Bordeaux tramway: inauguration of the extension of Line C
19 December 2016

Bordeaux tramway: inauguration of the extension of Line C

The extension of Line C of the Bordeaux tramway, called the Médoc Tram-Train during the planning stage, was inaugurated on 17 December in the presence of Alain Juppé, Pierre Verzat, SYSTRA’s Chief Executive Officer, and Mathieu Dunant, Executive VP France and Innovation. Designed by SYSTRA, these 7.2km of tracks link the city to its suburbs. For SYSTRA, this project reflects a successful eight years’ of work and the commitment of 50 individuals.

A new branch of Line C

The aim of the extension of Line C of the Bordeaux tramway is to improve public transport access to the north east Bordeaux conurbation. This new branch is a gateway to the city for Médoc residents, serves six stations located in Bordeaux, Le Bouscat, Bruges, and has a new terminus for Line C at the Gare de Blanquefort. Almost 4,500 new passengers are expected each day, with trams running every 15 minutes.

An eight year project

For SYSTRA, this inauguration represents the completion of a project which began in 2008 by the performance of a feasibility study for the building of a tramway. Then, starting in February 2010, the TISYA* consortium led by SYSTRA was appointed contractor for the project.

The single track tramway, covering 7.2km, was built alongside the railway line and separated by fencing. The line is authorised to receive, over time, traffic divided between passenger trains, freight and tramways thanks to a design which takes into account traffic development assumptions. In order to ensure an optimal passenger service, the stations have been equipped with passing loops, and the Bruges and Blanquefort stops provide connections with the TER regional express network for a multi-modal transport offering.

A major first

The aim was to integrate a railway line in a very restricted space, bordered on one side by riverside plots and on the other by a fully-operational track. To make this possible, two major technical hurdles had to be overcome - finding the best technical solutions to work with land of poor quality (purges, on site treatment, soil reinforcement through inclusions), and also limiting fragmentation impact to a maximum.

One of the major challenges of this project was the level crossings which had to be adapted to both trains and tramways. There were three, a fourth was automated, and both were modified to make it compatible with the tramway track: this is a major first in France. This installation required major changes to the SNCF’s signalling equipment, so that it responded to all rolling stock traffic, including the tramway.

SYSTRA et Bordeaux

The modern tramway network was first commissioned in Bordeaux in 2003. The city has a network of three lines, of more than 60km in total serving 117 stations. The tramway was entirely designed by SYSTRA since the end of the 1990s and has revolutionised the travel of Bordeaux’s residents, triggering a modal shift from automobile traffic. In particular, its integration took the historical and listed nature of the city centre into account. The project was a complete success in terms of its discrete installation and was the first tram system to have a catenary-free power supply. This commissioning is the last in phase three which included six line extensions, a new maintenance and stabling centre and six partial termini.

Winner of a 2016 Mobility Award

The winners of the 2016 Mobility Awards, organised by Ville, Rail & Transports (VRT), were announced on 7 December. The winner of the modernisation award was Bordeaux Métropole, for the implementation of partial services on the tramway network for all network extensions, including that of Line C. An award which also recognises the work of SYSTRA which, from the offset has been responsible for the design and operational project management of the partial termini.

*TYSIA: name of the Consortium composed of SYSTRA, lead consultant, ARTELIA, INGEROP and ECCTA.
Photo copyright: Marie-Françoise Jay

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