Bordeaux tram

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Bordeaux tram
Basic information
Country France
city Bordeaux
opening December 21, 2003
operator TBC
Route length 77.3 km
Gauge 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Power system 750 V DC overhead line
and APS busbar
Stops 142
Lines 4th
Clock in the peak hours 4 min
Cruising speed 21 km / h
vehicles 118 Alstom Citadis 402
and 12 Citadis 302
Top speed 70 km / h
Passengers 350,000 per day
Network plan

The tram Bordeaux ( French: Tramway de Bordeaux ) has been offering a transport system since 2003 that had already existed in the southwestern French city until 1958. Today it is the most important means of public transport in this city and is considered to be one of the most technically advanced trams in the world due to its partially overhead line- free design. The operating company is Tram et Bus de la Communauté Urbaine de Bordeaux , or TBC for short . Around 80 million passengers are carried every year (as of 2016)


The first tram

Tram on the Place de la Comédie, around 1900

The history of the tram in the city dates back to 1880. On May 4th of this year, the first horse-drawn tram line opened in Bordeaux . By 1891, the network of these lines grew to 39 kilometers. Added to this were from December 17, 1893, when the Société du tramway de Bordeaux au Bouscat et Vigean started operating. In the following years numerous private suburban railways were added. In contrast to the standard-gauge trams in the city center, the suburban railways ran on meter -gauge tracks . Since these trains ended before the city center, passengers were usually forced to change trains.

The success of the electric suburban railways led to the idea of ​​electrifying the railways in the city center as well. Since the overhead lines would impair the cityscape, the idea of ​​the underline was taken up. On February 17, 1900, a two-kilometer test track went into operation. Despite a number of difficulties due to the technical immaturity of the system, the railway held up into the 1950s.

In the 1920s, the two tram networks began to be aligned and bundled under the umbrella of Tramways Électriques et Omnibus de Bordeaux (TEOB). By 1939, all suburban railways had been converted to standard gauge and a 38-line network with a length of more than 200 kilometers. 25 lines ran in the city and 13 to the suburbs. By 1946 the number of passengers could be increased to 160 million. However, this led to severe wear and tear on the wagons, tracks and overhead lines.

In 1947, with the election of Jacques Chaban-Delmas as mayor, there was a radical change in the city's transport policy. Immediately after his election, he began to systematically shut down the trams in Bordeaux. In 1952 the business of TEOB was transferred to the Compagnie générale française de transport et d'entreprise (CGFTE). The last tram line was closed on December 7, 1958. This downsizing went hand in hand with massive job cuts. Of the 2500 remaining employees in 1950, only 1200 were in service at this time.

Tramless time

In 1968, the communal association Communauté urbaine de Bordeaux (since 2015: Bordeaux Métropole ) was founded, to which the city of Bordeaux and its suburbs belong and which operates the public transport. In 1975 the French state began to promote local rail transport due to the increasing problems in urban traffic in large cities. Introduction was also considered in Bordeaux. However, the construction of a meter-gauge metro based on the model of the Métro Lille was planned , since Chaban-Delmas did not want to introduce a light rail in Bordeaux after he had freed the city from the tram. On March 22, 1991 , with the Socialists abstaining , the Communauté urbaine decided by 60:17 to build a Métro of the Véhicule automatique léger (VAL) system. But the sandy subsoil thwarted these plans. In order to get the problems under control, articulated buses were initially introduced, but this only led to an improvement in the situation for a short time.

The new tram

In 1995 Chaban-Delmas resigned and Alain Juppé was his successor. With it came a change of direction in transport policy. On February 18, 1997, the municipal association decided to introduce a tram in and around Bordeaux. On January 26, 2000, the public benefit of the measure was confirmed and construction could begin. The construction of the network was delayed due to problems with the award of the construction project.

The first line was opened on December 21, 2003, with the section of Line A from Mériadeck to Lormont. The remaining sections of the first construction phase were opened to traffic by July 2004, with a route length of 24.5 km and 53 stations. At the same time, the entire bus network was restructured and aligned with the tram. The costs of the first expansion phase amounted to 638 million euros.

In phase two between 2004 and 2008, the network was expanded to 43.9 km and 90 stops. 436 million euros were budgeted for this.

Electric power supply

Busbar, an insulated section at the bottom left

In order not to disturb the cityscape of Bordeaux, the tram runs in the city center and in some suburbs without overhead lines. A total of 10,850 meters are equipped with the newly developed Alimentation Par Sol (APS) system. In this system, there is a busbar between the two rails that can carry 750 volts DC . The power rail is divided into individual sections. Each section consists of an 8-meter-long live rail and a 3-meter-long insulated section.

In the outer areas of Bordeaux the tram runs conventionally with overhead lines and pantographs . Switching to the other operating mode takes place during the stay in a station and is initiated by the driver. The process takes 20 seconds and does not extend the normal time spent in the ward. The manufacturer Alstom would have been able to design the system in such a way that switching between overhead contact line and APS takes place automatically and at full speed. For reasons of cost, this was not done and the task was given to the driver. If the driver forgets to switch, he is warned by a signal tone as soon as he tries to drive into the station.

The APS system is considered to be extremely innovative, but had to contend with massive teething problems. Operational disruptions were the order of the day in the initial phase and often required a replacement bus service, which led to additional costs of 500,000 euros per year. In the meantime, the system has achieved a satisfactory operational reliability, although occasional malfunctions still occur. The main cause is electrical defects caused by standing water after heavy rainfall. As a result, the system was initially heavily criticized by Bordeaux residents and the local press. The APS underground system is around three times more expensive to set up than a conventional overhead contact line and causes significantly higher maintenance and operating costs. The system also increases the price of each tram set by around 100,000 euros. However, those responsible for the project in Bordeaux point out that the tram costs only a quarter of what a subway would have cost.


A Citadis 402 on line B at Victoire station

Like most French trams, the Bordeaux tram also uses low-floor vehicles from the Citadis family from Alstom . These vehicles are in use in Bordeaux in two different lengths and have a design adapted to the operation.

Citadis 402 type

The Citadis 402 is mainly used on lines A and B, but they are also used on the less frequented line C. These vehicles are 43.989 meters long, 2.4 meters wide and weigh 54.9 tonnes when empty. They drive on the control track (1435 mm) and with an operating voltage of 750 volts DC . The maximum speed is 60 km / h, normal acceleration from a standstill 1.15 m / s², braking deceleration in the event of emergency braking 2.85 m / s². The cars have 90 seats. With a normal load (4 passengers per m²) 230 passengers can be carried, with a tight load (6 passengers per m²) up to 345 passengers.

88 vehicles of this type have been in operation since the route was extended in December 2016. They have the numbers 1301 to 1326, 2201 to 2232, 2301 to 2306, 2501 to 2520 and 2801 to 2804 and were delivered in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2013. The second digit of the vehicle number indicates the year of the order.

A Citadis 302 on the Place de la Bourse

Type Citadis 302

The Citadis 302 model is mainly used on the less frequented line C. These vehicles have similar technical data, but are only 32.85 meters long and weigh 41.3 tons. They have 64 seats and can carry up to 255 passengers. Since the end of the second construction phase, 12 vehicles of this model have been in use. They have the numbers 2241–2246 and 2541–2546 and were adopted by the manufacturer in 2002 and 2008, respectively.

Due to the special features of the APS system, the route network cannot be used by shorter vehicles. The live sections must always be completely covered by a tram. To do this, the vehicles must be at least 33 meters long.

Orders 2016

In order to be able to use enough vehicles for the planned new routes, another ten Citadis series 403 trains were ordered from Alstom. This brings the number of Citadis trains to a total of 115. They are to be used on the Quinconces - Eysines (line D) and Ravezies - Blanquefort (Tram-Train du Médoc) routes.


The tram runs in the entire network on its own track, which may not be used by other vehicles, not even by buses or taxis. In large parts of the city, the track structure is covered with grass ( voies engazonnés , turf track ) and thus makes a positive contribution to the cityscape. In curves, the flanks of the rails are automatically lubricated so that squeaking noises from the trams are avoided. The maximum operating noise of the tram is 74 dB.

The APS track system is designed for a maximum speed of 70 km / h. In practice, the maximum speed is limited by traffic signs; it is currently a maximum of 55 km / h. During normal operation, the vehicles activate all traffic lights and thus get from one station to the next without stopping. This makes the Bordelais tram an extremely fast means of transport. The average speed (including the station stops) is 21 km / h, which is the highest value in France.

Trains run from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. The intervals are 4 minutes during rush hour, otherwise 8 minutes. In the actual city of Bordeaux - that is the core area of ​​the metropolis with 230,000 inhabitants - 37% of all residents have a tram station less than 500 meters away, 50% of all jobs and 65% of all schools and universities.

The price for a single trip is 1.60 euros. A card for 10 trips costs 12.90 euros, a card for 7 days costs 13.40 euros, a monthly ticket 47.20 euros and an annual ticket 475.20 euros. There are reduced tariffs for numerous groups of people. The cards can be purchased from a machine in every station.

The trend in passenger numbers is very positive: 62 million passengers were carried in 2010, 66.5 million in 2011 and 80 million in 2016.


A Citadis 402 on line C on its exit to Porte de Bourgogne on the route of line A over the Pont de Pierre

Line A

Route sketch of line A
A Citadis 402 on Line A on the Place de Stalingrad

The line A ( "purple line") is the longest of the three lines. It leads from the western suburb of Mérignac to the city center, crossing the newly built Mériadeck business district. At the Hôtel de Ville station, right next to the Saint-André cathedral , it meets and crosses line B. At the Porte de Bourgogne station, it meets line C, then it crosses the Garonne over the Pont de Pierre towards Buttinière. There it branches out, one stretch leads north to the municipalities of Lormont and Carbon-Blanc , a second stretch leads south via Cenon to Floirac . The total route length is 20.6 km with 41 stations and an average station spacing of 447 meters. The transport capacity is 4,500 passengers per hour, in 2008 22.3 million passengers were transported.

Line A was first opened on December 21, 2003 between Mériadeck and Lauriers or La Marègue. The first extension led from Mériadeck west to the Saint-Augustin stop, which went into operation on September 26, 2005. In 2007, extensions to Floirac Dravemont (February 27th) and Mérignac Center (June 21st) followed. On May 31, 2008, the extension on the north branch followed, which now leads to La Gardette Bassens Carbon-Blanc. Since September 2010 there has been another connection to the railroad: The SNCF station Mérignac-Arlac was opened in the immediate vicinity of the Fontaine d'Arlac stop on the Bordeaux ring line. On January 24, 2015, the western route beyond Mérignac-Center was extended by another five stations and 3.6 km. The new terminus is Le Haillan Rostand, which is on the city limits between Mérignac and Le Haillan. The plans envisaged that the majority of the five new stops would be double-tracked: only the line from the penultimate stop, Les Pins, was to be single-track.

Line A appears very oversized in the east of the city. Since an efficient bridge over the Garonne has only been available since the beginning of the 19th century (the Pont de Pierre), the districts east of the Garonne have lagged behind in development, Bordeaux has mainly expanded to the west and south. The city administration is now trying to promote the districts on the other side of the Garonne with an efficient transport system.

Line B

Route sketch of line B
Line B on the Place des Quinconces

The line B ( "red line") leading from near the south-western suburb of Pessac to downtown. It serves the university district in Pessac and Talence , in which the universities of Bordeaux I , Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux III and Montesquieu Bordeaux IV are located. At the Hôtel de Ville, it crosses line A, continues past the Grand Théâtre and over Place des Quinconces - where it crosses line C - to the left bank of the Garonne, which it follows to the terminal at Claveau.

Line B opened on May 15, 2004 between Saint-Nicolas and Quinconces. On July 3, 2004, it was then extended to the Bougnard stop in Pessac, the short distance to the station followed in the second construction phase on May 29, 2007. From July 23, 2007 to Bassins à Flot, since October 20, 2008 finally reached the terminus of Claveau.

On June 21, 2014, the line was extended by one station from Claveau to the new terminus at Berges de Garonne. The 750 m long route is single-track.

On June 22, 2015, the branch line from Bougnard to France Alouette went into operation. It comprises 3.5 km of route and 5 stations.

The route length is 19.5 km with 37 stops. The transport capacity in the rush hour is 4500 passengers per hour, in 2008 20.7 million passengers were carried.

Line C

Route sketch of line C
Line C at the Place de la Bourse stop
Line C at Quinconces

The line C ( "pink line") leads from the southern suburb of Begles first to the main railway station of the city, Saint-Jean and then along the Garonne to the Porte de Bourgogne, where it crosses the line A. From there it continues along the quay, the tram also crosses the Place de la Bourse. In order not to disturb the cityscape, not only are there no overhead lines, but the design of the stops is also minimalist (only platform and benches). We continue to Place des Quinconces, where line B crosses. Here the route leaves the Garonne shore and heads north to Lake Le Lac in the Bruges district .

The line opened on April 24, 2004 between Saint-Jean station and Quinconces. To the north, the extension took place in several stages, from November 19, 2007 to Grand Parc and on February 27, 2008 to the Les Aubiers stop. In the south, on the same day, the line from Saint-Jean station to Bègles was extended to the Terres Neuve stop. The other extensions were again in a northerly direction: on February 1, by 700 m to Berges du Lac and on January 24, 2015, a 2.7 km long stretch to Parc des Expositions was put into operation. Since December 17, 2016, trams have been running on the so-called Tram-Train du Médoc, a branch line of Line C with a length of 7.2 km, which branches off the main route to the Parc des Expositions in Cracovie and leads to Blanquefort station.

The route length in 2011 was 8.1 km with 17 stops. Today (as of the beginning of 2017) there are 33 stops, which are distributed along the 19.4 km long line.

During rush hour, the transport capacity is only 3000 passengers per hour, since the shorter Citadis 302 vehicles are primarily used here. In some cases, however, the longer Citadis 402s can also be found, and a complete conversion to the Citadis 402 would be possible at any time if necessary. In 2008 a total of 11.6 million passengers were carried.

Line D

Route sketch for line D from March 2020

The first section of Line D was opened on December 14, 2019.

The first construction phase

It runs from Carle Vernet south of the Saint-Jean train station to the Quinconces stop. This route is also used by line C. In Quinconces it branches off in a north-westerly direction and reaches the temporary terminal Mairie du Bouscat in the municipality of Le Bouscat via a new 3.5 km long route with 5 intermediate stops . From Quinconces , the route runs along the Cours Tournon, crosses Place Tourny and then follows Rue Fondaudège. The first stop, Fondaudège Museum, is near the Natural History Museum. The nearest stop, Croix de Seguey , is near the Saint-Ferdinand church. At the Barrière du Médoc stop, the route crosses the boulevards (ring road). The municipality of Le Bouscat is reached along the Avenue de la Liberation Charles de Gaulle. The business center along the street is accessed by the Barrière du Médoc and Courbet stops , from the latter the Parc Bordelais , the largest park in Bordeaux, can also be reached in a short walk. The route now crosses the suburbs of Le Buscat, which can be reached with the Calypso stop . It first ended at the bus stop in the city center of Le Buscat, from where the Sainte-Clothilde church, the town hall and the Parc de la Chêneraie with the Castel d'Andorte can be reached in less than 500 meters.

The second construction phase

On February 29, 2020, the extension of the line from what was then the northern terminus Mairie du Bouscat to the Cantinolle stop and with eight intermediate stops was opened for regular traffic. The new tram line now crosses the route of the former standard-gauge railway line from Bordeaux to Lacanau-Océan between its penultimate stop Les Sources and the final stop , which is now almost its entire length as a cycle path.

Planned extension

The original plan was to use this route to run the tram line to Saint-Médard-en-Jalles, around four kilometers away . After protests by residents and neighboring communities, it was agreed in 2018 to connect the connection to Saint-Médard via Le Taillan-Médoc and thus to drive north to Saint-Médard. Within Saint-Médard, most of the new tram route will then be routed on the old railway route. The final stop is then Carré des Jalles at the large cultural building of the same name and thus not to the former and still preserved Saint-Médard train station. An opening of this last section of the route is not planned before 2024.

There and on to Saint-Aubin-de-Médoc , the new planned express bus line with electric buses on largely separate lanes (BHNS) from the Bordeaux-Saint-Jean train station is to lead. The opening was originally planned for 2020, but has been delayed due to local residents' protests. In 2017, the idea was brought into play to extend the tram to Lacanau-Océan due to the surfing competitions of the 2024 Olympics in Lacanau. The route should follow the former railway line, but take the direct route along the D6 between Sainte-Hélène and Lacanau instead of via Saumos as before .


The network currently has two depots. The La Bastide depot is located along line A east of the Garonne between the Thiers Benauge and Galin stops. In 2008, the Achard depot was opened on Line B, located on the western bank of the Garonne between the Rue Achard and New York stops. A third depot is to be built in phase three at the northern end of line C.

All lines are connected to one another via company tracks. Furthermore, bus routes have been set for all lines for any rail replacement traffic that may be necessary.


After construction phase II, which extends the tram lines by a total of 20 km with 28 stations and eight park-and-ride systems , was completed at the end of 2008, preparations began for a third phase.

In total, phase III comprises almost 33 km of new tram lines and 7 km of tram-train. The investments for this amount to 582 million euros; the goal is to transport 200 million passengers in 2020. In this expansion phase, a number of new points were decided in order to reduce the construction costs: Larger station distances, single-track routes and ballast superstructure are some of the measures.

Phase III includes the following projects:

Extension of lines B and C

  • Line B was extended by one station in the north from the previous terminal point at Claveau. This extension went into operation in 2014.
  • In the north, line C was extended by 3.4 km from the previous Les Aubiers terminus to the Parc des Exposition. Here, too, part of the route will be single-track, with a total of four new stations. The first new station, Berges du lac, opened in February 2014, the three others went online in January 2015. This extension will be followed by a depot for at least twenty vehicles.
  • Line C was also extended in the south. The 3.7 km long extension was built in the urban area of Bègles , which adjoins Bordeaux to the south. This extension includes seven new stops, including one at the Bègles SNCF train station, and went into operation in 2015. A further 1.4 km to the end point of Villenave d'Ornon followed until 2019.

In the course of Phase III, some butt tracks were built into the existing network to enable short tours.

Creation of line D

In addition to the extensions of the existing lines, a fourth line is to be created (see topicality in section Line D). This line D will run from the Place des Quinconces (currently a transfer station between lines B and C) in a north-westerly direction to Le Haillan and will be almost 10 km long and will also open up the places Le Bouscat and Eysines . The completion of the entire line with its 16 stops, including two with P + R parking spaces , is planned for 2020.

For phase III, a further 26 Citadis in the longer version were ordered from Alstom; delivery began in March 2013. There are also options for up to 30 additional vehicles.

Tram train

A tram-train service has been introduced on the Ligne du Médoc SNCF route , which runs from Bordeaux to Le Verdon-sur-Mer . The line branches off from line C near the Cracovie stop in Bordeaux and runs via Bruges on a 7.2 km long route to Blanquefort station . The route has been in operation since December 2016. From the three branches of line C, the TGV station Bordeaux can be reached without changing.

Initially, an additional track was only laid next to an existing SNCF line that is only used by trams. So, first of all, trains run on a single-track route, and at the same time the tram also runs on a single-track route. A real tram-train operation, i.e. with railway trains and trams on the same track, is only planned for later. The commissioning, initially planned for 2014, could only be carried out at the end of 2016, because in 2014 the responsible administrative court declared the planning requirements to be inadmissible - when 70% of the construction work had already been completed. In an appeal hearing in 2015, the judgment of the first instance was overturned.

See also


Web links

Commons : Bordeaux Tram  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. Dans les coulisses du Tram de Bordeaux - France 3 Aquitaine . In: France 3 Aquitaine . ( [accessed January 25, 2017]).
  2. Bordeaux: Le VAL a l'arraché in: La Vie du Rail 2288/1991, p. 18 f.
  3. Bordeaux: 10 Citadis de plus , canalblog Transporturbain (French) from January 11, 2016, accessed on January 17, 2016
  4. Fares. Retrieved September 19, 2017 (English).
  5. Dans les coulisses du Tram de Bordeaux - France 3 Aquitaine . In: France 3 Aquitaine . ( [accessed January 25, 2017]).
  6. a b Communauté urbaine de Bordeaux - Chiffres ( Memento of the original from February 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. Christine Cabiron: A Bordeaux, le tramway franchit la rocade. January 23, 2015, accessed January 12, 2016 .
  8. Archived copy ( memento of the original from September 12, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. Railway Gazette of March 3, 2020 (English), accessed on March 5, 2020
  10. Communauté urbaine de Bordeaux - 3eme phase du Tramway ( Memento of the original from July 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. Phase three on an overview plan  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 198 kB)@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  12. Bordeaux: le tramway arrive désormais au coeur de l'éco-quartier Ginko , France Bleu, February 3, 2014, accessed on October 8, 2014
  13. ^ Electrification contract for Bordeaux tram-train project , Railway Gazette, accessed on May 18, 2013.
  14. Bordeaux: la ligne D et le tram-train à nouveau sur les rails , Mobilicités (French) of August 21, 2015, accessed on January 17, 2016