April 2017 BLNI Extra No. 24 – Tramways in Ile de France
With thanks to the SNCF Society, especially the author Graham Skinner, for making this
comprehensive review available. A visit to their website is strongly recommended.
The diagram below (http://www.stif.org/IMG/pdf/carte-reseau-tram-ile-de-france-stif.pdf) has been
suggested by the authors as providing additional clarification of the text. STIF is the Syndicat des Transports
d'Ile de France and is the Regional Transport Authority. STIF finances the purchase of the rolling stock, fixes
tariffs and subsidises the public transport system.
[C50] France - Tramways in Ile de France Part 1
Overview: The revival of the urban tramway in Ile-de-France (IDF) started in 1992. After a quarter of a
century, 8 new tram lines are in service. They total 104 km and carry, altogether, 850,000 passengers a
day, but do not form a network. Most of the lines have different features which prevent physical
interconnexion even if that was planned, which is not the case.
The procedures to construct a tramway in France are long and complex. They are subject to bureaucratic
meanders and conflicts of interest. The process can take from 6 to 15 years, or more, between the date of
the first serious discussions about a project and the opening date. In France, a tram line is considered,
often, as an opportunity to restyle streets and avenues from "wall to wall". This can make tramway
projects very expensive and lengthen construction times. Projects are conceived and conducted by
départements and co-ordinated and co-financed by the Region and the communes concerned. There is no
evidence that there has ever been a regional strategy regarding tramways. Projects are generated locally
to solve local transport problems. 5 of the 8 tramways in service are less than 15 km in length. None is over
20 km in length.
STIF has created a kind of "network effect" by numbering the lines. Recently the light rail lines operated by
"tram-train" units have been designated Tram Express. We will return to the matter of interconnecting
tram lines at the end of the third episode of this "update". The latest diagram from STIF can be examined
The 8 tramways in service in IDF are operated by RATP except T4 which is operated by SNCF. The trams are
financed 100% by STIF, the regional rail authority. All the tracks are constructed with steel rails to standard
gauge except for T5 and T6. The latter two lines have twin concrete runways for rubber tyred articulated
vehicles guided by a monorail inserted into a slot between the runways. All the lines have current
collection from overhead wires at 750 volts DC except T4 which has a standard SNCF 25 KV 50Hz overhead
A short description of the tramways in service follows divided into three parts.
This month we examine four lines: T1 - T4. In March News, it will be T5 - T8 and in April News an update
will be published about the 5 tramways under construction (T9 - T13) followed by a conclusion.
T1 - Noisy-le-Sec - Saint-Denis - Les Courtilles
Infrastructure: The line was opened in 1992 from Bobigny to Gare SNCF Saint Denis (9 km). It was
extended eastwards to Noisy-le-Sec (Gare SNCF) in 2003 (+ 3 km). In 2012, the extension westwards to Les
Courtilles (M13) was opened (+ 4 km). Work has started on a further extension westwards (+ 1 km) to
Quatre Routes, opening in 2018. A further extension westwards to Gabriel Peri is planned to open in 2023.
Ultimately, T1 is expected to reach Rueil Malmaison.
A further extension of T1 eastwards from Noisy-le-Sec (Gare SNCF) to Val-de-Fontenay (RER A) has been
approved (+8 km). The original plan was put forward 15 years ago, but it has been systematically blocked
by the Noisy-le-Sec town council which objects to the tram line passing through the centre-ville. In
November 2014, the latest version of the project was approved (DUP) but the Noisy-le-Sec mayor refused
to accept the official plan and prevented work starting! Now the IDF Region has agreed to investigate the
feasibility of constructing a single track through the town centre, possibly without overhead wires (battery
power). These changes will delay the whole project by a further 2 - 3 years and increase the cost of an
already expensive project (450 M€).
Stock: T1 is operated with 35 trams of type "Tramway Français Standard" (TFS) built by Alstom. Nos 101 -
117 were delivered for the opening of the line in 1992. Nos 118 + 119 were received in 1995. 16 TFS units
were transferred from T2 in 2003/2004. They were then renovated. They are numbered 201 - 216. The TFS
trams are 29m long and 2.30m wide. They have a capacity of 174 of which 54 are seated. It is expected
that these trams will be replaced, at the latest in 2022, by 50 new trams.
T1, unit 101, the first of the first batch of TSF units (Tramway Standard Francais), the oldest of the new trams to enter service in 1992.
Seen near the terminus at Les Courtilles, Hauts de Seine in May 2014.
Operations: T1 carries 190,000 passengers a day. It is overcrowded at all times. The service runs from
Noisy-le-Sec to Les Courtilles, a distance of 16 km with 36 stops, which is covered in 60 minutes (average
16 kph). The average interval is 5-7 minutes but it is difficult to keep to the timetable due to conflicts with
road traffic at certain points, and overcrowding. The TFS trams can only operate as single units and appear
to be too small for the levels of traffic. Boarding and disembarking is frequently hindered by push chairs
and there are no doors at the ends of the trams due to the bogies.
Since the extension westwards to Les Courtilles the service has deteriorated and it is accepted that more
trams are needed and probably the service should be split into two sections. This was to be done when the
eastern extension from Noisy would open (2019). But this date will now be delayed by 2-3 years. So an
urgent decision is needed.
T2 - Pont de Bezons - La Défense - Porte de Versailles
Infrastructure: The line was opened in 1997 from La Défense to Issy-Val-de-Seine (11.5 km). It replaced a
former suburban railway. It was extended to Porte de Versailles in 2009 (+ 2.3 km). In 2012, the extension
north from La Défense to Pont de Bezons was opened (+ 4.2 km). In total, the line is now 18 km long with
Stock: T2 was operated initially with 16 trams of type "Tramway Français Standard" (TFS) built by Alstom.
In 2003/2004 these trams were transferred to T1. They were replaced by 26 Citadis 302 trams designed to
form 13 pairs in multiple units. These multiple units are 65m long and 2.40m wide. Their total capacity is
370 (96 seated). 16 more Citadis 302 trams were acquired in 2008 and 18 more in 2010/2012. There is a
total fleet of 60 units at present (30 multiple units) numbered 401 - 460.
A pair of Alstom Citadis trams in multiple unit at the T2 "Les Coteaux" station in November 2014 with the towers of La Défense in the
background. The line was originally an SNCF suburban branch from Puteaux to Issy-les-Moulineaux.
Operations: T2 carries 220,000 passengers a day, the busiest tramway in Ile de France. It is overcrowded
all the time, and saturated at peak periods. The service runs from Pont de Bezons to La Défense and from
there to Issy and Porte de Versailles, a distance of 18 km with 24 stops (every 750m). The line has a high
average speed of 24 kph since it is on its own site. There are few conflicts with road traffic. The service
interval is 4 minutes at peak times and 8 minutes off-peak.
T3 a - Pont du Garigliano - Porte de Vincennes.
Infrastructure: The line was opened in 2006 from Pont du Garigliano to Porte d'Ivry (8 km). In 2009 it was
extended across the Seine to Porte de Vincennes (+ 4.4 km). The line is constructed along the Military
Boulevards on its own site, sometimes in the centre sometimes at the side. But there are many crossroads
and frequent conflicts with road traffic. Priority for the tramway is theoretical rather than the norm. The
track site is often grass covered. At Porte de Vincennes, the termini of each section (T3a and T3b) are
situated on opposite sides of the avenue. Double track sidings beyond the platforms in the direction of
Nation can accommodate two trams.
Stock: T3a is operated with 21 Alstom Citadis 402 trams. They are 43.7m long and 2.65m wide. Their
capacity is 304 including 78 seated.
T3a. Alstom Citadis 402 near Stade Charléty, Paris 14 in March 2007
Operations: T3a carries 210,000 passengers a day, the second busiest line in IDF. There are 25 stops along
12.4 km. The average speed is barely 18 kph due to conflicts at crossroads. The trams are always full and
saturated at peak periods when it can be impossible to board at times.
There seem to be insufficient trams for the traffic.
T3b - Porte de Vincennes - Porte de la Chapelle
Infrastructure: This line starts from the north side of the Avenue de Vincennes. There is a physical
connection between T3a and T3b but it is not used for commercial services. T3b is constructed along the
Military Boulevard to Porte de Pantin where the line leaves Paris under the Boulevard Périphérique and
ventures into the adjacent commune of Pantin. It crosses the Canal de l'Ourcq and returns to Paris at the
Porte de la Villette next to the Science Museum. Currently T3b terminates at Porte de la Chapelle. (9.5 km).
An extension is under construction to Porte d'Asnières (+ 4 km). It is expected to open in 2018. A further
extension is planned to terminate at Porte Dauphine. This will be completed around 2021-2022.
Stock: T3b is operated with 25 Citadis 402 trams at present. These units are identical to those on the
southern section (T3a).
Operations: T3b has 18 stops and it carries 120,000 passengers a day. The average speed is 19 kph. The
interval is 7-8 minutes off peak and 5 minutes at peak times.
T3b. Alstom Citadis 402 at Porte de la Villette in May 2014
T4 - Bondy - Aulnay-sous-Bois
Infrastructure: The former SNCF suburban railway line from Bondy to Aulnay-sous-Bois was closed in
December 2003 to be rebuilt as a light railway. It was opened in November 2006.
The double track line is 8 km long and is electrified at 25,000 volts. Barriers were removed from the level
crossings which are now regulated by traffic lights.
At Gargan, half way along the line, a new overbridge was built for the T4 to cross the RN 3 road.
A siding is provided here to facilitate operations. There are no signals on this light railway.
A new branch is to be built from Gargan to Clichy-sous-Bois-Montfermeil, towns poorly served by public
transport. The branch line (6 km, 11 stops) will be an authentic tramway electrified at 750 volts and
constructed along the road. The project has been delayed by opposition from certain towns which
preferred an express bus. However, work finally started in 2016 along the agreed route and the tram line
will be opened in 2019. The new service will operate from Montfermeil to Bondy.
Stock: T4 is currently operated with a fleet of 15 Siemens AVANTO "Tram-train" units. Each unit is 37m
long and 2.65m wide. Their capacity is 242 with 80 seated. The units operate singly. The Avantos cost
4.5M€ each. In 2016, an order was placed with Alstom for 15 Citadis Dualis bi-voltage tram-train units for
use on the new branch. A new technicentre at Noisy-le-Sec was opened in September 2016. This
maintenance depot will service all the tram-train units for T4 (30 units) and T11 (15 units so far).
Operations: T4 is operated by SNCF. It has, currently, 9 stops along the 8 km from Bondy (RER E) to Aulnay
(RER B) and it carries 34,000 passengers a day. The journey time is 19 minutes. The frequency is every 9
minutes and 6 minutes at peak periods. The objective was to carry 40,000 passengers a day. After ten
years in service, the utilisation is still a little short of optimum. Some suggest that one explanation is that
bus services in the area have not been modified to feed into the tram-train. If this is so it would be the
responsibility of the local town councils.
[C51] France - Tramways in Ile de France Part 2 (T5-T8)
T5 - Garges-Sarcelles - Saint Denis Marché
Infrastructure: This short line of 6.6 km was constructed from Garges-Sarcelles to the centre of Saint-Denis
(market) via Pierrefitte-sur-Seine. It is located in the cosmopolitain département of (93) Seine-Saint-Denis.
The politicians who promoted this line chose, (long ago, in 2000), to specify an innovative rubber-tyred
guided vehicle proposed by a small French company called Translohr, in Alsace. For guidance, the
Translohr vehicles use a mono-rail embedded between two concrete runways. Such an infrastructure is
incompatible with standard twin rail track. The motivation seems to have been the supposed facility of the
Translohr system to be inserted into the urban environnement (sharp corners and narrow roads). But, in
2000, the Translohr vehicle existed only on paper, not even a prototype had been produced. The choice
was apparently an ambitious gamble with public money, when proven, standard, tramway equipment was
widely available and economically priced.
The rubber tyred tram line was approved in February 2005, financed in November 2006, and finally
opened in July 2013, The Regional Authority, STIF, had approved the project choices for T5 (and T6). In
2004, STIF abandoned the Translohr concept (before having even placed an order) and reverted to
standard "steel wheels on rails" tramway systems for all the subsequent Ile de France projects from T7
onwards. But, inexplicably, STIF allowed T5 and T6 to be built with a proprietary system incompatible with
the other tramway systems in Ile de France.
Stock: 15 Translohr STE 3 vehicles are used. They are the smallest in the catalogue, 25 metres long by 2.20
metres wide, they have a capacity of just 127 passengers. The depot is at Pierrefitte. In view of the rapid
saturation of the new line, 4 additional STE 3 units have been ordered. They will be delivered at the end of
2017. These will increase capacity of the line by 25% but it is insufficient. An extension of the depot will
have to be built for the additional units.
Operations: T5 has 16 stops along 6 km. The journey time is 22 minutes between the two termini, an
average speed of 18 kph. The minimum interval is every 5 minutes. The line is saturated most of the time.
(See the report, below). The line was built with a capacity of 30,000 passengers a day but it carries an
astonishing 54,000 passengers a day. The extra traffic was not anticipated. Thus the platforms are only
long enough for one short STE 3 unit. The termini do not have sidings to facilitate the turnaround of trams.
So the frequency cannot be easily increased.
Travel Impressions: Our correspondent Michel Costes recently travelled on T5 from Garges to Saint Denis,
one evening in November 2016. He boarded the Translohr tram outside the modern RER D train station at
Garges-Sarcelles. The Translohr tram was full, standing room only, and it was only in the middle of the line
around Pierrefitte that a few seats became available. Passengers seemed tired and a tad irritable in the
overcrowded conditions. The ride was a little jerky like a rubber tyred metro and the acceleration was
snappy. There are no steep gradients on this line but some sharp curves. At Saint Denis Marché you have to
cross a busy road to board the T1 tram for two stops to Saint Denis SNCF station (Transilien and RER D).
Due to the incompatibility of the two tramways, passengers from T5 are forced to change from
one overcrowded system to another (T1) for just a short ride to reach the main transport hub in the area.
T6 - Châtillon - Vélizy – Viroflay
Infrastructure: This tram line of 14 km is located in the départements of (92) Hauts-de-Seine (7.5km) and
(78) Yvelines (6.5km incl. tunnel). It is operated with rubber tyred Translohr guided vehicles. From the
metro station (line 13) at Chatillon-Montrouge, T6 is inserted in the centre of an urban boulevard, with 9
stops, through Chatillon and Clamart. It then crosses a corner of Meudon-la-Forêt to reach Vélizy 2, a
regional shopping centre. This first section carries the majority of the traffic. The second section, from
Vélizy 2 to Viroflay Rive Droite (RD), crosses a plateau occupied by new multi-storey office buildings. After
the stop at Robert Wagner, T6 descends a steep gradient through a forest into a 1.6 km tunnel with an
underground station at Viroflay Rive Gauche (RG) (connection to RER C and Transilien N ) and an
underground terminus at Viroflay Rive Droite (RD) (connection to Transilien line L).
The initial T6 project with rubber tyred vehicles was approved by STIF in 2002, and it was declared of
public utility in 2005. Construction began in 2010. The line from Chatillon to Robert Wagner was opened in
December 2014, and the costly underground section under Viroflay was opened in May 2016.
Stock: 28 Translohr STE 6 vehicles are used on the line. They are the longest in the catalogue, 46 metres
long by 2.20 metres wide, they have a capacity of 255 passengers. The depot is at Vélizy-Villacoublay.
Operations: T6 has 21 stops and currently carries 61,500 passengers a day. The journey time is about 40
minutes between each terminus and the service interval varies between 4 and 7 minutes during the day
and 15 - 30 minutes in the evenings. The planned traffic level was 82,500 passengers a day. Personal
observation in November 2016 showed that mid-week day time traffic is very light between Viroflay and
Velizy 2. The complete line has been open less than a year however.
Travel impressions: Your local editor visited the T6 line at Viroflay Rive Droite on a mid week morning in
November 2016, coming from Gare St Lazare on Transilien Line L. First, it was necessary to cross the
Transilien line on a small footbridge. The entrance to the tram line is quite discrete. There is a lift but it was
closed for maintenance that morning. There is an escalator but it was only working upwards. So to reach
the T6 platform there were about 150 steps down. The underground station (similar to Viroflay Rive
Gauche) is constructed on a grand scale but was quite deserted. The rubber tyred Translohr tram looks
sleek and is very quiet. On board, the seating is 2 + 1 and the passages between the segments are very
narrow. There is a profusion of grab handles for standing passengers, the trams sampled were all driven
cautiously, but obviously had reserve power for good acceleration on the steep gradient of 10% from the
tunnel up to Robert Wagner. The ride was bouncy with continual oscillations. A standard tram with steel
wheels on rails has a significantly smoother ride. But, overall, the Translohr gave a better impression than
expected. However, the system is more expensive than a classical tramway (unit cost, maintenance, short
life) and it is incompatible with the other lines in Ile de France which is regrettable.
The entrance to the T6 platforms of Viroflay underground station
T7 - Villejuif - Portes de l'Essonne (Athis-Mons)
Infrastructure: T7 is an 11 km tram line situated in the département (94) Val de Marne. It links Villejuif
Louis Aragon (Terminus Metro Line 7) to Porte de l'Essonne (Athis-Mons) via Rungis market, Belle Epine
shopping centre and Orly Sud airport. The line also makes a detour through SILIC Business park (an area of
offices) and Coeur d'Orly (future residential area next to the airport). It will ultimately be extended a
further 3.7 km to Juvisy with a terminus at the busy SNCF station (RER C and D). This extension will be
inserted along the N7 from the present terminus at the Carrefour Hypermarket in Athis-Mons. The final
few hundred metres in Juvisy will require a short tunnel. The preliminary approval of STIF for this line was
issued in October 2002. Work started in 2009 and the line was opened in November 2013. The extension
to Juvisy should be completed by 2021 several years later than originally planned.
Stock: The line is operated with 19 Alstom CITADIS 302 trams numbered 701 - 719. The trams are 32 m
long by 2.4 m wide and carry 200 passengers, with 54 seated. The depot is situated near Villejuif.
Operations: T7 has 18 stops along 11 km and carries 25,000 passengers a day. The service interval is 6 - 10
minutes on week days, and every 15 minutes on Sundays, every 20 minutes in the evenings. The line has
not reached its target traffic level yet. The detour through the SILIC office area adds ten minutes to the
journey but no passengers join or leave there. In the medium term, this line will no doubt achieve its
targets. In 2020 the Grand Paris Express underground line 15 Sud will open with a stop at Villejuif Louis
Aragon and in 2021 it is expected that the extension to Juvisy will open. The new apartment buildings at
Coeur d'Orly should be completed during the next few years, creating traffic.
T8 - Saint-Denis (Porte de Paris) - Epinay / Villetaneuse
Infrastructure: T8 is an 8.5 km line in the form of a "Y". It starts at St-Denis Porte de Paris (Metro 13) and
passes SNCF Gare St-Denis where it crosses T1 on the level. After the stop at La Poterie the line splits, one
branch goes to Villetaneuse Université, and the other branch terminates at Epinay Orgemont.
The line was approved by STIF in February 2003. The public utility was declared in December 2006. Work
started in 2010 and the T8 line opened in December 2014. Planning is in progress for an extension of 6 km
southwards to Rosa Parks station on RER E (also connection with T3b)
Stock: The line is operated with 20 Alstom CITADIS 302 trams numbered 801 - 820. These are quasi
identical with those on T7. The depot for T8 is situated at Villetaneuse.
Operations: T8 has 17 stops along its two branches that total 8.5 km. It carries 55,000 passengers a day
which corresponds exactly to the objective. T8 operates with two short branches. From St-Denis Porte de
Paris, the journey time is 14 minutes to Villetaneuse Université and 22 minutes to Epinay. The service
interval along the first section through St-Denis with five stops is 3 - 5 mins, and 6 - 10 mins on each
T7 - Villejuif - Portes de l'Essonne (Athis-Mons)
[C52] France - Tramways in Ile de France Part 3 (T9-T13) - Projects planned and under construction
T9 - Porte de Choisy - Orly-Ville (94 - Val-de-Marne)
This future tram line will run from Porte de Choisy to Orly Ville. It will be 10 km long and will replace RATP
Bus line 183 which is reported to be the busiest in IDF with 57,000 passengers, daily. There will be 20 stops
and the urban environment along the route will be modernised "wall to wall" across the boulevard as part
of the project. The line will cross Ivry-sur-Seine, Vitry-sur-Seine, Choisy-le-Roi and Thiais and terminate in
Orly Ville. A later extension to Orly airport is not excluded, though that section presents some technical
difficulties and low forecast traffic
This line (as well as T10) will be operated by RATP with 22 of the newest generation of Alstom Citadis
trams, the X05 which will have a capacity of 341. It will be 45m long by 2.65m wide. This will apparently be
compatible with T3 tramway. At Porte de Choisy (Paris 13th) the two stabling tracks at the end of T9 will
be situated alongside the T3 tram line. Although no physical connection is currently planned it is pleasing
to note that one day the concepts of "interconnexion" and "network" may prevail here.
The Declaration of Public Utility was given in 2014 and work started in 2016. The line is due to open in
T10 - Antony - Clamart (Place du Garde)
This future tram line of 8.2 km will run from Croix-de-Berny (Antony) to Clamart (Place du Garde). The line
is situated in 92-Hauts-de-Seine and it will cross the communes of Antony, Châtenay-Malabry, Le Plessis-
Robinson and Clamart with 14 stops. It can be described as a local tram line with expected traffic of only
30,000 passengers a day, although the initial budget of 160 M€ had nearly doubled by 2012 to 311M€. This
can be compared to the budget for the T9 tramway of 332M€ for a line 2 km longer but with expected
traffic of 70,000 passengers a day.
T10 starts at Croix-de-Berny at the RER B station. It will cross tramway T6 at Hôpital-Béclère. There will be
no physical link between the lines here. There will be a bridge. T6 is a rubber tyred hybrid system whereas
T10 will be a standard tramway. It is planned to extend T10 from Clamart to Issy-les-Moulineaux but, due
to physical features, possible choice of a tunnel is necessary and completion of the extension is not likely
before 2030. It is, however, only when totally complete that the line may be viable. At Issy, there would be
the possibility for passengers to transfer to the future Grand Paris Express line 15 and metro line 12.
T10 received its Declaration of Utilité Publique in October 2016. Work will begin during 2017 and the line
will open during 2021. The line will be operated by RATP.
14 new generation Citadis X05 trams will be ordered from Alstom, the same type of unit as for T9. These
trams will be the largest tram sets in IDF at 45m x 2.65m with a capacity of 341. It is surprising that these
trams have been ordered for T10 where the traffic forecasts are less than 50% of those on T9.
Tram Express T11 Epinay sur Seine - Le Bourget
This light railway system in 93 - Seine-Saint-Denis was originally designated Tangentielle Nord, and later
Tram Express Nord. Now it is described as Tram Express T11 and it will open in July 2017. It has taken many
years to reach this point. The project was approved, in principle, by STIF, 13 years ago in Sept 2004 (But
the original project was first proposed in July 2000!). The Declaration of Utilité Publique was given in May
2008 and the project was divided into two phases. Phase 1 concerns an arc of 11 km from Epinay-sur Seine
to Le Bourget (RER B) via Villetaneuse Université (T8), and Pierrefitte-Stains (RER D). The double track line
is constructed next to the Grande Ceinture freight line. Altogether, there are seven new stations in phase
1. 15 Alstom Dualis Tram-Train units were delivered from July 2016. This type of Tram-Train unit will also
be used on the extension of T4 due to open in 2019 (and on T13 in 2020). All the Dualis units will be
serviced at a new depot at Noisy-le-Sec which is now open. T11 and T4 are operated by SNCF but through
specific, specially created companies and employees do not have the same status (or salaries) as SNCF
Z6482, one of the sets with fixed steps for high platforms waits to depart from Noisy-Le-Roi, one of the stations where the platforms
will need to be lowered.
Phase 2 will comprise the western section from Epinay-sur-Seine to Sartrouville (12 km - 2027) and the
eastern section from Le Bourget to Noisy-le-Sec (6 km - 2024). The expected opening dates indicated are
those listed by SNCF on the Tangentielle Nord web site. They may seem astonishingly far off given that the
original project back in 2000 had expected that the entire 28 km of the arc would be opened by 2016! It
would seem that constructing a new line next to the Grande Ceinture was more complex than expected
and (especially) much more costly. Some observers are not sure that the western section to Sartrouville
will ever be constructed. The issue is that due to the delays with Phase 1, a mega project which is Grand
Paris Express (GPE) has caught up and overtaken the T11 project. The GPE line 15 may be a better solution
Tram Express T12 - Massy-Paliseau - Evry-Courcouronnes
(Will be described later in the year)
Tram Express T13 - Saint-Cyr - Achères-Ville
In December 2004, a shuttle train service for passengers was started between Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Grande Ceinture (GC) and Noisy le Roi via Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche. This service was operated along the
former 'Grande Ceinture" freight route that was not in use. Altogether six stations were re-opened and
adapted to the new line with platforms rebuilt and an interchange at Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche to the
terminus of Transilien Line L to Saint Lazare. This line was designated Grande Ceinture Ouest. It is situated
in the département 78 - Yvelines and is operated by SNCF.
The problem was that the station at Saint Germain-en-Laye is situated far from the centre-ville and the
southern terminus at Noisy-le-Roi is, well, nowhere. See photo above. So the expected traffic of 10,000
passengers a day was never reached. After four years, the short line with six stops carried only 2,000
passengers a day and it is no better in 2017.
The solution was obviously to extend the line in both directions until it reached radial commuter network
lines. From 2006, a project was developed for a tram-train service that would connect the SNCF station at
St Cyr (RER C, Transilien N, U) with Saint Germain-en-Laye with a new branch from the Grande Ceinture
stop to Saint Germain Chateau where the underground terminus of RER A is located. The other branch
from St Germain GC would go to Poissy and Achères. This project was designated Tangentielle Ouest.
After a lengthy period of planning and consultation of the public, this project has been phased. Phase 1
received its Declaration of Utilité Publique in February 2014. It will concern the line from St Cyr station to
Saint Germain GC and the branch to Saint Germain Chateau. It is now designated Tram Express T13 (or
Tram 13 Express) according to sources. It will be operated by SNCF with Alstom Dualis Tram-trains identical
to those on T11.
The platforms at the intermediate stations from Noisy le Roi to Saint Germain GC will have to be lowered
for compatibility with the tram-train (after having been raised in 2003!).
Work started on the new line in Saint Germain en Laye at the end of 2016. It is expected to open in 2020.
© Peter Lovell & Graham Skinner. The SNCF Society 2017. Photos by Graham Skinner.