Thursday 31 January 2019

Mulhouse Magnifique (4)

Whoops, Forgot!
Proper timetables (of a sort) are on offer on  Soléa web site. For the trams (line 2 as an example) they include long periods of "frequency" ...

... but no doubt headways of 5 to 8 minutes Monday to Friday are close enough not to bother. We move on to RED service 1.

More of The Same
Trams run from the railway station to Porte Jeune where all four lines interchange. The service then continues northbound to Châtaignier.
After a right hand turn at Porte Jeune ...
... route 1 sets off roughly northbound with paved track but where cars may not go. The private motorist is restricted to narrow lanes, often one way only.
Whether the blue delivery van was legally parked on the pavement is uncertain - but at least it was not blocking the tramway!
But very soon we are in grassed reservations, augmented by avenues of close-clipped trees.
The foliage is so neat they could almost be plastic!
The terminus is soon reached, where connections are available with bus 4.
This service is "on the list" for replacement by trams ...
... but currently has very posh buses.
An alternative source of the tram times, slightly easier to find, is a full list of departures hour by hour for each stop.
Another six minute frequency Monday to Friday schooldays, every 7 and 8 on non schooldays and Saturdays.

Tram Train and Tram 3
Now this IS intriguing!
Tram 3 (DARK GREEN) and the tram train (LIGHT GREEN) run along the same tracks as route 2 from the Station via Porte Jeune as far as Daguerre.

Yesterday we saw the wiggle which takes the tram tracks up to the level of a "proper" railway line travelling north-ish from Mulhouse station.
The two tram services work together with their own stations alongside the "main line".
"Real" rail locos had to cross the tram tracks ...
... to get to a depot.
This trams continue to the terminus of tram 3 at Lutterbach.
Here, a proper train service joins the tram trains at a left fork to continue northwards.
Tram trains every 30 minutes terminate at Thann ...
... leaving the real trains to continue to Kruth. On Saturdays and Sundays the real trains merely shuttle between Thann and Kruth.

There is a proposal that the trams will eventually take over the Kruth trains; and do not forget that there is tram route 3 as far as Lutterbach also every 30 minutes.
The two routes provide a 15 minute frequency to Lutterbach. Tram 3 vehicles are Soléa yellow ...
... while the tram-trains are silver and blue. The latter are operated by SNCF (French Railways) but with 25% of the staff from Soléa.

Three modes on one route? How would the fragmented railways of the UK cope?

It wouldn't, but the French make it work.

To The Museums
Tram route 1 has a stop called Musée de l'Auto ...
... for Cité de l'Automobile, a short walk away.

Line 3/tram train has a stop simply called Musées (below bottom right) ...
... with a short walk to the railway museum in the multicoloured shed, upper left. Here is the (former?) depot mentioned earlier.

fbb has hopes of visiting No 3 son (at Basel) before his contract ends in June and at least one day MUST be spent enjoying the delights of Mulhouse and its transport.

And we haven't even touched on the bus network - there is plenty to explore there ...
... all interconnecting with the trams, of course!

Maybe later?

 Next big mess blog : Friday 1st February 

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Mulhouse Magnifique (3)

Mulhouse used to be a busy port - not a lot of people know that. If you are driving your big cargo boat along the Rhine (southbound - more correctly the Canal d'Alsace) you can turn right at the delightfully named Niffer ...
... negotiate Les Écluses de Kembs ...
... (yep-it means "locks") and end up at a huge port area.
From the Streetview views there isn't so much activity these days but it was a busy old place not that long ago.
Further inland, the Canal Rhine Rhône narrows and passes, almost unseen, in front of Mulhouse Railway Station where park some of the many leisure boats.
But, before getting upstream as far as this idyllic scene, there is a canal branch.  You can guess that the old harbour near the station was not big enough for the increasing size of vessels, so the branch leads to a larger harbour area called the Nouveau Bassin ...
... seen here diagonally bottom left to top centre. The station is bottom right.
This man made "pond" now forms a picturesque park ...
... and just one road away is the terminus of tram line 2 at a stop called "Nouveau Bassin".
It is next to shopping facilities and a large multi-screen cinema. There is a long turn-back siding ... 
 ... ready for a  planned extension- shown below in blue.
With trams running on grassed  reserved track ...
... there are just two stops before we reach the Porte Jeune interchange.
Soon the paved areas with limited access to other vehicles give way to grass again for the oil-drum sheep.
Then line 3 peels off northbound via a splendid wiggle to run alongside the SNCF railway line ...
... whilst line 2 continues its superb way ...
... to its western terminus at Coteaux. It gets there by swinging left off its reservation in the centre of a wide ring road ... 
... to terminate plumb in the centre of a forest of tower blocks.
As you might hear in a "spectacle de Guignol"...
... "C'est le façon de le faire!"

Lines 1 and 3 tomorrow

 Next Magnifique blog : Thursday 31st January 

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Mulhouse Magnifique (2)

Trams ran in Mulhouse from 1882 to 1956 (or 1957) - the sainted Wikipedia has both dates in the same article!

There were steam hauled trams ...
... as here at the (indentifiable) rural terminus at Pfastatt, now well encircled by urban growth!

Electric trams soon arrived, this time seen in Rue Louis Pasteur ...
... next to an apartment block that today might retain something of the original.
Next we have a tram with trailer on one of the main shopping streets, Rue de Sauvage.
It may be that modern trams still turn right here, but accurate identification must be left to an expert!
Much has changed. What is still the same, however, is the use of the railway station as the main city centre terminus.
Mulhouse also had two trolleybus eras. During German occupancy from 1908 to 1918 the Gleislos Bahn ("trackless railway") operated over one route, seen here at Square du Tivoli.
This time we can identify the location by the statue ...
... far left in the modern Streetview above.

Discussions about reintroducing trolleybi as replacements for the elderly trams began in 1936 but the years of conflict meant that nothing happened until 1947 when trolleys ran on route 4 from Bel-Air to (eventually) Drouot.
Route 2 followed in 1950 from Brunstatt cross-town to Pfastatt, the latter being the old tram terminus.
At Brunstatt there is what looks like a trolleybus turning circle.
Todays bus route 15 terminates nearby.

Both trolleybus routes finished in 1958 but route 4 is fairly closely followed by modern tram 2 as we shall see.

We can begin our survey of the modern tram scene at the railway station where three of the four tram routes terminate.
The trams are literally outside the main doors to the station concourse from where they trundle through the town to a stop near the Europe Tower that we met yesterday.
Here we arrive from the station (bottom centre) to join the fourth route entering from bottom right. After the busy interchange stop the "red" route turns north and the other three continue straight on.
Between station and the interchange (Porte Jeune) there are great chunks of tram only road ...
... and even where cars are permitted, usually for access only, they are kept to one side in a narrow one-way lane seen below coloured grey with a white-line border.
As we saw above, the modern tram routes avoid Rue Sauvage, but run onto lengths of reserved track, often along once wider roads where non rail traffic has been given much reduced space.
Tomorrow we will look in a little more detail at tram routes 1 (RED)and 2 (YELLOW).

It does seem a common and accepted feature of many European systems that the motor car is vigorously sidelined in favour of the tram. 


 Next Magnificent blog : Wednesday 30th January