Modern Trams in an Historic City

Similar to Dublin’s LUAS.

A modern Alstom Citadis tram glides across cobblestone streets in Reims, France in August 2014. Lumix LX7 photo. Notice the ground-level power suppply.
A modern Alstom Citadis tram glides across cobblestone streets in Reims, France in August 2014. Lumix LX7 photo. Notice the ground-level power supply.

In August, I made a brief visit to Reims in northeastern France. This city is steeped in history and now boasts one of Europe’s newest tram networks, which opened in Spring 2011.

Reims cathedral. Lumix LX7 photo.
Reims cathedral. Lumix LX7 photo.
Trams pass in Reims. Lumix LX7 photo.
Trams pass in Reims. Lumix LX7 photo.
Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

Operated by Veolia Trandev, this system covers just 11.2 kilometers (just under seven miles). Like Dublin’s LUAS it uses modern Alstom Citadis trams. These have a distinctive styling variation with front sections designed to mimic the shape of a champagne flute—which pays homage to Reims’ role as ‘capital of the champagne region’

The trams make the same ‘bong bong’ warning sounds as they navigate city streets.

Interestingly, the relatively small tram fleet are dressed in eight different colours.

One of the most innovative elements of the Reims system is its application of a modern ground level power supply that is used through the historic city center to avoid unsightly wires.

In my few hours wandering Reims, I made just a handful of digital photos plus a couple of colour slides.

Eight different colours decorate Reims trams. Lumix LX7 photo.
Eight different colours decorate Reims trams. Lumix LX7 photo.
Vestiges of Reims original narrow gauge tram system remain. The modern system is standard gauge. Lumix LX7 photo.
Vestiges of Reims original narrow gauge tram system remain. The modern system is standard gauge. Lumix LX7 photo.
A Roman arch tells of Reims history. Augustus was here. Lumix LX7 photo.
A Roman arch tells of Reims history. Augustus was here. Lumix LX7 photo.
Near the Roman arch the trams change power supply, going from ground level to overhead wires. Lumix LX7 photo.
Near the Roman arch the trams change power supply, going from ground level to overhead wires. Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo.

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