#Tramways and #Google Alerts

A friend once suggested that Google alerts was a convenient way to stay abreast of developments in fields of particular interest.  He was right, but I’ve not really taken advantage of this as a source of material for blog posts. With an enduring interest in tramways, always in the back of my mind, I decided last week that I’d add trams to my Google Alerts.  I’ve been surprised just how much is written about trams.  This is what I’ve learned so far.

Europolitics, the European Affairs daily reports today that the “ . . . European Investment Bank (EIB), the Ile-de-France and Paris transport companies (STIF and RATP) and entities of the French banking group BPCE (Caisse d’Epargne Île-de-France, Caisse d’Epargne Rhône Alpes, Crédit Foncier de France, Natixis and Ingepar) have just signed a €378 million leasing contract to finance the new Ile-de-France tramways (lines T3, T5, T6, T7 and T8).”

When I first read this I wondered just why so many trams were required in such a small area.  Then I realised that my understanding of French administrative districts was a little naïve. Île-de-France is really most of the Paris metropolitan area with a population of around 11.7 million people.

Ille de France Tram/Train lines

The deal involves providing 107 sets of tramway vehicles on a leasing contract for the tramway amounting to €378 over 33 years.  It’s actually quite a good deal amounting to about  €1 per person per year for 33 years.

Delving further into the matter I found that four tram lines are inservice carrying 370000 passengers over a total of 41.4 kilometres each day through a total of 71 stations. Then, I realised that the distinction between train and tram was a little rubbery to say the least. T4 for example is a train tram line, which I think means light rail.

Trams or Light Rail carriages, from the T4 line

This image is from wikipedia commons

 Bendigo tramways theft

Then there was the sad piece from the Bendigo Advertiser about the ransacking of 5 heritage trams and the stealing of fittings from them. Two of them No’s 5 and 7 built in 1913 and 1917 respectively has rare and original controller handlers removed.

Bendigo Tramways Manager Jos Duivenvoorden  is reported as saying that:

“The controller handles share the story of each of these trams and have travelled the tracks to Eaglehawk, Golden Square and Spring Gully, used by every person who has ever driven them.”  He went on to say that “As scrap metal the objects are worth very little but they hold significant heritage value and we are extremely disappointed that anyone would steal such a valuable pieces of Bendigo’s history.”

Since there’s a Bendigo Swap Meet this weekend Bendigo Tramways has urged those attending to remain vigilant of heritage objects on sale.

Finally there was this wonderful collection of aerial tramway shots.  I still remember my first ride on one of these it was Grenoble’s telepherique.

Telepherique de Grenoble Bastille

There was a lot of other material flagged by Google Alerts but this was the pick.  Even then it required additional Internet research to establish the full context.

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