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The latest new French light rail tramway has opened in the relatively small city of Mulhouse (population about 112,000), located in the southern region of Alsace – and it's been welcomed with overwhelming enthusiasm by the public. On 13 May 2006, the tramway was "previewed" to the Mulhouse public, and on 20 May it was officially opened with a grand ceremony.
Tram runs through Mulhouse city center.
As we reported previously in our article Mulhouse: Brand-new light rail tramway starting up, the new tramway system – implemented by the Syndicat intercommunal des Transports de l'Agglomération Mulhousienne (SITRAM – intercommunal Transport Association for the Mulhouse District) – consists initially of two light rail transit (LRT) routes, totalling 12 kilometers (about 7 miles), with 24 station-stops and a fleet of 27 tramcars.
Eventually the system will be extended to 19.7 km (12.2 miles), with 38 station-stops (see map), at a total cost of €340.2 million (2001, about US $442 million); ridership is forecast to reach 87,000 per day. The cost calculates to about $22 million/km, or about $36 million/mile.
Extension of the system will be achieved in stages. In 2009, the Mulhouse-Kruth Tram-Train will be launched. Then, in 2011, the entire urban system is scheduled for completion.
At the May 13th public "launch" of the tramway, the whole city was engulfed in a
splendid festival, with free rides on the trams, and an array of festivities,
including music, dances, special entertainment, and loads of fun.
Crowds enthusiastically boarded the trains for a free chance to experience the
At the May 20th official opening, after travelling in an inaugural railcar from the Soléa depot (carbarn), French president Jacques Chirac, accompanied by Mulhouse mayor Jean-Marie Bockel and various other dignitaries, hailed the tramway project as "evidence of a dynamic city, a city where respect for enduring development goes together with determination and progress."
The LRT system, locally called the Tram-Train, is designed to serve Mulhouse urban neighborhoods as well as five other towns (Kingersheim, Wittenheim, illzach, Riedisheim, and Lutterbach). According to the latest notice from the agency, the tramway will operate from 05:00 to 23:00 daily, with headways of 6 to 8 minutes
NOTE: information for this report has been drawn in part from reports by Tram-Train de l'Agglomération Mulhousienne and the Municipality of Mulhouse.
New tram in Mulhouse pedestrian mall.
Light Rail Now! website