LRTA logo Light Rail Transit Association
Light Rail for better public transport

Geneva over the Years

Richard Wiseman, 20th June 2005

Richard began by explaining that due to the fact that his Mother had worked for the World Health Organisation in Geneva from 1947, he had been a frequent visitor to the City for Christmas and Summer holidays over many years.

When he first knew the city, there were a number of urban tram routes as well as interurban lines with single track and passing loops, running out into the countryside,. Rolling stock comprised bogie cars for the long routes and 2-axle cars on the quieter city routes. By 1959 all the interurban routes had closed and only urban routes 1 and 12 survived. The Swiss standard bogie cars arrived in the 1950’s, later supplemented by ex-Lucern examples after that system closed in 1961. The system was reduced to a single route in 1969 when route 1 was closed. This remaining route 12, carried a quarter of the undertaking’s total traffic, and it was not considered suitable for conversion to trolleybus operation. Five Duwag cars were obtained from the Aachen system in 1975 but only three ran in service.

From 1987 things began to improve with the renewal of the fleet with low floor articulated cars, and later with new extensions and routes. The latest deliveries have been Bombardier Cityrunner cars. Prior to their delivery 2 similar cars built for Lodz were operated on loan.

The new extensions have seen trams return to Cornavin station, which now sports an elaborate tram station in the forecourt, and trams have returned to part of former route 5 along the Rue de Lausanne, and on to serve the 1920 built United Nations building at Place des Nations. Next a new route 15 to Acacias opened in December 2004. Further extensions are planned and some are already under construction.

This informative talk was well illustrated by excellent black and white slides of the earlier days, followed by colour slides, all from Richard’s collection, taking us through to the present day. It is gratifying to see how trams are now returning to this busy city.

John Laker, 21/6/05

London Area – 20th June 2005

Geneva over the Years: top of page