Clermont-Ferrand tramway

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Clermont-Ferrand tramway
Translohr STE4 - 143.jpg
Native nameTramway de Clermont-Ferrand
LocaleClermont-Ferrand and Aubière, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
Transit typeTranslohr
Number of lines1
Number of stations34
Daily ridership65 000
Annual ridership23,725,000
Began operation2006
Number of vehicles26[1]
System length15.7 km (9.8 mi)
Track gaugenone, central guide rail
ElectrificationOverhead wires
System map
Trace-tram-clermont avec noms.svg

The Clermont-Ferrand tramway (French: Tramway de Clermont-Ferrand) is a transit system located in the city of Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. It is a Translohr system, meaning it is guided by a single rail and powered by electricity from overhead wires.[2]

This tramway comprises just one tramline, called Line A, that serves 34 stations and runs on 15.7 kilometres (9.8 mi) of double track length.[3] However, there have been numerous plans for extension of the line, and for the system to expand to include other lines, B and C.

Clermont-Ferrand constructed its first tram system in 1890, but in 1956 the tramway was decommissioned in favor of new bus routes. The current Translohr system officially opened in 2006.[4]


First tramway (1890-1956)[edit]

Clermont-Ferrand tram in the early 1900s.

The first tramline in Clermont-Ferrand was put into service on January 7, 1890[5] by the Electric Tramway Company of Clermont Ferrand. The Clermont-Ferrand tramway distinguished itself from other systems as it was the first to use electricity in France.[6]

The first 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge tram track ran from Montferrand to Jaude. Shortly after this, an extension was opened to Royat on l'Avenue des Thermes. A total of 22 two-axle tramcars were put into service. In 1902, a section between Jaude and Place Delille, via Place Gaillard, opened. In 1913, a link to Cermont-Ferrand Train Station via Salins, and a short section between Place Gaillard et Fontgiève, were put into service.

Before the First World War, the Beaumont line was extended to Ceyrat. In 1928, a link to Aubière was created, following the route of Line 3 on Avenue Léon Blum.

At the end of the Second World War, the tram suffered many setbacks. As cars began to become more popular, the government did not focus any effort on public transportation systems, but instead on the expansion of roads and highways. The tramlines were gradually replaced by buses.

The last tram in Clermont-Ferrand ran on 17 March 1956.[7] After this, public transportation in the city was solely by bus.[5] In many places, the rails were paved over to make way for cars.

Modern tramway (2006-present)[edit]

In the 1970s, concern over the consequences of automobile use increased. In the 1983 Elections, a tramway was proposed by Socialist mayor Roger Quilliot in his re-election campaign.[8]

However, the tram project was only seriously considered starting in 1990. The development of the system was given to SOFRETU (now Systra), which proposed the building of two tramlines: one north-south line (which would eventually become Line A), and an east-west line. In 1996, tenders were offered for the rolling stock for the tramway. Alstom proposed that Alstom Citadis trams be used for the system, and Alstom Citadis trams were bought for Line A on 14 October 1996.[9] Thus, the first tramway followed SOFRETU's proposal, which corresponded to the present day Line A.

However, due to pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and industries in Clermont-Ferrand (mostly Michelin), this initial tramway project was halted.[10] A revised project was developed in 2000.

A new tender was made in 2002, and the only bidders were: Irisbus with their Civis trolleybus, Bombardier with their TVR rail transit system, and Lohr Industrie with their Translohr system. The contract was ultimately won by Lohr Industrie due to pressure from the government and from Michelin.

Following a derailment during the testing phase, the inauguration of the first section was delayed by a month, but finally opened in November 2006.[11] The rest of the line opened on 27 August 2007.[12]

The line was closed for seven weeks in 2013 to renovate many stations platforms due to their deterioration.[13]


In 2011, an extension of Line A to Vergnes was initiated. Work began in December 2011 and took almost 2 years.[14]

On 14 December 2013, the 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) extension of Line A from Champratel to Vergnes opened to the public.[15] This extension was part of the "Reorganization of Les Verges Region" program, mainly to ease access to Gabriel Montpied stadium.[16]


Currently, there are 34 stations on the Clermont-Ferrand Tramway. They are located in both Clermont-Ferrand and Aubière communes.

List of Stations[edit]

Station Name Commune Transfer
Les Vergnes Clermont-Ferrand none
Stade Gabriel Montpied Clermont-Ferrand 3 and 21
La Plaine Clermont-Ferrand 21
Champratel Clermont-Ferrand 24
Croix de Neyrat Clermont-Ferrand 21 et 24
Hauts de Chanturgue Clermont-Ferrand 21 et 24
Collège Albert Camus Clermont-Ferrand none
Les Vignes Clermont-Ferrand 3 et 31
Lycée Ambroise Brugière Clermont-Ferrand none
Les Pistes Clermont-Ferrand 33
Musée d'art Roger Quilliot Clermont-Ferrand 20, 21 et 33
Montferrand — La Fontaine Clermont-Ferrand none
Gravière Clermont-Ferrand none
Stade Marcel Michelin Clermont-Ferrand B
1er Mai Clermont-Ferrand 3 et 4
Les Carmes Clermont-Ferrand 27
Delille Montlosier Clermont-Ferrand 3, 4, 7, 12, 27, 35 et 36
Hôtel de Ville Clermont-Ferrand none
Gaillard Clermont-Ferrand 5 et 32
Jaude Clermont-Ferrand B, C, 9 et 10
Lagarlaye Clermont-Ferrand none
Maison de la Culture Clermont-Ferrand 4, 8 et 13
Universités Clermont-Ferrand 3 and Gare de la Rotonde
Saint-Jacques — Dolet Clermont-Ferrand none
CHU Gabriel Montpied Clermont-Ferrand 8
Saint-Jacques — Loucheur Clermont-Ferrand 8
Léon Blum Clermont-Ferrand none
La Chaux Aubière none
Cézeaux — Pellez Aubière none
Campus Aubière none
Margeride Aubière 13
Fontaine du Bac Clermont-Ferrand 2
Lycée Lafayette Clermont-Ferrand C et 22
La Pardieu Gare Clermont-Ferrand Gare de Clermont-La Pardieu,
9 (on Sundays and public holidays)

Rolling stock[edit]

Interior view of the tram.

The tramway of Clermont-Ferrand uses Translohr technology. The initial fleet was only 20 trains,[17] but later, six more were added. Every STE 4 model consists of 4 cars, for a length of 32 metres (105 ft).

Every train has a maximum capacity of 238 people with around 40 sitting. Six trains were priced at approximately 14 million euros.[18]


On 26 December 2009, around 7:10, a train crashed at La Pardieu station. No one was injured in the incident, but the whole train was completely destroyed.[19] According to the French Bureau of Ground Transport Accident Investigation, the direct cause of the accident is due to the blocking of a brake because of the general corrosion of its actuating pad system, which neither the design or manufacturer allowed to seal. The spread of the fire resulted from the short distance and lack of firewall between the brakes and the bellows. Also, material lower than French standards were believed to be present due to international imports.[20]

On January 10, 2011, a tram derailed between the Carmes and Celille stations, injuring one person.[21] According to a report by the French Bureau of Ground Transport Accident Investigation, the direct cause of the accident of this Translohr was the detachment of the guide rail from the wheel under the conductor's cabin.[22] This report from the bureau put the Translohr system itself into questioning. Indeed, the deterioration of the tires rollers accumulated at the guide roller, brought these rollers out of the guide rail, removing the guide, driving the vehicle against the wall. Also, the bureau underlined the number of accidents linked to the presence of certain foreign elements. The bureau demanded that Lohr Industrie replaced the parts with ones that would be less prone to deterioration.

On November 9, 2011, a train derailed because the conductor of the train ignored a signal indicating that the track was not switched properly.[23]


Tram at Place de Jaude
Tram on Avenue des Etats Unis
Portion of rail prior to installation
Tires made by Michelin used on the vehicles.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Groneck, Christoph. "Clermont-Ferrand." Trams in France. Trains in France, n.d. Web. 25 July 2014.
  2. ^ "New Translohr." System Comparison. NEWLT, n.d. Web. 25 July 2014.
  3. ^ "T2C." T2C. T2C, n.d. Web. 25 July 2014. <>.
  4. ^ "T2c". Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b Site officiel Clermont Ferrand, Le premier tramway électrique lire en ligne (consulté le 10 mai 2010)
  6. ^ Louis Figuier, Émile Gautier, L'Année scientifique et industrielle, volume 34, L. Hachette et cie., 1891, p. 135 : "C'est à Clermont-Ferrand qu'a été installé le premier tramway électrique inauguré en France"
  7. ^ AMTUIR
  8. ^ L. Addario, op. cit., p. 24
  9. ^ "addario-p26"
  10. ^ Louis Virgoulay, interview accordée au magazine Ville et Transport, supplément spécial Clermont Octobre 2006, pV
  11. ^ Inauguration mais mise en service retardée pour le Translohr de Clermont-Ferrand sur
  12. ^ Article daté du 25/05/2007 consultable ici
  13. ^ « Retour du tram ce lundi, les Clermontois heureux », article de La Montagne du 26 août 2013, consulté le 29 décembre 2013.
  14. ^ Information à découvrir sur nouveau site du SMTC Clermontois
  15. ^ « L’extension du tram vers le nord de l’agglomération clermontoise inaugurée hier matin », article de La Montagne du 15 décembre 2013, consulté le 29 décembre 2013.
  16. ^ « Le tramway arrive aux Vergnes » Archived 2013-12-14 at, article sur le site officiel de l'exploitant, consulté le 29 décembre 2013.
  17. ^ SYLVIE JOLIVET (17 December 2011). "Le tramway sur pneus Translohr roulera à Clermont-Ferrand en 2005". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  18. ^ SYLVIE JOLIVET (28 August 2007). "Clermont-Ferrand va allonger sa ligne de tramway". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Incident pour le Translohr Archived 2011-02-22 at the Wayback Machine. sur
  22. ^ Rapport du BEA-TT:
  23. ^ Déraillement du tramway ce matin : importants dégâts à la motrice,

External links[edit]