InTramCities with Gordon Stewart

Infrastructure, Architecture and Environment along streets with trams. A photographic record.

NEW IN 2017
Paris (France) : 21st October, 2017
Coverage of Paris' recently opened Express Tram line T11 which makes use of an under-used mainline rail alignment in the city's northern suburbs to create essential inter-suburban links, with interchange stations for connections to the regional express suburban rail network (RER). This tram-train line, Paris' second after the T4 line, opened on June 30th 2017 and is operated by SNCF very much like a main-line railway, with segregated alignments and "heavy" infrastructure and is the first "tram" line to be described as "Express". It is the first phase of a longer route : extensions in the west from Epinay to Sartrouville and in the east from le Bourget to Noisy-le-Sec are planned to be opened in 2023. There is also brief coverage of the tram line T8 linking two of the T11 stations to St Denis and more extensive coverage of the older tram line (T1) linking St Denis and La Courneuve. There is separate coverage of Tramway line T5 which is a tramway on tyres, running from St Denis Marche to Sarcelles (click here)

Above : An express tram-train running eastbound at Epinay-Villetaneuse, with left hand running, railway-style, illustrating its distinctly non-tram-like characteristics. .

Amsterdam (Netherlands) : 31st September - 3rd October, 2017
Amsterdam's tram system remains one of the largest in Europe and route mileage will not be lost despite the imminent opening of a new north-south metro line, long in planning, gestation and construction in 2018. This is expected to take place on July 22nd. A reorganisation of tram routes themselves is planned to coincide with the introduction of the new line, reducing tram services to Centraal Station whilst strengthening orbital routes. On October 13th 2017 route 7 is to be diverted along new tracks in Hoofdweg between Mercatorplein and Postjesweg, allowing the parallel Witte de Withstraat to become a traffic-calmed and tram-free area

Above : Amsterdam's newest piece of operational tramway is only a couple of hundred metres long. The new link along Ferdinand Bolstraat between Albert Cuypstraat and the crossing with Ceintuurbaan, was required to re-route trams following the closure of the tracks in Albert Cuypstraat. The city had employed a number of stewards in high-visibility jackets to direct traffic from streets crossing Ferdinand Bollstraat directly across the tram tracks as the road has been renovated for pedestrian, cycle and tram traffic only. Line 24 was thus re-routed, but line 16 withdrawn in its entirety with its future in doubt with it not featuring on the network plans issued by the GVB for its proposed reorganisation of routes in 2018. Neverthless, the junction of Albert Cuypstraat and Ferdinand Bollstraat has been rebuilt with tracks for line 16 remaining in situ and work apparently proceeding to re-lay tracks in a completely rebuilt de Lairessestraat and current news items on the GVB refer to the "temporary" closure of line 16. What does seem clear is that any future line 16 will not serve the city centre via Vijzelstraat and an enhanced frequency line 24 will be the only line which will duplicate this section of the new north-south metro line.   


Mainz (Germany) : 7th August, 2017
After many years of uncertainty, Mainz's tramway system seems secure with the opening of a new line. This brief visit looks at the Hauptbahnhof only. Tracks in Bahnhofstrasse are temporarily closed as the street undergoes a facelift

Above : Tram 207 with the Hauptbahnhof buildings in the background


Wurzburg (Germany) : 5th August, 2017
Wurzburg is characterised by its magnificent setting on the River Main and its impressive historical architecture. 

Above : Tram 269 at Rathaus tram stop in Wurzburg's largely pedestrianised city centre


Bratislava (Slovakia) : 29th July, 2017
Alongside extensive fleet renewal with articulated trams from Skoda, Bratislava has now opened a tramway link to the high-rise suburb of Petrzalka on the southern side of the Danube, which has required the construction of a new tram-and-pedestrian-only bridge. Only the first phase of this long-awaited route is currently is service - as far as Jungmannova.

Above : A new Skoda tram leaves the new Danube bridge to enter the Sad J. Kral'a tram stop located above the bank on the river's southern side


Budapest (Hungary) : 28th July, 2017
Budapest has concentrated on renewing its infrastructure and rolling stock in recent times, with only one short link on the Buda side of the Danube riverbank new to the extensive network. This brief visit covers the two circumferential lines primarily on the Pest side, with Combinos dominating the inner ring, often claimed to be the busiest tram line in the world, and with newly delivered CAF trams now dominating the outer ring.

CAF tram 2110 northbound at Arpad Hid on express tram line 1


Madrid (Spain) : 12th-13th July, 2017
Madrid has one of the world's largest and most comprehensive Metro systems and its own "Crossrail" for national railway operator RENFE's suburban services, but it has also built three tram lines, marketed as "light metros".  Light Metro lines 2 and 3 serve developing communities outside the city itself and link into the urban metro at Colonia Jardin station on the south-western edge of the city. Light Metro line 1 lies within the city itself providing a service through a newly developed area on its northern perimiter with each end terminating at a metro station. All three lines were opened in 2007.

Above : One of Madrid's standard Alstom-supplied trams at Palas de Rey on line 1 shortly before reaching the northern terminus at Las Tablas metro station. The Las Tablas area  is a modern development area of the city, built in an expansive manner with wide roads, plenty of space and medium-rise accommodation blocks. There are two sections of underground on the 5.4 km long line (the shortest of the three light metros), with stations at Maria Tudor, the next after Palas de Rey, with the tunnel portal seen in the photo above, and two intermediate underground stations at the southern end of the line before the underground interchange with the metro at Pinar de Chamartin. 


Parla (Spain) : 12th July, 2017
Located in the growing urban agglomeration on the southern side of Spain's capital city Madrid, the population of Parla has rocketed to over 160,000 due to the massive influx of people to what was, until only recently, a village. Missing out on the wholly underground metro loop linking other towns in the area such as Getafe and Leganes, Parla opted for its own circular tramway to bring its citizens from its southern and eastern areas to the community's centre and in particular to the commuter railway station from where there are frequent fast links to Madrid.  The 8.3 km loop was opened in two parts - in May and September 2007

The tramway serves the Parla East development area. At this point the southbound and northbound alignements use parallel streets (this view at Venus Norte shows a tram northbound on Avenida de las Estrellas). On the right are the residential blocks, high rise even by Parla standards of Parla East. To the left is open and currently undeveloped territory between the town and the nearby R-4 motorway. 


Vienna (Austria) : 19th - 21st June and 30th July, 2017
More coverage of the Austrian capital city's enormous network - this time concentrating on its north-western and southern sectors. Included is coverage of the southern end of line 67 between Reumannplatz and Alaudagasse, which was closed on September 2nd with the opening of the new extension of U-Bahn line U1. The series from 30th July covers those parts of the network lying on the eastern side of the River Danube

Although Vienna experimented with underground tramways (a significant stretch was built in the southern suburbs), the city pursued the construction of a full underground railway and this now handles the major passenger flows in the city. However, most of the tramway network was retained and most of it can be regarded as a traditional street tramway, often running through narrow streets, many featuring elements of the grand architecture associated with Vienna. In the view above, tram 4020, a traditional articulated car and trailer of the German Duwag design, runs inbound along Wahringer Strasse at Kutschkergasse tram stop


Most & Litvinov (Czech Republic) : 31st May, 2017
This 18 km long tramway links the towns of Most and Litvinov, providing an urban service in each (with a branch to the railway station in Most) and the interurban section passes through a giant petrochemicals complex, to which it once provided an important workers' service.  Originally metre-gauge, the system is now standard gauge. Most is an interesting town - it was demolished and rebuilt in an expansive modernistic style in the 1970s to allow open-cast coal mining to be extended to the original site of the town.

Above :  The broad tree-lined boulevards of the "new"  Most give plenty of space for a reserved modern alignment. Traditional Tatra T3 trams dominate the rolling stock scene, with some sets running singly, others with trailer.  Certain runs are advertised as "accessible" due to the operators having two Skoda 03T "Astra" cars (delivered in 2001-2).The most recent additions are two Vario LF Plus cars (2014) and one EVO1 car in 2016. In the above view taken looking northwards on Tr. Budovatelu at the Most Sports Hall, the background is dominated by the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (originally built between 1517 and 1594) which was the only building preserved when the old town of Most was demolished. It was moved a total of 841 metres by train to its new site in open ground alongside the new town in an operation which took 28 days. The church got a mention in the Guinness Book of Records as the heaviest building ever moved on wheels. 


Prague (Czech Republic) : 29th May - 1st June, 2017
Prague remains one of the largest tramway networks in the world.  Most recent investment has gone into extensions to the three metro lines in the city, but the tram fleet has been substantially modernised. Tatra T3s still dominate, but modern Skoda articulated trams have arrived in large numbers - first the less than successful 14T design followed by the 15T (ForCity) design which was based on Skoda's successful design for use in Riga

Above : Skoda 15T car 9205 crosses the River Vltava into the Old Town on the Manesuv Bridge, with Prague Castle forming the imposing backdrop


Sheffield (UK) : 19th May, 2017
Very little has changed since the Sheffield system opened as the first genuine second generation street tramway in the UK. In recent years, efforts have been put into protracted preparatory work for the country's first tram-train line, with a new chord under construction linking tram metals with a main-line route to the nearby town of Rotherham. Trials are now taking place to understand the issues specific to UK conditions with a view to developing a template for wider use in the UK.  The Duwag trams (the last built at the famous Dusseldorf factory), changed their livery from predominantly white to predominantly blue when rebranded by the Stagecoach company, the operators of the system. This series briefly covers the city centre and the Hillsborough area.  

Above :  Fitzalan Square / Ponds Forge tram stop, one of four closely-spaced stops in the city centre. The bridge over Park Square in the background was necessary to help the trams overcome not only the busy roundabout below but the hilly topography of Sheffield


Aubagne (France) : 28th April, 2017
The small town of Aubagne, close to the eastern edge of Marseille appears a strange place for a new tramway to have been built. With French cities jumping on the bandwagon in their droves, Aubagne, with a population of just 46,000 in 2008, joined in. The tramway, opened in September 2014, is only 2.8 km long and links the town's railway station with the high-density residential development at Le Charret with five intermediate stops, but does not penetrate the town's central area. Trams are not entirely new to Aubagne : an inter-urban line linked the town to the centre of Marseille from 1905 until 1958 and there were hopes (currently dashed) that the new system would be later extended to link with Marseilles' network once more.  The one highly notable thing about this system is that its use, and that of buses, is completely free to passengers as part of the local authority's fares policy 

Above :  The white housing blocks at Le Charret are the main source of business for Aubagne's tramway


Marseille (France) : 26th - 28th April, 2017
Marseille is one of three French cities which retained a single tram line from their "first generation" networks and of the three, it is the one which has done most to restore an extended tramway presence. The port city on the Mediterranean, regarded as France's second city has refurbished and extended the line which survived and built a three-spoke modern network which acts very much as an inner-city distributor. Marseilles has two rubber-tyred underground Metro lines and on first glance, the new tram routes appear to offer little not already provided by the metro. Nevertheless, the long trams run at an extremely high frequency and are well patronised. There are plans to extend the lines further.

Above :  Marseille's Bombardier trams are distintively styled to represent boats evoking the port city's maritime heritage. The city also boasts some magnificent architecture, not least the Palais de Longchamp, seen above, which houses two museums and forms a grand entrance to a small area of parkland from where there are fine views over the city

Manchester (UK) : 21st April, 2017
Manchester's Second City Crossing, running between St Peter's Square and Victoria Station and designed to relieve the existing link through the city centre which has become increasingly congested as the network expands, is now opened fully with the completion of trackwork and testing on Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street. Part of the crossing, from Victoria Station to the only intermediate stop, Exchange Square had been opened earlier and was covered in a series of photos from June 2016.  

Above :  Tram 3082 has left Exchange Square station and is about to enter Cross Street en route to a remodelled St Peter's Square on track brought into revenue service in February 2017. The new link is not on reservation but has been fitted into the existing city streets

Rome (Italy) : 20th - 21st March, 2017
This series covers most of the tramway system which was not covered in 2005 and should be viewed in conjuction with the earlier series. In the intervening period there has been substantial track renewal and alignment improvement, and one short extension now giving hope for the future.

Above :  Tram 9230, a 100% low-floor tram of the "Cityway2" type, of which 52 examples were ordered from Fiat-Alstom in 1999, is from the most modern batch of  trams in service in Rome. The oldest still in use date originally from 1948. This picture is taken at the city-centre terminus of line 8, originally opened in 1998,which was extended one stop from Largo di Torre Argentina (with the former terminus stub in Via di Torre Argentina given up) along via Florida,  Via delle Botteghe Oscure, Via di S, Marco and Largo Enrico Berlinguer to a stub at Piazza di S. Marco but named "Venezia" after the adjoining major piazza on 6th June 2013. Line 8 represented a welcome reversal of earlier policy of tramway contraction and although it has been slow work, many of the remaining alignments have been renovated (including long-term bus replacement services) and the tramway now appears to have a secure future despite work progressing on bringing Metro Line C into the city centre at Colosseum and Venezia and hopes remaining for a fourth cross-city line.


NEW IN 2016 
Besancon (France) : 29th September 2016
Hailed as a "low-cost" tramway for a reasonably small city, the Besancon system (one long line with a short branch to the railway station) exhibits all the good things one expects from the second generation of French tramways. The 14.5 km long system was opened in August 2014 and is operated by Urbos 3 trams from CAF

Above : The nearest that Besancon's sleek CAF trams get to the historic core of Besancon is at Place de la Revolution, but careful design has allowed this modern form of transport to blend in well in a city proud of its architectural history and pleasant environment


Dijon (France) : 27th - 28th September 2016
Dijon joined the modern French tramway revolution in 2012, with two lines operating over three branches with a short terminus spur in front of the main railway station. 20 km in length, the line skirts the northern side of the historic city core, the seats of the former Dukes of Burgundy. Citadis trams from Alstom provide the services which have become very popular as the citizens of Dijon have really taken to their tramway.  

Above :  Place Darcy, at the end of the city's main shopping street Rue de la Liberte and featuring a magnificent triumphal arch is the main tramstop serving the city centre although good walking access to the traffic calmed historic central area is available from a number of other stops.


Edinburgh (United Kingdom) : 20th September 2016
A brief visit to central Edinburgh's Princes Street

Edinburgh's controversial tramway now appears to be catching on with the public although the inquest as to what went wrong in the delivery of the system continues in the hands of a public scrutineer. Thoughts are now being turned to extensions, including the original plan to reach Leith and Newhaven. Princes Street, despite the banning of cars over most of its length, remains a busy and for much of the day a chaotic thoroughfare with innumerable buses jostling for position at the many bus stops along the prestigious boulevard.  In this view, looking westwards from the main Princes Street tram stop,there is a welcome break from the worst of the non-tram traffic, although one bus lies closely alongside the nearside flank of the tram.


Vienna (Austria) : 9th - 12th September 2016
Austria's capital city has one of the world's largest tramway networks. Despite some new extensions, it has lost some of its length to due to growth of the city's metro system. Nevertheless trams continue to run along parallel streets westwards out of the city centre, maintaining an excellent service for these densely populated areas. As a result, the system largely retains a traditional street-tramway atmosphere. Despite the delivery of large numbers of ultra-low-floor trams from Siemens (an early pioneer of 100% low floor design and still unique to Vienna), it is also a showcase for many of the enormous number of Duwag style high-floor trams built under licence in Austria which continue to dominate the street scene - and will continue to do so for many years.   

Vienna is a city of grand architecture and it is possible to photograph trams in front of many of the city's masterpieces, including the National Parliament. Seen from the Dr Karl Renner Ring tram stop, a traditional Duwag-design six-axle articulated tram and bogie trailer traverses the "Ring" a wide boulevard running around much of the historic city centre, laid out in the late 19th century on the site of the former city walls. Under the reign of Emperor Franz Josef I, the Austro-Hungarian empire reached its zenith before its untimely fall as a consequence of World War I and a large number of showpiece buildings were constructed around the ring to show off Habsburg grandeur 


Graz (Austria) : 7th - 8th September 2016
Austria's second city has a well-equipped tramway which runs through the beautiful historic core of the city - a UNESCO world heritage site on account of its architecture. At the time of the visit, route 1 between the city centre and Mariatrost was closed for reconstruction along with the western end of the same line between Asperngasse and Eggenberg/UKH. Bus replacement was also in operation for the short central stretch between Jakominiplatz and Steyrergasse.

Graz has replaced its fleet with modern low-floor articulated trams - the latest being Variobahn from Stadler, complementing the earlier batch of Cityrunners from Bombardier (for which Graz was the first customer, taking delivery in 2001). In this view, Variobahn 204 is seen at Hauptplatz in the heart of the city, having just come along the busy tram and pedestrian only Herrengasse from Jakominiplatz, the city's main transport interchange. The imposing edifice is the city's municipal administration building. In the background is the tower of the Holy Blood church.


West Midlands (Birmingham-Wolverhampton), UK : 16th August, 2016
There had been virtually no progress with the metro line linking the UK's second city with neighbouring Wolverhampton along a disused former railway alignment for 20 years until December 2015 when the line, now rebranded as a tramway, was extended into the centre of Birmingham as the first phase of what is hoped to be a considerable expansion in the next few years 

Birmingham city centre is an intriguing mix of late Victorian grandeur and post-war modernism as illustrated by the view above of a tram on Corporation Street approaching the eponymous tram stop from Grand Central, the new name for the redeveloped Birmingham New Street Station complex, where the new extension to the tram line currently terminates in Stephenson Street having been extended from Bull Street at the end of May 2016. Birmingham is undergoing considerable redevelopment as witnessed by the large number of cranes and shiny new office blocks. Surface trams will be part of this urban regeneration, with the line planned to be extended to Victoria Square and Broad Street passing a number of major traffic generators such as the International Convention Centre and the Symphony Hall and will eventually be extended to the inner suburb of Edgbaston. A decision has been made to dispense with overhead catenary in the Victoria Square area where the line will pass close to the Victorian architectural set-pieces of the Town Hall, Council House and Museum and Art Gallery and it is expected that the CAF Urbos 2 trams will be retrofitted with accumulators to bridge the gap in the wires. Further inner-city links are planned to connect with the proposed High Speed Train station at Curzon Street.      

Manchester, UK : 27th June, 2016
Photos of the recently opened Exchange Square Metrolink stop in the centre of Manchester on the first stage of the Second City Crossing - a new link between Victoria Staion and St Peter's Square designed to relieve the overcrowded original route through the city whilst also providing access to this busy shopping area.   Photos also show the new arrangements at Victoria Station following the establishment of the new line.

The new tram stop, pictured above, is located outside the northern entrance to the Arndale Shopping Centre Centre and alongside a number of large department stores.

Bergen, Norway : 19th June, 2016
Bergen's "second-generation" started operation in June 2010 as far as Nesttun and was extended to the current terminus at Lagunen in June 2013. Currently 13.4 km long, it is being further extended at its southern end to reach Bergen airport with a planned opening date later in 2016. 

Bergen's modern light rail system features a number of short tunnels to cope with the steep and rocky terrain. This view is taken at Wergeland tram stop


Oslo, Norway : 13th - 15th June, 2016
An update to our last visit to Oslo, including those areas not covered in 2006

Whilst Oslo has been investing heavily in its extensive Metro and the state railways have been developing local transport networks, the tramway has not been forgotten. Much work has been put in to improve the infrastructure now that the future of the system seems secure following many years of uncertainty. No expansion of the network can take place until more trams are delivered and a large order is expected to be placed soon.  At the time of the visit, the network had been rearranged significantly in the city centre due to a long-running road closure, resulting in a "one-way" system with services from the west running via Aker Brygge towards Jernbanetorget and westbound services running via the route of unaffected lines along Kirkeristen and Grensen and a new link in Rosenkrantz gate (see photo above) to regain their standard alignment along Stortingsgata  

Berlin, Germany : 30th May - 1st June, 2016
A brief update on Berlin, the city's enormous tram system having been covered in some detail in 2005 and 2006. The recent extension to Hauptbahnhof and the finished "Alex II" link are shown along with some missing locations from previous visits 

After years of planning and attendant controversy, the latest extension to the system brought trams to the new Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) which has been constructed on the site of the old Lehrter Bahnhof to serve the reunited city in an appropriate manner. The photo above, taken at Hauptbahnhof, shows virtually the entire length of the extension, on reservation at this point over what was once a "no-man's land" on the western side of the former Berlin Wall, but running on-street amongst heavy traffic in the distance on what was once East Berlin territory.
Utrecht, Netherlands : 13th May, 2016
One of the earliest of the new generation of tramways was the Sneltram Utrecht-Nieuwegein which opened in December 1983. In December 1985, a branch was opened from Nieuwegein to Ijsselstein. 

The system is high-platform throughout and  links the busy central station at Utrecht to south-western lying suburban towns but does not penetrate the city centre of Utrecht. In 2013 the 20.7 km long line was cut back to the south side of the station to allow reconstruction in association with an extension to Uithof, replacing a busy bus service to the city's university grounds. The planned new route, which also will not penetrate the city centre is expected to feature an accumulator system so as to eliminate overhead line in parts of the university area. It is also planned to be a low-floor system and this has left the thorny issue of whether to convert the existing line with its substantial "light rail" infrastructure to match the new line.

Den Haag, Netherlands : 12th - 16th May, 2016
Coverage of those parts of the network which were not covered in 2013, primarily the routes in the southern part of the city, plus the line through the old city centre which had been temporarily out of service.

An attractive view at Gravenstraat in the old centre of Den Haag, closed during the 2013 visit, but now reopened after the completion of the construction an underground car park.


Valencia, Spain : 14th and 15th April, 2016
Spain's third city has an extensive metro system but also a street tramway line dubbed metro line 4 (opened in 1994 and subsequently extended) which runs from the north-west to the beach in the east of the city, running on an alignment to the north of the historic city centre but with an unusual "dip" towards the city centre at Pont de Fusta with double tracks along each side of the wide Carrer d'Almassora, midway along the line. Line 6 (opened in 2007) links the metro station closest to the beach area (Maritim-Serreria) with the seaside and then shares the alignment of line 4 towards the city centre before branching to the north to Tossal del Rei. An extremely short line line 8 (opened in 2015) links Maritim-Serreria with Marina Reial Joan Carles I. 

Lines 6 and 8 share a cross-platform interchange with metro lines 5 and 7 at Maritim-Serreria immediately before the ramp to allow the metro to be extended towards the beach and marina as a conventional street tramway. From the beach area, line 6 follows the course of the original line 4 as far as Primat Reig before heading north to Tossal del Rei. The metro is unusual as it is built to 1000mm gauge. 

Florence, Italy : 29th and 31st March, 2016
The magnificent renaissance Tuscan city of Florence closed its original tramway by January 1958, but in common with many cities, decided to reintroduce the mode of transport, with line 1 opening on February 14th, 2010 after a protracted construction period. The line is 7.4 km long and almost all on reserved track, linking the main railway station and the western suburb of Scandicci and is served by 17 Sirio trams from Ansaldo-Breda. There are plans for three more lines and some construction work is under way, with a link to the city's airport the first to be constructed.

The current city terminus is alongside the main railway station, Santa Maria Novella in via Alamanni (see photo above). The tracks continue to the front of the station in Piazze della Stazione but are unused, with the current terminus normally using only one track, reached by a crossover in Alamanni. With a high frequency service of usually around four minutes, lay-over time at the busy station stop is necessarily limited. The city's plans originally involved extending the tracks further towards the city centre along via de Panzani and via de Cerretani, but public concern regarding the routing of the tramway directly alongside the magnificent historical cathedral has led to delays in further developments as other alternatives are evaluated. This has included building a tunnel under the compact city centre, but with numerous architectural gems to consider, this is also controversial, not least in terms of cost. The narrow maze of streets in the historic centre also make a street alignment not only controverial but not optimal. The second line, for which work is now under way will link the city's airport with the station (and pass a planned new high-speed line station) whilst running at least slightly closer to the city centre at the spacious Piazza del' Unita Italiana which adjoins the severely congested Piazza della Stazione. 
NEW IN 2015
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain : 12th November, 2015
Vitoria-Gasteiz' two-line tram system, serving modern northern suburbs and joining at the new bus station to run on a joint line round the west and south of the old city centre to an inner-city terminus at Angulema was opened in 2008

Urbos 2 type trams from Spanish builder CAF provide a unitary fleet and are visually similar to the Urbos I trams operating in nearby Bilbao. The Basque regional capital city and capital of the Alava province has plans to extend the line to the south of the city centre, which it skirts partially on a wide grassy reservation as seen above and partially in narrow traffic calmed streets.

Bilbao, Spain : 10th - 11th November, 2015
Bilbao is busy reinventing itself for the post-industrial age and as part of a wide ranging programme of urban modernisation, a single-line tramway was opened in 2002. With an extensive bus system and a metro bringing in the major passenger numbers from the riverside industrial communities closer to the coast, the tram line acts as an inner-city circulator linking most of the main transport hubs, tourist and cultural establishments, the football ground, a hospital and the historic old town. Central to Bilbao's rejuvenation and new international profile is the iconic Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim art museum, which the tram naturally passes alongside (see below)

Bilbao's tram line has shown how an inner city line can be successful, linking places where passengers want to go. Much of the line is on a wide green reservation alongside the river where redevelopment has made this a magnet for tourists and promenaders, but in the newer parts of the city there is much street-running alignment. The eastern part of the line, through parts of the "new" city adjoining the river and across the River Nervion and skirting the old city is laid out as single track, largely gutter-running, with one passing point at Arriaga Plaza

Nottingham, UK : 26th October, 2015
On August 25th 2015 after much delay and months of testing, Nottingham more than doubled its tram network with its "Big Bang" opening of two routes to the south of the city (to Toton Lane and to Clifton South). The new lines join the original tram line above Nottingham Station where the elevated route was extended to take tracks directly over the inter-city rail station and now run through to Hucknall and Phoenix Park respectively. This series looks at the Toton Lane line only. 

Not an enormous amount of the Nottingham system shares road space with car traffic as roads in UK cities tend to be too narrow to allow central reservations to be created. Therefore they have to be carefully integrated into existing street plans, often with associated traffic calming measures. In the photo above, a tram heading to Toton Lane approaches Chilwell Road in the suburban town of Beeston. It is one of the 22 Alstom Citadis trams purchased in advance of the extensions opening to augment the original fleet of Bombardier Incentros.

Le Havre, France : 1st October, 2015
Le Havre joined the list of French cities with second-generation tramways when its 13 km long system, also "Y" shaped, opened on December 12th, 2012

In 2012 a period of 55 tram free years ended when Le Havre opened its new tramway with two branches joining to descend through a tunnel to the lower-lying city centre area in this major port on the Normandy coast. The four-minute frequency of the joint line throughout much of the day means a regular and frequent service past the railway station and the town hall (above) to the terminus at the beach. In common with most French tram systems, the cars were obtained from Alstom with its highly-successful Citadis design. 

Rouen, France : 30th September, 2015
Rouen has re-equipped its tramway with Alstom Citadis trams and despite being an early member of the French tramway revival, presents a thoroughly modern image. However, despite one branch of its "Y"-shaped system having been extended, there is disappointment that a larger network has not been developed.

Rouen had originally intended that its one line (with two branches in the southern part of Rouen's city region) would not be its last, but cost constraints have led to the main east-west axis through the city being built as a high-quality bus route with tram-like platforms and optical guidance to bring buses close to the platform edge to allow for step-free access. Whether these bus routes will ever be converted to tram is not clear, but passenger numbers are heavy and services frequent - suggesting that if the money can be found, upgrading would be justified.
The city centre section is underground although it rises to an expansive surface-level terminus with bus connections to the northern suburbs and the tram dives into a tunnel immediately after crossing the river Seine as seen in the photo above at Theatre des Arts. The east-west bus axis crosses immediately above the tunnel portal

Paris, France : 29th September, 2015
Further tramway developments in the Paris suburbs, with new line T8 linking St Denis and Epinay-Orgement including a branch to Villetaneuse

Coverage of the Paris city region's newest tramway, Line T8 from St Denis (Porte de Paris) to Epinay with a short branch to Villetaneuse. In line with its policy of improving public transport links in its sprawling "banlieue", the Paris transport authorities and the Ile de France region have made quick work of its new tramways (and  tramways on tyres). Line T8, opened on December 16th 2014, runs from near the city proper boundary at  St Denis' Porte de Paris northwards and has a flat junction with the existing tram line through St Denis outside the station.

Innsbruck, Austria : 22nd July, 2015
The small alpine city has re-equipped its tramway with new articulated trams, giving a much more modern image than before with its mixture of old and various second hand rolling stock. Expansion is now firmly on the cards with the new branch to Hottinger Au the first part of a westwards extension into growing suburbs and plans exist to serve eastern parts of the city developing along the valley of the river Inn.

New Flexity trams from Bombardier have given the Innsbruck tramway a new and modern image and the future of the system now appears bright. Car 316 runs along Museumstrasse towards Hauptbahnhof and is about to call at the Landesmuseum tram stop.

Manchester, United Kingdom : 20th July, 2015
Manchester's Metrolink keeps expanding. The latest line, branching from the East Didsbury line, takes trams through Wythenshawe to terminate at the International Airport alongside the main line trains which make the largest airport in the UK outside the London area well served by public transport

Manchester Airport. The line opened one year earlier than anticipated and below budget - quite some achievement in terms of British tramways. This has allowed Manchester to proceed with the next stages of planned expansion, with a line to the Trafford Centre retail complex now at design stage. The tram above is showing as running to Cornbrook. In the summer of 2015 the Metrolink network was split into to parts with the central section between Market Street and Deansgate-Castlefield closed to allow a major reconstruction of St Peter's Square for the junction with the future "second" city crossing. The new link is required to relieve the original link through the city following the improvement of frequencies on existing lines and the addition of new lines to the network. The Deansgate-Castlefield stop has recently reopened after substantial reconstruction including the installation of a new platform. However, due to pressure of infrastructure here, the Airport line is being terminated at Cornbrook, where shuttle buses are being provided for onward travel into the city centre. Whilst the link through the city centre will be restored later in the year, Airport services are expected to continue to terminate at Cornbrook until the new city crossing is opened.  

Strasbourg, France : 11th - 13th June, 2015
When last visited in 1996, the Alsatian city was beginning to benefit from its starter tram line from Baggersee to the main station. A lot has happened in the intervening years and the city which is home to the European Parliament now has an extensive tramway network with very attractive frequencies and excellent passenger numbers.

Strasbourg is a popular tourist destination because of its magnificent setting on an island in the river Ill and featuring attractive historical architecture including the fairy-tale like timber framed buildings in the Petite France area and the impressive cathedral which is thought to once have been the tallest structure in Europe. Trams have played a major role in allowing the city to become highly pedestrianised and traffic-calmed. Although the many tourists who now take the popular boat trips around the city get to see the imposing glass structures of the highly-modernistic European Parliament buildings, perhaps many miss the equally impressive classical buildings in the city, particularly at Place de la Republique. Republique is a very busy tramway interchange set out in a grand style. The photo above shows one of the original batch of British-built low-floor trams passing the National and University Library on Place de la Republique, heading north on the line to Hoenheim with the more recent branch to Robertsau, passing the European Parliament buildings. More development is on the way with a start on linking the German town of Kehl, which lies on the opposite bank of the River Rhein into the network.  

Stuttgart, Germany : 9th - 11th June, 2015
Stuttgart has completed its transition from metre-gauge street tramway to standard-gauge Stadtbahn in a process which took over 30 years and has ended up with one of the most exemplary transit systems around.

Stuttgart is not standing still after so many years of upheaval and investment. Expansion is still anticipated and the latest route is that to Hallschlag which left the existing network at Lowentor (above). Hallschlag is only a temporary terminus, however. Work is underway to link the line with the Muhlhausen / Remseck line and provide the latter communities with two routes into the city centre.
Turin, Italy : 17th - 20th April, 2015
Despite long-held plans for a metro system and the opening in stages of the first automated light metro (VAL) line, the tramway network has remained remarkably consistent over time. Some lines have fallen victim to metro construction and more recently to the routing of mainline rail tracks underground around Porta Susa, but tracks have been retained and there is the prospect that some lines might be restored. Attempts have been made to upgrade the tramways and some extensions have been constructed, but rolling stock shortages have always constrained growth and despite the arrival of new "Cityway" trams at the beginning of the century, much old rolling stock remains.

Turin is a city of magnificent architecture with fine buildings wherever you look. With the metro not penetrating the city centre, there is still plenty of tramway activity despite a plethora of buses and cars and the opportunity to see traditional trams running through collonaded porticos such as here at  Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Cars from the city's extensive historical collection are used most of the year on a hourly-served one-way loop around the city on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays as a tourist attraction, but what is remarkable about Line 7 is that it can be used freely as part of the regular transport system within the standard fare structure.     

St Etienne, France : 11th March, 2015
St Etienne is one of three French tramways which survived from the "first generation" of systems and like the other two was basically a single line. Although the city has not embarked on any major expansion, it has made extensions to the existing line and built a branch to the main station. An intensive service is maintained with frequent trams running along primarily tram and pedestrian only streets in a north-south direction through the city centre and on reserved alignments elsewhere.

St Etienne's main north-south tram alignment is traffic-calmed and allows for a fast and frequent service through the heart of the city. 925 is seen heading southbound on Rue Charles de Gaulle approaching the Jean Jaures tram stop.

Lyon, France : 9th and 10th March, 2015
More new developments to report from Lyon including one complete new line, one new line opened as a branch from an existing service and  a further extension through a rapidly developing area close to the city centre to the south of Gare Perrache

Lyon has been actively developing its tram system and since the last review of the network. a complete new line (T4) has been built, from Gare Part Dieu to Hopital Feyzin Venissieux. Route T1 has been extended from Montrochet back to the eastern side of the Rhone to connect with the Metro at Debourg. The line serves the enormous redevelopment projects in the peninsula at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone, including new regional government offices, commercial developments and the prestige Museum of the Confluence. A new line, T5, has been introduced, partially duplicating line T2 and including a new branch to Eurexpo. The Rhone-Express rapid tram link to Lyon's St-Exupery Airport has now been completed. It shares its route with urban tram line T3 for much of its length with only a limited number of stops. The distinctive red trams terminate at Gare Part Dieu.
Above : View back towards Part Dieu from the Manufacture Montluc tram stop as the new T4 carves a route south through the city 


Geneva, Switzerland : 7th, 8th and 12th March, 2015
Since the last review of Geneva in 2007, the Swiss city has constructed routes to Bernex and to the CERN atomic research centre (with a branch into Meyrin). The two new routes have been linked by a new connection through the city centre, bringing trams to the central interchange at Bel-Air 

The new route to the CERN scientific research centre follows a long virtually straight alignment from the city centre via the Rue de Servette and the Route de Meyrin and almost reaches the international border with France. The above image view shows the view back to the city centre from Meyrin Village. 

NEW IN 2014
Manchester, United Kingdom : 30th September, 2014
A return to the UK's premier tramway network to see how the Manchester Metrolink, a system which exhibits both light-railway and tramway features, has converted a former railway line to the neighbouring towns of Oldham and Rochdale and re-routed part of the new line through central Oldham

Union Street in Oldham runs closely parallel to the old railway alignment linking Manchester with Rochdale, but the newly-converted Metrolink line now follows this new route through Oldham and shows distinct tramway features albeit with high level platforms. The new Oldham Central stop is in the background in the photo above.  

Edinburgh, United Kingdom : 13th September, 2014
A look at the recently-opened tram line in Scotland's capital city which overcame much political controversy, disputes with building contractors, a change of planned operator and massive cost overruns to open many years behind the originally expected schedule. On several occasions it was feared that the project would be cancelled outright, but the western half of the originally planned first line has been completed and, since opening on May 31st 2014, has been a reasonable success even without the major re-casting of bus services, some of which appear to provide competition along some of the line and on end-to-end journeys.

Edinburgh's main street, Princes Street, has a tram service at long last, despite rails being laid, lifted and relaid in what was an almost farcical management of a major public infrastructure project. To keep ballooning costs to a minimum, the line was only built to York Place, two stops beyond Princes Street tramstop (above). Another cost cutting measure can be seen in the surrounding street. Unlike the majority of new tramways around Europe and the world in general, no attention was paid to street "beautification" and very little to traffic calming measures. Princes Street remains a bustling street, clogged with numerous buses and taxis and with pedestrians kept to the old uneven pavements alongside the highway  

Cologne, Germany : 18th June, 2014
A brief visit covering only the short surface stretch between Rudolfplatz and Heumarkt - the only surface line crossing the city centre. Cologne's large tram and underground "Stadtbahn" network was covered in some detail in 2001. 

The central area tram stop at Neumarkt is on the only remaining surface line though central Cologne. A large number of lines funnel into this route making it extremely busy. A new north - south underground tram line is currently under construction and now partially opened after severe delays following the collapse of a museum building above the tunneling work, but it seems that this east - west route will remain above ground for the foreseeable future. 

Dusseldorf, Germany : 17th, 19th and 20th June, 2014
A look at central Dusseldorf before the opening of the "Wehrhahn" Line, the second and long-awaited underground route through the city centre. Unlike the first Stadtbahn line and in a change to original plans, this has been built for low-floor trams, allowing the existing tram routes, which have in recent years been so re-equipped, to funnel into the tunnel between Bilk and Am Werhahn via Graf Adolf Platz, Heinrich-Heine-Allee, and Schadowstrasse. Also covered are the route to Bilk Kirche and the recent extension from there to Mediahafen plus  the route to Benrath and views at Kaiserswerth (Klemensplatz). 

Time is running out for the surface tram line alongside Dusseldorf's historic Altstadt. The tunnel for the future Heinrich-Heine-Allee station on the proposed Wehrhahn line was built here when the first underground route was under construction. The rest of the tunnel is now built and being fitted out and this iconic view northwards on Hunsruckenstrasse where the trams run southbound (northbound trams being on the parallel Breite Strasse and Heinrich-Heine-Allee) will soon be consigned to the history books.

Rotterdam, Netherlands : 22nd - 25th May, 2014
When last featured in 1985, the tram system was looking somewhat down at heel and despite some new extensions, such as to the Beverwaard housing development, investment was being concentrated on to the metro system. In recent years, the tram network has been completely upgraded. 

The networks north and south of the river have been linked again via the new Ersamus Bridge and an extensive inner-city network survives as the city itself modernises once more with gleaming high-rise blocks creating a thoroughly modern environment in parts, but despite the enormous destruction at the beginning of World War II, a remarkable amount of traditional streetscape survives. Alstom Citadis trams in two (very slightly different) series provide all the services. The photo above shows the scene at Beurs. The Erasmus Bridge is in the middle distance.

Toulouse, France : 3rd May, 2014
France's fourth largest city agglomeration embarked on a driverless mini-metro construction programme which has given it an excellent two-line system. Trams then came on to the agenda, but recent mayoral elections returned a new incumbent promising to end further tramway development in favour of a third metro line.        

An extensive network of "first generation" trams finally disappeared in 1957, but the rapid growth of Toulouse, powered by the aerospace industry meant that an all-bus solution increasingly became seen as inadequate. A strong city mayor pushed for and achieved a two-line "VAL" mini-metro system, the concept being accepted in 1983 and the first line opening in 1993. Line 2 followed in 2007. There is an interchange between the two lines at Jean-Jaures station, close to the city's historic core. The focus shifted to tramways, partially because of the high cost of metro construction and by December 2010, line T1 was opened, linking the developing north-western communities of Beauzelle and Blagnac (see photo above at Place Georges Brassens) to the city proper and terminating at Arenes metro station for transfers onward to the city centre. Tram line T1 was extended towards the southern side of the city centre, reaching Palais de Justice and the new track was opened for service in December 2013. Most passengers still change at Arenes because the trams do not penetrate into the historic city centre, but passenger numbers on the new extension have been encouraging. A short branch from line T1 is currently under construction to serve Toulouse-Blagnac airport and a recent change of political power in the city threatens future development of the tram network.    

Montpellier, France : 2nd, 4th and 5th May, 2014
Much has happened in the four and a half years since our 2009 visit, with a complete new line crossing the city and a loop around the inner southern suburbs adding to the network in this progressive Mediterranean city 

Four tram lines now converge in front of Montpellier's St Roch station, with the latest line 3 approaching along Rue de la Republique (see photo above)  and a new line 4 inaugurated with the intention to create a future inner-city loop line using these tracks opened on April 7th 2012. The opening of the new lines resulted in a reorganisation of the former two-line network in the inner city areas and now both lines 1 (opened July 2000) and 2 (December 2006) share tracks between St Roch and Corum, both serving the main city stop at Comedie. Rather then just the blue-liveried trams of line 1, this attractive square now sees the brightly-coloured red, yellow, green and orange floral design of line 2 - and a highly frequent service with it now uncommon to have no tram in or approaching the platforms in daytime hours. This set of photos follows lines 3 and 4 and records the new colours abounding in the city centre which now include the two new designs chosen for the new lines. Montpellier is not stopping there as more construction is now in the pipeline to complete the loop around the old-city, but new leaders in the city hall have called for a proposed line in the city's north-west to be reviewed as financial constraints take hold.  

Paris, France : 27th March, 2014
New tramway line T7 has opened since the last visit a year ago - and the first new generation tramway has been upgraded and, more recently, extended since our first visit to line T2 in 1997

Tramway development continues unabated as the communities in the Ile-de-France region expand their populations rapidly. Tramway line T7 was opened in November 2013 and is basically a southern extension of metro line 7 from the community of Villejuif (see photo above) to Orly Airport and on to Athis-Mons on the airport's southern perimeter (11.2 km - 7 miles in total). The line passes the enormous food market and logistics handling area at Rungis and a number of developing commercial areas and despite the apparent lack of dense residential developments, there is still healthy traffic on the new line and an impressively frequent service - and plans are in place to extend the line in the south to connect with the RER regional metro at Juvisy. The photographs also cover tram line T2 which when opened was Paris' first new generation tramway - a tentative conversion of a lightly used railway line. The concept has been a massive success - it has been extended to provide interchange with the equally successful line T3 (now circling much of the city of Paris proper) at Porte de Versailles and at its northern end from la Defense to Pont de Bezons. The area covered has been subject to much development and traffic numbers are impressive and crush loads common, despite new rolling stock being introduced to allow the operation of coupled tram sets 

Reims, France : 24th-26th March, 2014
Another new second generation French tramway - with the points already in place for extensions. However, a recent change in the city's mayor office has called further developments into question. Reims is a relatively small city and whatever their merits, tramways are expensive to build and maintain and this can be controversial.

Reims chose a ground-contact power collection system for its city centre tram line primarily so as to protect views of the historic cathedral from the clutter of overhead wires and supporting columns (as at the Langlet tram stop shown above). The design of the ends of the Alstom Citadis cars was reputedly inspired by the shape of the flutes used for drinking Champagne, the sparkling wine inextricably associated with the region around Reims, where a number of producers' cellars are located and open to the public. Trams are painted in a variety of colours in an attempt to brighten up the city's environment rather than reflect any corporate image. Points have already been installed at Opera and Comedie in anticipation of two new branches to the tramway which opened in 2011. It is not certain that the proposed new east-west line will proceed, but if it does, the provisions made mean that the existing route will not need to be disruped to allow it to be connected the tracks through Rue Vesle. The normal service on Route A is 8 trams per hour augmented by the less frequent trams on line B which duplicate the route for most of its length before branching off to serve the Champagne High Speed Train (TGV) station located in open ground to the south of the city in Bezannes territory. On opening, line B terminated at Gare Centre but has since been extended to Neufchatel.  Trams on line B are timed with respect to connecting with high-speed trains calling at Gare Champagne TGV.

NEW IN 2013

Murcia, Spain : 29th November, 2013
This southern Spanish city only had a short experience of trams but decided to bring them back following the success of a demonstrator line operated along part of Avenida Juan Carlos I. The current 17.5 km long line opened in 2011.

Modern trams run along modern alignments on two radial routes originating at the northern edge of the city centre which afford lots of space for tram stops and tracks. The city has big plans for more lines. The first objective is to penetrate the city centre along Gran Via and link in with the railway station which lies to the south of the centre. Further routes are planned to intersect at the station giving good coverage in all directions. The photo is taken on Avenida Juan Carlos I on the section of route which was originally built as a short demonstration line - a magnificent advert for a modern tramway, which offered free rides throughout and convinced the public and the authorities to proceed with the tramway project

Alicante / Alacant, Spain : 27th and 30th November, 2013
135 views in this Spanish Mediterranean city where trams have been revived with two new urban routes and where a coastal light railway leading to popular coastal resorts such as Benidorm has been upgraded to modern light rail standards. Both systems share tracks in the city area and run through to the main railway station in a tunnel underneath the central area.

Trams on the city routes and tram-trains on the interurban route now share a tunnel bringing services right into the heart of the city and provide a modern and efficient service for local travellers and tourists alike. Along with other Spanish cities, much money has been spent on transport infrastructure in recent years - and despite a temporary halt due to the severe economic downturn in Spain, more developments are planned

Blackpool, United Kingdom : 14th September, 2013
77 views along the promenade in central Blackpool of the newly modernised line operated by new Bombardier Flexity-2 trams

Those who knew Blackpool would hardly recognise the transformation which has taken place in recent times. A complete renovation of the tracks, tram stops, electrical equipment and a brand new depot - and new articulated trams to replace the old fleet, many of which dated back to the 1930s. These photos show the "new" tramway along the "old" route on Blackpool's sea-front

Manchester, United Kingdom : 5th June, 2013
Coverage of the Droylesden branch and the recently opened extension to East Didsbury as well as views in central Manchester
Manchester 2013.jpg
Manchester's Metrolink is growing rapidly. 2013 saw the opening of the line from Piccadilly to Droylsden, passing through the Eastlands redevelopment area, where several large sports facilities have been built, including the Etihad Stadium, built for the Commonweath Games and now home of Manchester City FC.  On May 23rd a further extension was opened - from St Werburgh's Road to East Didsbury on a long-abandoned former railway alignment. The photo above shows tram 3023 inbound at Didsbury Village. Close to St Werburgh's Road, construction works can be seen for the line to Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe and the Droylsden line is due to be extended to Ashton-under-Lyne shortly. With the former heavy rail line to Rochdale via Oldham now open as a Metrolink service, the network has expanded greatly. A new alignment through Oldham town centre is due soon and a short extension from Rochdale Railway Station to the town centre will improve the service even further. Hoardings at St Peter's Square in the city centre refer to the second city crossing - a new link beteween the Square and Victoria Station to relieve the busy tracks through the city via Market Street and Shudehill which will become even busier as the new lines come on stream - and twin-set trains become standard on the Altrincham and Bury lines

Bremen, Germany : 22nd - 24th May, 2013
Full network coverage of this progressive but entirely surface operating big-city tramway

Bremen 2013.JPG
Modern trams slink their way through the historical areas of central Bremen and serve all sides of this former Hanseatic port city in an exemplary street-based network. The system is growing and the final phase of the line to Mahnsdorf Bahnhof, opened earlier in the year, is only the latest of a number of new extensions to be opened

Paris, France : 15th April 2013
featuring two of the major route extensions inaugurated since the 2007 visit - around the southern and eastern edges of the city proper and the westwards extension from St Denis to Genevilliers

Paris 2013.JPG

With such a dense underground railway (Metro) network in the city of Paris and a regional express railway (RER) bringing suburban commuter lines into and through the city centre, it is easy to think that there would be no role for trams in Paris. That was the thinking when the city's system closed, but it was one which was reversed when the mode was deemed ideal for tangential routes, linking the outer points of the metro network and bringing much-needed high capacity links in the city's burgeoning suburbs. This philosophy had already been put into practice when Tramscape visited in 2007 and by the next visit ten years later, extensions were in full swing, including the beginning of a circumferential route around the inner edge of the city proper. This route has now been extended the complete the southern side of the city (see photo above), run around the east and terminate in the north. As well as linking numerous metro routes, it caters for significant amounts of local traffic. Now so long, route 3 has been divided into A and B routes to help operational efficiency. This photo series also covers the extension of line T1 from its erstwhile western terminus as St Denis Gare to Genevilliers, providing interchange with the RER at Genevilliers and the extended Metro at the current new terminus at Genevilliers (Les Courtilles).  Tramway development is not stopping there - and there is already an extension to line T2 at La Defense which awaits coverage.

Orleans, France : April 12th - 13th 2013
This historic French city built two tram lines in double quick time. Line A (18 km) is a north-south line from Fleury-les-Aubrais to Orleans La Source and was opened in 2000. Line B is 11 km long and runs east to west through the city, intersecting with line A at Place de Gaulle. It was opened in 2012 and features a length of  ground-contact power supply in the city centre where the line passes the cathedral.
Orleans Jeanne dArc.JPG
Along with many other French cities which had been tramless for 50 years, two long new lines have been built in double quick time in the 21st century. Much of the city centre is now either pedestrianised or with restricted car access. Orleans also has a number of fine architectural masterpieces and imposing classical street frontages. With line B in planning and the tracks planned to run along Rue Jeanne d'Arc to the city's cathedral (see photo above) it was decided to implement a ground-collection system for the electric current to eliminate the need for wires and, potentially, poles. The system had been successful in Bordeaux and was specified so as to protect the view along Rue Jeanne d'Arc and also Rue des Carmes and Rue Porte Madeleine as the line transverses the city centre from east to west. The photos show how the tram (especially in its sandy-coloured livery) can fit unobtrusively into a sensitive historical environment. In this view at Place de Gaulle, where lines A and B cross, the wires for line A can be seen immediately above the tram. Perhaps line A was built just too soon for the ground collection system to be specified to protect the vistas in Rue de la Republique and Rue Royale. Nevertheless, the overhead collection is unobtrusive and the Orleans system is a fine example of the new generation of French tramways.

Den Haag, Netherlands : March 23rd - 27th 2013
The Dutch administrative capital is perhaps not as well known for its trams as nearby Amsterdam, but it has an enormous traditional street tramway and now a short tram subway in the city centre. It is also benefiting from the so-called Randstad Rail project, bringing upgraded light rail to the city

Den Haag 2013.JPG
Alstom low-floor light rail vehicles now run through Den Haag, mainly on shared track with the existing tramways, but on also special reserved tracks to and through the modern sattelite development at Zoetermeer. Part of the route is shared with high-platform trains serving neighbouring city Rotterdam's metro which has been extended to Den Haag Centraal Station. The futuristic station pictured above is on an elevated alignment through the modern office developments of the Beatrixkwartier close to Den Haag CS which is for light rail only. Nothwithstanding Randstad Rail developments, there are on-going extensions to the traditional network, the latest under construction being in the nearby city of Delft which is undergoing an enormous expansion away from its picturesque and historic core.

Dublin, Ireland : February 13th - 14th 2013
Catching up on recent extensions to the Red Line, to the Point (O2 Arena) in the east and the community of Saggart in the west and adds the westen branch to Tallaght and additional photography on the core Red line to the photos taken in 2005

Dublin 2013.JPG
It had long been planned to extend the Red line eastwards to the entrance to the commercial docks where the O2 Arena is situated. The route, along George's Dock (see photo above), Mayor Street Lower and Upper and terminating in Castleforbes Road, passes through old docklands areas now partially redeveloped as an International Financial Area. The recent economic depression which hit both Ireland and the Financial sector hard has meant that the route is not as busy as originally hoped, but with economic conditions improving, the long term value of the link will be realised. Traffic on the extension to Saggart at the western end of the route has also been disappointing. New housing areas created on the edge of the city during the times of the boom, which in terms of the Irish housing market approximated a construction bubble, have not filled to the level expected. Dublin is pressing ahead with tramway development despite government budgetary cuts which have seen no progress on more ambitious projects such as Metro North and Metro West and a rail tunnel under the city centre linking Heuston and Connolly Stations. The Green Line which currently terminates at St Stephen's Green will be extended northwards through the city centre and a new bridge over the River Liffey is under construction for the southbound tracks of the forthcoming line.

Earlier Series

Year Tram System Country
2012 Riga Latvia
2012 Bruxelles Belgium
2012 Munich Germany
2012 Nottingham United Kingdom
2011 Sevilla Spain
2011 Manchester United Kingdom
2011 Gdansk Poland
2010 Barcelona Spain
2010 Manchester United Kingdom
2009 Istanbul Turkey
2009 Montpellier France
2009 Katowice Poland
2009 Krakow Poland
2009 Nice France
2009 Manchester United Kingdom
2008 Zurich Switzerland
2008 Basel Switzerland
2008 Mulhouse France
2008 Stockholm Sweden
2008 Norrkoping Sweden
2008 Milan Italy
2008 Bordeaux France
2008 Porto Portugal
2008 London (Croydon) United Kingdom
2007 Warsaw Poland
2007 Gothenburg Sweden
2007 Olomouc Czech Republic
2007 Brno Czech Republic
2007 Bratislava Slovakia
2007 Manchester United Kingdom
2007 Lyon France
2007 Grenoble France
2007 Geneva Switzerland
2007 Lisbon Portugal
2007 Amsterdam Netherlands
2007 Paris France
2006 Oslo Norway
2006 Schoneiche-Rudersdorf Germany
2006 Wroclaw Poland
2006 Poznan Poland
2006 Szczecin Poland
2006 Berlin Germany
2006 Vienna Austria
2006 Brno Czech Republic
2006 Prague Czech Republic
2006 Nantes France
2006 Budapest Hungary
2006 Lyon France
2005 Dublin Ireland
2005 Geneva Switzerland
2005 Blackpool United Kingdom
2005 Cottbus Germany
2005 Magdeburg Germany
2005 Brandenburg Germany
2005 Frankfurt (Oder) Germany
2005 Woltersdorf Germany
2005 Schoneiche-Rudersdorf Germany
2005 Berlin Germany
2005 Potsdam Germany
2005 Rome Italy
2005 Manchester United Kingdom
2004 Kirnitzschtal Germany
2004 Dresden Germany
2004 Plzen Czech Republic
2004 Prague Czech Republic
2004 Nottingham United Kingdom
2004 Sheffield United Kingdom
2003 Vienna Austria
2003 Gmunden Austria
2003 Linz Austria
2003 Innsbruck Austria
2003 Augsburg Germany
2003 Munich Germany
2003 Sheffield United Kingdom
2002 Dusseldorf Germany
2002 Bielefeld Germany
2002 Kassel Germany
2002 Bochum-Gelsenkirchen Germany
2002 Oberhausen Germany
2002 Duisburg Germany
2002 Mulheim Germany
2002 Dortmund Germany
2002 Essen Germany
2001 Bern Switzerland
2001 Dusseldorf Germany
2001 Bonn Germany
2001 Cologne Germany
2000 Lausanne Switzerland
2000 Geneva Switzerland
2000 Freiburg Germany
2000 Cologne Germany
2000 West Midlands United Kingdom
1999 Knokke-De Panne Belgium
1999 Gent Belgium
1999 Lille France
1999 Zurich Switzerland
1999 Sheffield United Kingdom
1999 Milan Italy
1998 Cairo - Heliopolis Egypt
1998 Magdeburg Germany
1998 Strausberg Germany
1998 Woltersdorf Germany
1998 Schoneiche-Rudersdorf Germany
1998 Berlin Germany
1998 Potsdam Germany
1998 Brandenburg Germany
1998 Braunschweig Germany
1998 Hannover Germany
1997 Gent Belgium
1997 Knokke-De Panne Belgium
1997 Lille France
1997 Charleroi Belgium
1997 Zurich Switzerland
1997 Paris France
1997 Chemnitz Germany
1997 Dresden Germany
1997 Halle Germany
1997 Leipzig Germany
1996 Strasbourg France
1996 Basel Switzerland
1996 Bern Switzerland
1996 Zurich Switzerland
1996 Frankfurt-am-Main Germany
1996 Stuttgart Germany
1996 Karlsruhe Germany
1996 Heidelberg Germany
1996 Ludwigshafen Germany
1996 Mannheim Germany
1996 Mainz Germany
1995 Mulheim Germany
1995 Dortmund Germany
1995 Dusseldorf Germany
1995 Duisburg Germany
1995 Essen Germany
1995 Bochum-Gelsenkirchen Germany
1994 Istanbul Turkey
1992 Manchester United Kingdom
1992 Oslo Norway
1991 Dusseldorf Germany
1991 Magdeburg Germany
1991 Hannover Germany
1991 Dortmund Germany
1991 Essen Germany
1991 Bochum-Gelsenkirchen Germany
1990 Helsinki Finland
1990 Gothenburg Sweden
1989 Stockholm Sweden
1989 Oslo Norway
1989 Helsinki Finland
1988 Zurich Switzerland
1988 Geneva Switzerland
1988 Bern Switzerland
1988 Cologne Germany
1988 Dortmund Germany
1988 Bochum-Gelsenkirchen Germany
1988 Essen Germany
1987 Warsaw Poland
1987 Krakow Poland
1987 Mainz Germany
1987 Karlsruhe Germany
1987 Stuttgart Germany
1987 Ludwigshafen Germany
1987 Heidelberg Germany
1987 OEG (Interurban) Germany
1987 Mannheim Germany
1987 Frankfurt-am-Main Germany
1986 Budapest Hungary
1986 Bratislava Slovakia
1986 Vienna Austria
1986 Prague Czech Republic
1986 Amsterdam Netherlands
1986 Den Haag Netherlands
1986 Rotterdam Netherlands
1986 Krefeld Germany
1986 Duisburg Germany
1986 Mulheim Germany
1986 Dortmund Germany
1986 Bochum-Gelsenkirchen Germany
1986 Essen Germany
1986 Dusseldorf Germany
1985 Bruxelles Belgium
1985 Moscow Russia
1985 Kiev Ukraine
1985 Minsk Belarus
1985 St Petersburg Russia
1985 Dusseldorf Germany
1985 Mulheim Germany
1985 Bochum-Gelsenkirchen Germany
1985 Essen Germany
1985 Wuppertal Germany
1985 Gent Belgium
1985 Antwerp Belgium
1984 Blackpool United Kingdom
1984 Wurzburg Germany
1984 Nurnberg Germany
1984 Munich Germany
1984 Augsburg Germany
1984 Stuttgart Germany
1984 Heidelberg Germany
1984 Mannheim Germany
1984 Ludwigshafen Germany
1984 Knokke-De Panne Belgium
1984 Dortmund Germany
1984 Duisburg Germany
1984 Dusseldorf Germany
1984 Bonn Germany
1984 Mainz Germany
1984 Darmstadt Germany
1984 Frankfurt-am-Main Germany
1983 Dusseldorf Germany
1983 Bochum-Gelsenkirchen Germany
1983 Mulheim Germany
1983 Essen Germany
1983 Berlin Germany
1983 Braunschweig Germany
1983 Hannover Germany
1983 Bielefeld Germany
1983 Bonn Germany
1983 Cologne Germany
1983 Charleroi Belgium
1983 Knokke-De Panne Belgium
1983 Bruxelles Belgium
1982 Hong Kong China
1982 Blackpool United Kingdom
1981 Ludwigshafen Germany
1981 Mannheim Germany
1981 Heidelberg Germany

1979 : Bratislava, Slovakia

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