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TramFret: Freight trams in Paris?

filed on: 01.11.2011 (1st Nov 2011)

cargo tram in rain on escher wyss platz This newslog has reported on the various attempts to operate freight services on tram tracks. Zürich has had a cargo service since 2003 picking up household waste (see cargotram page) and Dresden has a service since 2001 supplying parts to the factory where Volkswagen builds its Phaeton cars. Attempts to introduce similar services in Vienna and Amsterdam have failed. One major difference between the failed and succesful schemes was that the succesuful schemes serve one single dedicated customer or purpose, and that the tram presented clear advantages for the customer from the outset. The schemes were not reliant on hopes of unidentified businesses jumping on board as the test phase gained momentum, but were driven by the core customers. One hopes the failed schemes will serve as lessons to others seeking to follow suite.

While on the subject of freight on tramways, one should also mention the scheme in Kyoto (of which unfortunately I know very little) as well as situations involving heavy rail freight use of light rail tracks (or vice versa) such as in Bremen, Kassel or San Diego.

The next cargo tram scheme could be in Paris. As a first step, ghost running has commenced on line 3 using a passenger set to determine whether the line's capacity can accomodate the necessary movements. It is hoped that in a later phase supermarkets can be attracted as customers. One hopes that the expectations of the scheme's promotors are based on realistic projections and that it will not follow the sad examples of Vienna and Amsterdam. The promotors explain that 90 percent of deliveries in the Paris metroplitan area are by road, and account for 25 percent of the region's greenhouse gases and 20 percent of congestion. One wonders how much of this can realistically be captured by the tram with its very incompelte coverage of the region. But on the other hand even very minor traffic flows could set an example for others to follow.

source: Eurotrams Yahoogroup, Cargotram Yahoogroup

This news item is from the 2011 newslog.

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