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Besançon’s cheap trams 12 October 2012

Posted by cooperatoby in tram.
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A forensic article in October’s Tramways and Urban Transit (soon to go online!) analyses how Besançon managed to chop €50m off the cost of its new 14.5 km tramline which will open in 2015 – an example that impressed the British government so much it turned down the Leeds scheme! A capital budget of €228m was agreed – that’s €16m/km as against the usual €20m/km in France. Here’s how the savings break down:
• avoid buying land, use narrow streets and areas that have already been renovated (saving €20m)
• cut number of substations from 12 to 7, and share low-voltage e.g. information systems with existing bus network (€8.5m)
• use short but frequent 23m trams, which can be lengthened later if needed (€300,000 each = €6m)
• avoid grass tracks – create easy-to-maintain rustic spaces around track that don’t need watering (€5m)
• simple direct project management – avoid external consultants (€5m) – also the lesson from Madrid by the way
• open-air stabling (€3-4m)
• simple trams stops like bus stops (€2m)

Metros cost much more: Madrid’s recently-opened Metrosur line cost €44m/km, while recent expansions in Paris and Berlin cost about 190m/km.

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