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Posts tagged ‘Syndicat des transports d’Île-de-France (STIF)’


‘La Ville en Tram’ – Tramway T6 Opens for Business

IT’S BEEN A HECTIC few years for the tramway system in and around Paris. In 2012, the tram lines T1, T2 and T3 were extended, in 2013 two new tram lines were opened, T5 and T7, and now, in December 2014, two more new tram lines come on stream. On Saturday 13th December, tram line T6 was opened and on Tuesday 16th December it’s the turn of tram line T8.

I went to the opening of tram line T7 in November last year and last Saturday I braved the cold and the heavy rain and went to the opening of the new tram line T6.


Le ville en tram – the inauguration logo for tram line T6

At the moment, tram-line T6 runs for 13 km from the Châtillon-Montrouge Métro station (Métro Line 13) to the tram stop Robert Wagner in Vélizy-Villacoublay passing through the communes of Châtillon, Clamart, Fontenay-aux-Roses, Meudon and Vélizy-Villacoublay, although Montrouge, Malakoff and Le Plessis-Robinson will also benefit from their proximity to this service. When the tram line is completed in the Spring of 2016, two further tram stops and a subterranean section of line will extend the tram line a further 1.6 km to Viroflay.


 The tramline T6 route

Tram line T6 has been designed to ensure easy transfers to Métro Line 13 (Châtillon-Montrouge), RER Line ‘C’ (Viroflay Rive Gauche), SNCF’s Transilien service (Viroflay Rive Gauche and Viroflay Rive Droite) as well as to several bus services at almost every tram stop.


The other transport connections (click on the image to enlarge)

Building a new tramway is a very lengthy process and the planning for tram line T6 began back in the year 2000. A proposal was put forward and accepted by the Syndicat des transports d’Île-de-France (STIF) in 2002. Preliminary studies and designs were carried out during 2002-2005 followed by a public announcement in 2006.

The cost of the project is around €385m excluding taxes and the cost of rolling stock and the project has been funded by the State (16%), Île-de-France (50%), Conseil général des Hauts-de-Seine (20%), Conseil général des Yvelines (13%) and RATP (1%).

For the rolling stock, a contract worth €171.6m was awarded for the supply of 28 Translohr STE 6 type trams.

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

Translohr STE 6 type trams at Châtillon-Montrouge on tram line T6. Note that there is only one rail per tram and the trams run on rubber tyres.

Each tram can accommodate 250 passengers, 60 of whom can be seated and the low floor facilitates easy access for passengers with restricted mobility. Other features include air conditioning, display screens and sound announcement systems.

Tram line T6 operates from 5h 30 to 00h 30 seven days a week. The journey time is 40 minutes and the trams operate every four minutes during peak hours and seven minutes during non-peak hours. It is expected that some 82,000 passengers will use the line each day.

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

Arriving at Châtillon-Montrouge Métro station last Saturday morning I emerged into an unpleasant winter chill and very heavy rain. I’d arrived about half an hour before the opening ceremony was due to begin so I had time to look round. I came upon two brand new trams parked ready to be moved into position at the appointed time.

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

I also discovered that the TV station, France 3, was covering the event ‘live’ so I was interested in taking a close look at their outside broadcast scanner …

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

But everyone else seemed more interested in the TV personalities on parade …

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

As I walked past the TV tent with its attendant big screen TV outside relaying the live broadcast to those standing in the rain I came upon the Franco-Brazilian drummers, Batucada Zalindé. While they were playing, the two trams I’d seen earlier were manoeuvring into position by the station platforms ready for the opening ceremony.

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

The opening of the new tram line was preceded by speeches from the assembled dignitaries, including Jean-Loup Metton, maire de Montrouge and vice-président du Conseil général en charge des Transports, Yann Jounot, préfet des Hauts-de-Seine, Jean-Paul Huchon, président du Conseil régional d’Île-de-France, président du Conseil du STIF, Pierre Bédier, président du Conseil général des Yvelines, and Pierre Mongin, président-directeur général de la RATP.

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

And then it was off to fight my way through the crowds to clamber aboard the first passenger-carrying tram to leave from Châtillon-Montrouge to Vélizy-Villacoublay on the now opened tram line T6.

Tram Line T6 – Opening:


Tram Line T6

Inside the inaugural tram much later in the day when the crowds had subsided 

After leaving the Châtillon-Montrouge terminus, tram line T6 makes a sharp left turn and then heads off up a hill. I was impressed by the speed of the tram as it climbed the hill. The Translohr STE 6 trams can reach a speed of 40 km/h but I think the average speed on tram line T6 is around 20 km/h.

Forty minutes after leaving Châtillon-Montrouge we arrived at the tram stop, Robert Wagner, the current terminus in Vélizy-Villacoublay.

Tram Line T6

Not all the passengers who got on at Châtillon-Montrouge travelled the full length of the line but those of us that did alighted at the Robert Wagner tram stop. There had been an opening ceremony at this end of the line too so some people went off to the marquees that had been set up to see what was on offer. I on the other hand, crossed the tram line and caught the next tram back to Châtillon-Montrouge.

Tram Line T6 Chatillon-Montrouge

I recorded the sounds inside the trams for the full length of both my outward and return journeys. These of course are historic sounds – the sounds inside the trams on their very first day of operation and so they have been consigned to my Paris Soundscapes Archive and, in due course, they will make their way to my Paris Soundscapes Collection in the sound archives of the British Library.

To give you flavour of what it sounds like inside a very full tram on tram line T6, here is part of the recording I made on the return journey, the five-stop section from Division Leclerc to Châtillon-Montrouge.

Tram Line T6 – Division Leclerc to Châtillon-Montrouge :

And when I arrived back at the Châtillon-Montrouge terminus the festivities were still under way, a band was playing – and it was still raining!


And …


Tram line T6 has its own Twitter account which provides passengers with traffic updates: @T6_RATP

When the new Tram Line T8 opens on Tuesday 16th December, the Paris tramway system, extending into the  Île-de-France, will stretch for 105 km. From the opening of Tram Line 1 in 1992 to the opening of Tram Lines 6 and 8 in 2014, a huge amount of money has been invested in the tramway system. And there’s the prospect of more to come.

Tram Line T9 is the planned line between Paris Porte de Choisy and the city of Orly, expected in 2020, followed by Tram Line T10 from Antony to Clamart in the southwest suburbs of Paris, expected in 2021.


Le Tramway T7 – ça roule!

AFTER THIRTEEN YEARS OF PLANNING, four years of construction and a total expenditure of some 360 million Euros the new Paris Tramway T7 opened for business on Saturday 16th November.


Designed to extend the public transport system between the departments of Val-de-Marne and Essonne, Tramway T7 runs from the Métro station Villejuif – Louis Aragon in the commune of Villejuif in the southern suburbs of Paris to Porte de l’Essonne in the commune of Athis-Mons close to Orly international airport.

Screen shot 2013-11-17 at 5.30.03 PM

The route of Tramway T7

In the middle of last week I went to Villejuif to watch and record the final testing of the trams before they entered service. This testing began in May this year but for the last month the trams and the crews have been operating a full service without passengers – a month-long dress rehearsal to ensure that the trams entered revenue service seamlessly.


Final testing of the trams at Villejuif:


On Saturday the scene at Villejuif was very different as I and many hundreds of others arrived for the inauguration of Tramway T7.


The crowd gathered and the band played …


The refreshments and entertainment were free …


And Claudine Cordillot, Mayor of Villejuif made a speech.


The inauguration of tramway T7 :

The planning for this new tramway began as far back as the year 2000 when a process of consultation with the local communities began and then, in 2002, the Syndicat des transports d’Île-de-France (STIF) gave their approval in principle for the project. STIF is the organisation that controls the Paris public transport system and coordinates all the different transport companies operating in Île-de-France including RATP and SNCF.

A public inquiry was held at the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004 to inform the local communities of the proposed plans and to hear any concerns or objections they had.

The proposed project was approved in December 2006 by RATP, STIF and the Conseil général du Val-de-Marne, the key local authority involved. In 2008, an amended proposal addressing some cost and technical issues was brought forward and this was approved in October of that year. This approval left the way clear for the preliminary construction work to begin in 2009.

In parallel with the construction of the tramway work was also begun on the redevelopment of the adjacent RD7, formerly Route National 7, the trunk road that runs from Paris to Italy.


The funding required for Tramway T7 was considerable:

€52 million to acquire the necessary land;

€44 million for the initial studies and project management;

€223 million for the construction of the tramway and the redevelopment of RD7 and,

€48 million for the new rolling stock.

This money was funded by:

The French Government (€10 million), represented by the Prefecture of the Ile-de-France;

Région Ile-de-France (€234 million) – in pursuance of its objective to develop transport links between suburbs;

The Conseil général du Val-de-Marne (€54 million) – for the redevelopment of the RD7 road;

The Conseil général de l’Essonne (€12 million);

Communauté d’agglomération “Les Portes de l’Essonne” (€2.4 million) – for the redevelopment of the south side of the airport platform;

RATP (€5 million) – they operate of the tramway.

STIF – who controlled whole project. The €48 million cost of the rolling stock is funded by STIF in a RATP / STIF leasing agreement.


Tramway T7 runs for 11.2 km from the Métro station Villejuif – Louis Aragon to Athis-Mons – Porte de l’Essonne. There are 19 trams operating the route which means that the average waiting time at any of the 18 stations is just 5 to 6 minutes on a weekday and a little longer at weekends and public holidays. The average travel time for the whole route is 31 minutes. The tramway can handle 30,000 passengers a day.

In yet another example of the joined-up thinking used by STIF and RATP, all but two of the 18 stations on this tramway have connections, or correspondances in French, with one or more bus routes.


Image courtesy of Alstom

The trams used on Tramway T7 are the Citadis 302 trams built by the French company Alstom. These trams are not only energy and noise efficient but their low-floor design gives easy access to wheelchairs, pushchairs and people with reduced mobility. Capable of a maximum speed of around 70 km/h the trams on tramway T7 run at an average speed somewhere around 20 km/h.


Inside the trams great attention has been given to both the signage and to the announcements. The signage in the roof tells passengers at each terminus precisely when the tram is due to depart. Throughout the journey the signage displays the name of the current stop and the connections that can be made there, the name of the next stop and the time it will take to get there as well as the time it will take to get to the next terminus.

Song Phanakem, the man behind the voices on the Paris mass transit system, has produced exceptionally good announcements for Tramway T7. He has used human voices of course and each tram stop announcement appears twice each time with a different intonation. The announcements are very clear and played at exactly the right volume – not too loud and not too soft. Only occasionally, in a very crowed tram with passenger’s voices raised more than usual, are the announcements a little hard to hear but the quality is such that even then they are not subsumed altogether. An interesting new feature is that at every tram stop there is an announcement to inform new passengers of the direction in which the tram is travelling. I can see this being very useful especially for international visitors travelling to or from Orly international airport who may be unfamiliar with this tram system.


Of course, I couldn’t possibly go to the inauguration of Tramway T7 and not ride on a tram especially since for the weekend of the 16th/17th November it was completely free! And I was very lucky because not only did I ride on a brand new tram, it was a very special new tram – the 1,500th Alstom Citadis tram in worldwide circulation.


I travelled all the way from Villejuif – Louis Aragon to Athis-Mons – Porte de l’Essonne – and back again. And, of course, I couldn’t make those journeys without recording them for my Paris Soundscapes Archive.

For those of you who have the time to listen, here are the sounds I captured on the outward journey.

 Villejuif – Louis Aragon to Athis-Mons – Porte de l’Essonne – the complete journey:


While the creation and opening of Tramway T7 is impressive the story is not over. By 2018 it is planned that the tramway will be extended to Juvisy-sur-Orge and looking even further into the future, by 2020 it should connect to the new planned Métro line 15 at Villejuif- Louis Aragon. I think this is all good news especially since STIF and RATP seem to manage these new developments largely in harmony with the neighbouring local communities and in sympathy with environmental concerns.


Villejuif – The end of the line

And if you think that a tramway can’t have a life of its own, Tramway T7 has its own blog!