Friday, 28 August 2015

Besançon [4 : Beautiful Big Trams]

Le 18 Décembre 2008, le conseil de la communauté d'agglomération tire le bilan de la concertation publique et approuve le projet de référence,  du tramway. Le tracé retenu est une ligne (1) comprenant une fourche (2) afin de desservir la gare Viotte.

The decision to go ahead in 2008 came after four years of debate and consultation. The system would be standard gauge rather than the previous metre. This was a decision prompted by the possibility of future tram-train take-over of some SNCF lines.

The system, for a town the size of Worthing, consists of one main route running from south-east to north-west with a short branch to the Gare Viotte, the main SNCF station for the town. The service runs as line 1 (full length) and Line 2 from south-east to station. Amidst much celebration, services started in September 2014.
Two practical problems arose as fbb sought to prepare this review. [1] Google Streetview, a valuable source of atmospheric piccies, is erratically updated, sometimes with tram, sometimes without. [2] Lorry driver Dave explored one evening  and light was fading fast, so his pictures are not comprehensive. But fbb will try to give a flavour of the line. (click on the maps for larger versions)
We will start from Hauts de Chazal (south-east) where we find one of the many Park and Ride sites ...
... and the depot. The line follows main roads with reserved track in the centre (or to one side) as here on Avenue Île de France; before ...
... and after.
Clientele will emanate from high density blocks, offices and industrial premises en route.

Once the river Doubs is reached, the new line eschews the narrow roads of the traditional and ancient centre ...
... and diverts round the edge ...
... crossing the river four times.

Pont Charles de Gaulle (tram stop Chamars)

Pont de Canot (tram stop Canot)

Pont Battant (tram stop Battant)

Pont de la République (tram stop République)

Observant readers will have spotted the label "Pôle St Jaques" associated with stop Chamars. In this useage,  "Pôle" means "interchange"; and it does mean "interchange" unlike the Birmingham nonsense of recent blogs. The tram and bus company provides excellent isometric maps of each of these ...
... complete with details of what stops where, of which just part is shown below.
Birmingham, enjoy and learn! There are three such interchanges on the tram network, plus one at a bus "node", plus, of course, the railway station.

On Monday, we shall complete our tram ride(s) and have a quick glance at buses as well.

Plenty more to enjoy.

  Next UK bus blog : Saturday 29th August 


  1. I toured the system last September, shortly after opening, and was highly impressed. The trams and stations are very high-quality despite it being a 'low-cost' system - Edinburgh take note! It has enabled further pedestrianisation of the historic and attractive city-centre
    and there are plenty of strategically placed pavement cafe/bars where one can observe operations in comfort! It was incredibly busy, particularly from the high-rise western suburbs, and very well integrated with the local buses.If only our smaller, historic, cities could have something similar - Exeter, Bath, York... - dream on! The only downside was the fairly sparse headway(20min) to Viotte, the central railway station - I guess this will improve as the system expands. The TGV station is served by a SNCF shuttle from Voitte - I wondered whether this could be converted to tram-train, like in Mulhouse, although Paris Besancon Viotte TGVs do traverse this branch as well.