The French City of Clermont-Ferrand received in December its first Translohr tramway that should enter in service end 2006.
This tramway combines road technology and rail technology. On the one hand, it is equipped with tyres that provide high performances in terms of acceleration and braking, noise, and climbing (up to 13%).
On the other hand, the vehicle is guided by a central rail sunk into the ground on which a very light load is exerted. The visual impact of this rail is then limited. The vehicle has a narrow width of 2.20 metres and allows curves with a radius of 10.50 metres.
Three lengths are available from 25 metres (STE3) to 39 metres (STE5). The 14 kilometres line will need 20 STE4 vehicles (32 metres long) for a total cost of €44 million. The total cost including the transport system amounts to €115 million while overall cost of the project including urban developments amounts to €290 million.
Clermont-Ferrand is the fourth city having chosen this technology, after the Italian cities of Venice, Padova and l’Aquila. However, no commercial service has been launched yet. Translohr has also signed a contract with Tianjin (China) and wants to promote this technology in Asia by building a training site in Osaka.