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Grenoble, France

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title_world_fr_grenoble.jpg

Grenoble Citadis Type 402 no. 6024/2026 at Gares on Line B. Photo by Thierry Leleu, May 2007.

Overview

Grenoble sits at the base of the Alps in southeast France, and is surrounded by mountains on three sides. It is an important scientific and cultural city, and currently has about 158,000 residents. It is a major center for winter sports, and hosted the Winter Olympics in 1968. Grenoble was first served by trams beginning on January 28, 1893 and also boasted a small local electric freight service, unusual for France. Trams ran their last on October 1, 1952, but the electric freight service continued to 1964.

A push by the Société Grenoblise des Tramways Electriques (SGTE) beginning in 1971 to institute a new tramway system culminated with voter approval in 1983, and the first line -- Line A -- began service on September 5, 1987, with the first order of the then-revolutionary Alstom TFS (Transport Français Standard) 75% low-floor trams in France. A crowd of over 100,000 cheered the return of the trams! Following Nantes, Grenoble was the second city in France to re-introduce trams to its residents. A second tram route, Line B, started service in November 1990. There have been some extensions over the years, and the fleet of TFS cars now stands at 53 units. The current system is run by SEMITAG, or TAG for short (Transports de l'Agglomeration Grenoblise).

Construction of Lines C and D began in late 2004 and these are expected to open in 2007. New Citadis 100% low-floor streetcars have been ordered for this service.

Station By Station

Line A runs from Fontaine La Poya in west Grenoble, with the terminal situated at the base of a mountain. From here to Louis Maisonnat, the line serves several neighborhoods of one-family houses and small businesses, using reservation. At Louis Maisonnat, the line curves left and now serves more built-up communities with multi-story apartment buildings. Some street running is encountered now; the trams cross the River Drac on a short arch bridge and then re-commence street running at Berriat. Line B joins Line A at Saint-Bruno, following which the tracks dive under the railway and emerge at Gares, by the main railway station. Here, the trams now make a U-turn to the right and enter Rue Alsace Lorraine, and from this point it's a pedestrian mall through Centre-Ville--trams and "pietons" only, with plenty of restaurants, sidewalk cafés, boutiques and open-air markets to whet everyone's appetite. Stations are located at Alsace Lorraine and Victor Hugo, and the trams pass historic St. Louis Cathedral before reaching Hubert Dubodout Station. About 200 meters further east, the routes separate and Line A turns south and runs around historic Place Verdun, where there are many fine museums and other cultural attractions. Now Line A will head southward along Avenue Martin Berthelot, in reservation, until it reaches Grand Place, a major transfer center. Here, the line does a complete change of direction, first turning east, south again and west to Maison des Anciens before curving south one last time enroute to Denis Papin. The tram depot is located just beyond Les Granges Station.

Line B, which was extended west to Cité International from Gares in 2000, follows Line A through town, but after Hubert Dubodout, it will turn northward and travel along Ave. Mariche Randon, basically along the south bank of the L'Isère as far as Tronche L'Hôpital, whose station is actually located on the bridge. Briefly, the line serves Grand Sablon before re-crossing the L'Isère and running southeast, ultimately ending at Universités, its terminal in 2002. Line B has since been extended further to Plaine des Sports in the suburb of Gières. A new carbarn in Gières, which will serve Line B as well as new tram routes C and D, opened on May 21, 2006 in conjunction with the startup of Line C.

Both routes are quite scenic, with great varieties of operating characteristics. The fact that the city is surrounded by mountains merely adds to the vista.

Crosstown Line C, a 9.6km crosstowm route from the Universités to Seyssins-Le Prisme, opened for service on May 21, 2006. It runs in the median strip of several major boulevards and the western portion is flanked by many high-rise apartment buildings It connects with Line B at Hector Berlioz Station and Line A at Chavant Station.

The very short (2.5-km) Line D, which runs from Les Tailles-Universités (Line B) Station south to St. Martin-d'Hères, opened on October 6, 2007. An extension of Line B from Cité Internationale northwest to the suburb of Moirans is projected to open in 2009.

Service and Fares

Like virtually every other French city, Grenoble operates on a proof-of-payment system. Individual tickets are EUR1.20, good for about 1.5 hours. A day pass is EUR3.50, Tickets, schedules and maps are available at the TAG kiosk right outside the railway station at Place Gares, and the friendly, multi-lingual staff is eager to help you. How convenient is that?

Trams run every day from about 5:00am to after midnight. Frequency is every 5-9 minutes on each line, regardless of whether it's a weekday, Saturday or Sunday.

Grenoble is about an hour by train from Lyon, with much TGV service, some of it direct from Paris, serving this beautiful city. Its handsome, well-kept trams are an asset to the city.

Photo Gallery


Image 61509
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Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Gabriel Fauré (B/C)

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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Place St. Louis (A/B)

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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Gares (A/B)

Image 62976
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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Hector Berlioz Universités (C)

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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich

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Photo by: Thierry Leleu
Location: Gares (A/B)

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Photo by: Thierry Leleu
Location: Cité Internationale (B)

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Photo by: Thierry Leleu
Location: Gares (A/B)

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Photo by: Thierry Leleu
Location: Victor Hugo (A/B)

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Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Hubert Dubedout/Maison du Tourisme (A/B)

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Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Victor Hugo (A/B)

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Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Gares (A/B)

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Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Essarts-La Butte (A)

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Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Gabriel Péri (A)

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Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Hôtel de Ville de Fontaine (A)

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Photos By Location

Fontaine La Poya (A), Charles Michels (A), Hôtel de Ville de Fontaine (A), Louis Maisonnat (A), Gabriel Péri (A), Pont du Drac (A), Berriat-Le Magasin (A), Saint Bruno (A/B), Gares (A/B), Blvd. Generale De Gaulle (A/B), Alsace-Lorraine (A/B), Blvd. Gambetta (A/B), Victor Hugo (A/B), Place St. Louis (A/B), Hubert Dubedout/Maison du Tourisme (A/B), Les Halles Junction (A/B), Verdun Préfecture (A), Chavant (A/C), Albert Ier de Belgique (A), Mounier (A), MC2-Maison de la Culture (A), Malherbe (A), La Bruyère (A), Arlequin (A), Grand Place (A), Pôle Sud/Alpexpo (A), Les Granges (A), Surieux (A), Essarts-La Butte (A), Échirolles Gare (A), La Rampe-Centre Ville (A), Marie Curie (A), Auguste Delaune (A), Echirolles-Denis Papin (A), Cité Internationale (B), Palais de Justice (B), Sainte Claire/Les Halles (B), Notre-Dame/Musée (B), L'Île Verte (B), La Tronche Hôpital (B), Hôpital Michallon (B), Grand Sablon (B), Pont L'Isère (B), Les Taillées/Universités (B), Gabriel Fauré (B/C), Bibliothèques Universitaires (B/C), Condillac Universités (B/C), Mayencin-Champ Roman (B), Gare de Gières Universités (B), Plaine des Sports (B), Seyssins-Le Prisme (C), Mas des Îles (C), Le Grand Pré (C), Fauconnière (C), Seyssinet-Pariset/Hôtel de Ville (C), Vallier-Catane (C), Vallier-Dr. Calmette (C), Vallier-Jaurès (C), Foch-Ferrié (C), Gustave Rivet (C), Grenoble Hôtel de Ville (C), Flandrin Valmy (C), Péri-Brossolette (C), Neyrpic-Belledonne (C), Hector Berlioz Universités (C)

Links

Official Site - Transports de l'agglomération grenobloise (SEMITAG)

Page Credits

By Peter Ehrlich.









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