Posts Tagged ‘tram’

Lutomiersk on a Sunday evening

Monday, 7 June 2010

Tramwaje Podmiejskie articulated car waits in pl. Zwyciestwa, Lutomiersk on a quiet Sunday evening, 6.6.2010. Photo BTWT.

The 43 tram service from Lodz to the sleepy town of Lutomersk is not Lodz’s longest tram route, but is undoubtedly the most attractive. It starts from a loop in Lodz’s western suburb, Stocki; runs along a  pleasant single line section on its own right of way along a park; plunges through the centre of Lodz, running mostly in the street, then on its own right of way again; plunges under the Lodz – Kutno railway line and passes Lodz Zoo. Up to this point, service 43 – run by Tramwaje Podmieskie, literally ‘Suburban Tramways’ – shares the tracks of Lodz’s municipal tram company, MPK. But once past Zdrowie, the tram runs along 14 km of rickety Tramwaje Podmieskie own tracks.

This section of line, which like the rest of Lodz’s tramlines is metre gauge, reminds me of the narrow gauge gauge railway which once ran next to a road  from Warsaw’s Wilanów to Piaseczno. The narrow gauge atmosphere is briefly suspended as the single line veers into the centre of a street in order to pass through Konstantynow. However, after a kilometre or so it reverts to its customary place next to the road.

The girder bridge at Lutomiersk before WW II.
Photo Tramwaje Podmiejskie.

The arrival at Lutomiersk is a worthy climax – on the outskirts of the town, the main road turns sharp left, but the tram follows a minor road sharp right. Then the line does a 90 degree turn to the left, leaves the road altogether and takes off across a field. A fine bow girder bridge takes the line across a sizeable river. A short road is reached. About here Google maps satellite view shows what appears to be a former dedicated route and the site of a former station just to the east of town square. Regardless of the truth of this hypothesis, these days the tram finishes its journey by looping the town square.

If you like exploring obscure rural tram lines, then a ride on tram 43 is highly recommended!

Lutomiersk. Satellite view Google Maps.

(The map can be zoomed and panned to follow the tram line.)

More:

French tram renaissance

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Mulhouse trams June 2007, Video Dave Spencer, PMP Transport Films

(trailer for PMP DVD 1512 – www.pmpvideo.com)

SPIEGEL ONLINE has just published a very positive assessment of the tram revival that is taking place in France. Here is just a taster.

Trams are enjoying a comeback in France. From Nantes to Marseille, city planners are building new, high-tech streetcar lines as central elements in urban redevelopment. And they haven’t forgotten any of the French flair the world has come to love.

It’s bright yellow with black stripes—like some kind of futuristic tiger on rails—and it runs through Mulhouse at eight-minute intervals like a streak of light. This city in France’s Alsace region was once a leader in the industrial revolution, but it is now visibly struggling with structural change. The new tram system has brought it fresh pride and and a new sense of self-confidence.

To make way for the new network, which will connect five neighbouring municipalities, streets, pavements and bike paths had to be thoroughly overhauled. Now trees have been planted, and the strips of land on which the tracks run have been given fresh green turf. When the city was awarding contracts for the two tramlines, they went looking for artistic flair—on the rails themselves, though, rather than in the stations.”Residents had a say in all the projects,” says Deputy Mayor, Samuel-Weis. “They helped decide on the shape of the trams’ driver cabins and voted on color choices. The project was popular even before the first tram left the station.”

Its launch has been a tremendous success in the city. Many residents now consider riding the tram cool and comfortable. “It’s punctual, practical and safe,” a young mother says, extolling the new system’s virtues. Citing examples like station platforms that come up to the height of the tram doors, she says that it’s great for people with children. “Got a baby carriage?” the mother asks. “No problem! It’s not like the nightmare at bus stops and subway stations.”

The French are hoping the renaissance of the tram will serve as an antidote to traffic jams and gridlock—and not just in Mulhouse. In almost two dozen French cities, trams have become the hallmark of urban transformation. Nantes and Grenoble were the first cities to bring back what many had long considered to be an outmoded form of transportation. Since then, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Marseille and even the southern part of Paris have also welcomed back urban rail lines. Lille and Lyon are looking into the idea; Caen, Brest, Nancy, and Toulon are in the planning stages. Throughout France, the network of tracks is set to grow to 576 kilometers (358 miles) by 2015.

Click here for the complete SPIGIEL ONLINE article. Highly recommended!

Note that trams have been reintroduced in almost two dozen French cities! In the UK, the Government has throttled back demand for tram systems from cities like Bristol, Leeds and Portsmouth and there are only half a dozen tram systems operating in the UK.

Current UK tram systems (by date of opening)

  1. Blackpool (1885) 11 miles (18km)
  2. Manchester Metrolink (1992) 23 miles (37 km)
  3. Sheffield Supertram (1994) 18 miles (29 km)
  4. Midland Metro (1999) 13 miles (20 km)
  5. Croydon Tramlink (2000) 18.5 miles (30 km)
  6. Nottingham Express Transit (2004) 9 miles (14 km)

Total 92.5 miles (149 km)