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Geneva: Extension opens

Report on the opening ceremony By N.A.Kellett

A couple of the Düvag/Vevey (DAV) cars at the turning cirle at the new terminus at Nations - the circle sports a pair of tracks, and the building in the rear is the United Nations European HQ (formerly League of Nations). (N.A.Kellett

The second phase of the expansion of the city’s tramways was put in hand on 13th December 2003 with the inauguration of a 2km double track extension from Cornavin station, via Secheron, to a terminus at Place des Nations. The procession of six vehicles started at 13.13 hours from the new tram station in front of the main railway station, and was headed by preserved 4-wheeled car no.125 of 1920, staffed by members of the Association Genevoise du Musee des Tramways (AGMT), which followed a band along rue de Lausanne as far as Secheron. This section of the route last saw a regular tram service in 1958, which had been operated by this class of tram since 1951 - no.125 bore the route disc 5 on its roof. The second tram (DAV no.849) acted as a temporary radio studio, and was followed by no.857, a Bombardier Cityrunner tram, new to Geneva, and one of two hired from the city of Lodz (Poland) for about a year pending delivery of the first few of 21 such cars ordered by Geneva in 2002, expected to arrive in the middle of 2004. Three more DAV’s followed, nos.836, 846 and 808, the latter remaining in its original two-car form.

857 (hired from Lodz) approaching Cornavin to take its place in the procession - it is not in Geneva colours! (N.A.Kellett

The two trams (which are double-ended, unlike the city’s 46 DAV’s) were hired from Lodz in order to supplement the existing fleet, which otherwise would have struggled to meet the demands of passenger loading on the extended system. The new line forms an extension of the existing route 13, linking the building of the former League of Nations with Les Palettes at the opposite end of the city. Free public rides were available after the opening - the trams were packed - and the AGMT’s historic vehicles 67+363 joined no.125 in providing additional transport. Public services commenced the following morning.

Construction is well in hand on the next tramway extension, which will be from Plainpalais to the existing terminus (currently reached via Carouge), and the first section, over the Pont des Acacias to Pont Rouge, is expected to open for service in December 2004, the remainder following a year later.

The historic pair 67 and trailer 363, both belonging to the museum society AGMT, on the rebuilt bridge over the wide railway formation, Ave de France. This section of the new line has never seen trams before (N.A.Kellett

The new line will carry two tram routes - initially, route 17 will continue through Place Neuve and les Rues Basses to a terminus at the SNCF station at Chene-Bourg. The second route (15) will open when a later extension is opened from Cornavin to Meyrin and CERN (9km), to the north-west of the city; this is projected for completion in 2008. The junction tracks for this line have already been laid as part of the reconstruction at Cornavin.

Planning for beyond 2010, tramway schemes for a line towards Grand Saconnex and the airport in one direction, and towards Onex-Bernex are now under investigation.

See the August 2002 article on Geneva and/or the map from the article.

CGTE no.125 (of 1920) with DAV 836 in latest livery at Cornavin before the ceremony. (N.A.Kellett

For more information see - for route13, for later plans, for the tramway operator and for the Museum.

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