• de
  • en

T-Day in Caen: New tramway inaugurated – UPDATED

Caen in France inaugurated its' brand new tramway on 27 July 2019 with a fleet of 26 new Alstom Citadis low-floor trams, as seen here at Place Saint-Pierre with the city's castle in the background I Photo: Bernhard Kußmagk

On 27 July 2019 at 4h19 am the first tram left the depot in order to start revenue service – Caen’s tram started its’ tram operation and celebrated the T-Day on July 27th with the T standing for its’ brand-new tram system. The system has been built by the Communauté urbaine Caen la Mer in a record time of 18 months. Three lines and 26 Alstom Citadis X05 low-floor trams operate the 16.2 km infrastructure. The official inauguration took place that day at 11h30 am with tram service for free during the entire weekend. First reports say that that the tramway has been very well received and passengers are particularly happy about the smooth ride with the brand new vehicles on the new infrastructure – which is notable improvement in comparison to the now disappeared GLT “trams on rubber tyres”.

Communauté urbaine Caen la Mer which is the intercommunal structure with some 265,000 inhabitants is the owner France’s latest tram system. The operation is handled by Keolis.

The tramway follows the route of the closed TVR/ GLT (guided light transit bus) system from north to south with 2 separate terminus in the north and south respectively. At the southern terminus a new 1 km extension from Grâce de Dieu to the depot has been added as the GLT’s were brought to the depot in diesel operation via public streets. Next to the depot a new terminus called Collège Hawking has been installed. In the city centre a new branch to the SNCF station Rives de l’Orne has been added to the network. This will be the terminus of the line T2. In total, the network has now a length of 16.2 km.

Map of the three new tram lines which run from north to south I Source: www.tramway2019.com

Each of the three lines is operated in 10 minute intervals, leading to 3 minute headways in the city centre. Ridership is expected to be as high as 64,000 per day – in comparison to today’s 42,000 passengers. The total project has a volume of 260 mio. € (without taxes).

In November 2016 26 five-car Citadis X05 low-floor trams had been ordered for a total volume of 52 Mio. € with Alstom. The first vehicles arrived in Caen at the end of 2018. As usual for Citadis, especially in French cities, the trams are characterised by a personalised exterior and interior design, including a customer-specific frontend. The Citadis for Caen are painted in grey with black window stripes.

Urban Transport Magazine reported about Caen’s tram history and test drives here: