first series was delivered in
Two other series were delivered between 1988 and 1992 at the same time as
the entry into service of extensions and the new north-south line. In order
to increase capacity, all the cars were lengthened by the addition of a
third central compartment, partially lowered, after 1992. Finally a fourth
series of identical appearance, but originally with three compartments, was
delivered in 1993, raising to forty-six the fleet of this type of equipment.
But these tramcars, to great relief, do not have a lowered floor for their
entire length. For the enlargement of the depot to assure the operation of
the 3 line which went into service in 2000, and order was placed with the
German builder AD- Tranz for a series of tramcars articulated into five
lowered compartments of the type "Incentro," that has provided service since
then along with the earlier equipment.
In 2003, the system has three lines 35.9 Km long, the biggest tramcar
network in France. The 3 line is being lengthened 2.3 Km to the north
(projected opening April 2004), and the 2 line by 2.2 Km (projected opening
The success of the new tramcars of Nantes has undeniably been at the origin
of the redevelopment of this mode of transport in France since 1985. The
Nantes tramways carry 210,000 passengers per day.