Bordeaux ‘catenary free’ trams

Bordeaux ‘catenary free’ trams


The City of Bordeaux was faced with mounting pressure from an apparently inexorable growth in private car usage, especially in its historic city centre. The huge costs in terms of environmental damage, congestion and inconvenience, as well as the wider challenge of creating effective links between the centre and the town’s residential and commercial areas, called for a radical restructuring of public transport provision centred around a new tram network, or Light Rapid Transport (LRT) system, with priority placed on easy and effective transfer to other transport modes including cycling and pedestrian routes.


A SYSTRA-led consortium tendered a proposal for the new tram system which was accepted by Bordeaux city council in 1996. SYSTRA then managed and directed the consortium and project managed the development of the network, including works supervision, systems engineering, development of ticketing and procurement of rolling stock, track and signalling. Phases 1 and 2 of the project were completed by 2010 with the new trams carrying more than 200,000 passengers a day, more than 60% of the total network traffic. SYSTRA have since been commissioned to lead on development of Phase 3 which is ongoing.

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