[LU] The tram returns to Luxembourg; an update about the Luxtram project

53 years after the last tram drove from Luxembourg to the nearby village of Beggen, Luxtram is reintroducing tram services in the city of Luxembourg again from 10 December 2017.  CAF was selected to supply the trams for the Luxtram project. 

After a European tender in 2014, CAF was selected in 2015 to supply 21 trams for the Luxtram project for € 83 million. The trams are part of the CAF Urbos tram family. Other CAF Urbos trams have been delivered to Stockholm, Birmingham, Nantes, Besançon and Zaragoza.

In the Benelux several CAF Urbos trams are being delivered (Utrecht) or on order (Amsterdam, Belgian ‘Kusttram’). The first tram was delivered in January 2017 to the ‘Tramsschapp’ depot in Luxembourg.

Photo: Luxtram

The 7-car trams, numbered as series 101-121, are bi-directional vehicles with a 100% low-floor. The trams are equipped with CAF’s Greentech Freedrive technology. This is an roof mounted system that accumulates energy for catenary-free operations. They are built at CAF’s Zaragoza factory. Below is a video about the fabrication (in Luxembourgian, with French subtitles):

Technical data of the Luxembourg CAF Urbos trams:

  • length: 45,41 m
  • Width: 2,65 m
  • weight: 64 tonnes
  • voltage: 750V DC
  • maximum speed: 70 km/h
  • capacity: 422 passengers (6p/m2)
  • trailers (driven): 4 (3)
  • doors: 8 double doors at each side
  • air conditioning: 1 unit for passengers, 1 unit for driver cabine
  • further equipment like CCTV, event recorder, defibrillator, radio, ticketing and USB-connections.

Luxtram design: color and light

The design of the verhicles is a result of a cooperation between CAF, it’s external designer Eric Rhinn, artist Michel Léonardi and light designer Isabelle Corten. Eric Rhinn was also involved in the design of the CAF trams for Utrecht in the Netherlands. The exterior is silver/greyish with black. Most eye catching interior feature is the light blue headrest:

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Photo: CAF

By day, the trams adapts to the daylight with its large panaromic windows. At night, the interior lighting penetrates the colorful opaque doors and sets colorful accents outside the tram. The glass of every set of doors is covered by vinyl in a different color.

‘The delicate colors appeal to the senses and mark the doors’.

Photo: Luxtram

About the Luxtram project

Services on the new tramline will start on 10.12.017, as a 4 km line through the Kirchberg district. Trams will run between the new tram depot on the edge of the Grünewald Forest and the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge a.k.a. ‘Pont Rouge’ (Red Bridge). It’s only the first phase of the Luxtram route and only 9 trams are needed.
In the second phase we will see the tramline extend westwards across the ‘Pont Rouge’ through the Luxembourg historical center to the Luxembourg railway station and terminating in Bonnevoie. This phase will be largely catenary free (3,6 km) and should be completed between 2019 and 2020. Some works on this part of the route are already on the way. The widening and reinforcing of the Adolphe Bridge to accommodate the tram was completed in July 2017.

Diagram: Luxtram

The third and final phase takes the tram even further southwestwards to the new business district Cloche d’Or and eastwards from the tram depot to Luxembourg Airport. The tramline will grow to 24 stops along it’s 16 km full length. This phase is due to be completed in 2021.

Depot & tracks

The first phase started in September 2015 with the construction of the new ‘Tramsschapp’ tram depot. Two buildings are used for storing and maintaining the trams and a third one houses the control station of the network as well as the head office of Luxtram. The ‘Tramsschapp’ depot received the first CAF Urbos tram in January 2017

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Some key figures of the Storage and Maintenance Center:

  • able to house 32 tram trams (needed for the operation of the full 16 km Luxtram line between Cloche d’Or and Luxembourg Airport);
  • 4 km of tramway tracks;
  • 8 tracks for the storage of trams;
  • 3 service routes (washing, sandblasting and profiling tram wheels);
  • 3 elevated tracks (to get under the tram) with gangways (to work on the roof);
  • 1 test track.

In July 2016 track-laying started on the first part of the line. Most of the route is lined with grass and is a tram only zone.

The first part of the line will have 8 stops incorparating a new multi-transport hub near ‘Pont Rouge’. The names of the stops, in Luxembourg’s native language, are all linked to places, buildings, streets or squares that are nearby.

  • Luxexpo
  • Alphonse Weicker
  • Nationalbibliothéik/Bibliothèque nationale
  • Universitéit
  • Coque
  • Europaparlament/Parlement européen
  • Philharmonie-Mudam
  • Pafendall-Rout Bréck (Pfaffenthal/’Pont Rouge’)

Testing the trams started 12 July 2017 two days after the catenary overhead lines were energised. Luxtram is training staff now. It starts a period of shadow running, operating a full service under normal conditions but without passengers, in November 2017. Revenue service starts 10 December 2017.

Photo: Luxtram

During a open doors event at the ‘Tramsschapp’ depot late September 2017 one of the trams was slightly damaged as can be seen here.

Kirchberg-Pfaffenthal (Pont Rouge) railway station & funiculars

Besides the tram, the multi-transport hub integrates the new Kirchberg-Pfaffenthal (‘Pont Rouge’) railway station. As the existing railway is under the ‘Pont Rouge’ along the slope of the Pfaffenthal valley, the level difference will be negotiated by two independent funicular railways, both with two counterbalancing  verhicles. Both funicular railways need 200 m of track length to overcome the approximately 40 m level difference. It is a comfortable and quick way to move 40 m up or down. Especially for disabled people, passengers with luggage, pushchairs or bikes.  Both railway station and funicular railways, just like the tram opening 10 december 2017, can be seen in this CFL projectvideo.

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Technical data of the funicular system:

  • number of funiculars: 2 (independent)
  • funicular type: Abt, 2-rail layout with central passing section
  • service: fully automatic
  • speed (main ride): 7 m/s
  • duration ride: 63 s
  • station-stop time: 105 s
  • total capacity system (max/normal): 7200/6000 persons
  • total capacity per finicular (max/normal): 3600/3000 persons

The funicular railway cars, numbered in series 1-4, have been built by Doppelmayr-Garaventa and sport a CFL livery.


                                       Picture: Luxembourg Ministry of Durable Development and Infrastructure

Technical data of the funicular verhicles:

  • length: 11,8 m
  • width: 3,6 m
  • height (varies): 2,6 m – 4,7 m
  • weight: 18 ton
  • verhicle capacity (max/normal): 168/130 persons

A video of the moving funicular railway cars can be seen here.

Update 27.11.2017: The fire brigade was practicing on 15.11.2017