The first section of the Luxembourgish tramway will be put in operation on the second semester of 2017. With an overall cost of 565 million euros, this equipment will connect the airport to the Cloche d’Or area via the city centre and the railway station by 2020. The route with a length of 16 kilometres will have 24 stations served by 32 trainsets. This tramway will not only revolutionize the public transportation of Luxembourg by making it easier for passengers to travel, but also reinforce the attractiveness of the city in the eyes of investors. Luxtram Managing Director André Von Der Marck and INOWAI Managing Director Vincent Bechet analyse the impact of this equipment for the country.
André Von Der Marck: The development of the Luxembourgish capital requires the implementation of a new public transportation system so that everyone can travel more easily. The tramway will serve this purpose. In the end, the line will have a total length of 16 kilometres and serve five major districts between the airport and the Cloche d’Or area via the Kirchberg, the city centre, and the railway station. While improving the traffic flow, it will also promote the development of the served areas.
The Kirchberg area now gathers 35,000 jobs. In 2030, this figure will be 55,000, which represents a nearly 60% increase*. At the same time, the number of employees in the Findel airport area will grow from 10,000 to 23,000. The Cloche d’Or area will experience the same evolution, with a jump from 20,000 to 34,000. This increase in the number of jobs will lead to a substantial rise in the number of residents in the Grand Duchy, who will be 600,000 in 15 years against 500,000 today. In this context, prospective works assess that mobility needs will increase from 20% to 30%. To meet these needs and to prevent the city and the whole country development from slowing down, it is crucial to have an efficient transportation system worthy of a European capital.
Along the 16 kilometres of the line, there will be 9 transfer stations that will allow passengers to access bus, train, bicycle, and parking facilities. The commissioning of the tramway will lead to the construction of new transport equipment, such as a new railway station at the foot of the Red Bridge, so that passengers going to their Kirchberg office no longer have to stop by the Central Station. Similarly, another railway station will be built in Howald.
Therefore, the tramway will contribute to enhance the image of the city in the eyes of both its residents and European neighbours. It will be an element of attractiveness. The cities that have already adopted it can confirm it.
Vincent Bechet: To develop the attractiveness of Luxembourg, substantial investments were carried out over the last two decades in the cultural field with the Philharmonia concert hall designed by the architect Christian de Portzemparc, or in the sports field with the creation of multisport complexes such as the one situated in Kirchberg.
The Royal Hamilius project launched in 2009 also illustrates the city’s renewal. Designed by Norman Foster, this project deals with the construction of a shopping centre, shops, office spaces, and houses. While serviced adequately by public transportation, this area will be a gateway to the city. The new public transportation offer comes in time to complete the city’s equipment and reinforce the attractiveness of Luxembourg.
André Von Der Marck: In fact, the construction of the tramway provides an opportunity to restructure the urban space and enhance the city, making it more pleasant and friendly at the same time. The main squares will be refurbished and the roads renovated.
The recently started construction of the depot and maintenance workshop of the tramway trainsets at the western entrance of the Kirchberg Plateau is an illustration of this. The buildings will fit perfectly into the surrounding forests. Roofs will be vegetated and facades will be covered with wood. The laying of the tramway line rails will start in 2016 along JF Kennedy Boulevard in the Kirchberg area. Grass seeding will also make it easier for this infrastructure to fit into the landscape. A first section will be put in operation during the second semester of 2017 between Luxexpo and the Red Bridge. With a length of 4 kilometres, it represents a quarter of the line which will be extended gradually by 2020-2021.
Vincent Bechet: The launch of the tramway will coincide with the construction of the new European Parliament site and the delivery of the new RTL headquarters, without forgetting the ongoing extension projects of BNP Paribas and Ernst & Young, which will attract each a growing flow of people. Considering the current traffic situation, having a tramway is no longer a choice, it is a necessity. It is not an option, but an obligation.
André Von Der Marck: The integration of the tramway in the city is a major concern. This is the reason with the line won’t have any overhead supply between the Red Bridge and the Central Station. Trainsets will be equipped with batteries which will recharge at each stop for 20 seconds. This choice aims at preserving the urban setting of the city centre.
Well integrated into the environment, the tramway will serve as a link between districts and ease access to important cultural, sports, and leisure facilities. It will also benefit from its image of modernity and from a greater accessibility. People working in the Kirchberg or Cloche d’Or areas will only need 10 minutes to go to the city centre to have lunch. They will be able to travel peacefully without any constraint in terms of circulation or parking.