According to the National Mobility Plan 2035 (PNM 2035), presented on 22 April by Bausch, southern Luxembourg and especially its capital will be undergoing a lot of work over the next 13 years. “But if we want to move forward, we have to live with it,” commented the mobility ministry.
Although the PNM 2035 has no legal value and will be re-evaluated (and possibly adapted) every five years, it does give a good idea of mobility in Luxembourg in 2035. This is particularly true for a tram that will be extended many times before then.
In 2024, the Cloche d’Or will connect to Findel
The Red line (see infographic below). Also called “Line 1” is currently in service and covers the segment from Luxexpo to the central train station. The section leading from the station to the Lycée technique de Bonnevoie should be inaugurated and put into service in mid-September. Construction work that will lead to Howald and the Cloche d’Or will start at the same time. Completion is expected by the end of 2023 or early 2024.
The extension on the other side of Line 1--i.e. the five kilometres to Findel airport--is expected to be completed in 2024, like the new Héienhaff P+R. A more precise timetable should be announced in a few weeks, in June.
The Yellow line, also called “K2” (for Kirchberg 2), will be the second line running in Kirchberg, between the Rout Bréck (Red Bridge) and Luxexpo. K2 will have a much more central character in this district than Line 1, which runs along avenue John F. Kennedy. Bausch plans to submit the financing bill for this Rout Bréck-Luxexpo section before the end of this year. This will ensure that the law is passed during the current legislature. The start of the work is envisaged one to two years after this vote. This should take two years, which means that we are looking at 2027 or 2028.
From Rout Bréck to the central train station, the K2 line will use the same tracks as Line 1, before branching off in the direction of Hollerich. A financing bill for the Central Station-Hollerich section is also planned to be submitted before the end of this year.
As for the continuation and extension to the west, visible on the map, it is still at the feasibility study stage. The road, the so-called Merl Boulevard, will first have to be built to provide the necessary foundation for the tram.
The Blue line is in a way an extension of the yellow line, since it will start in Bouillon and follow the same route to the future P+R Ouest, before continuing in the direction of the Centre hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) and the route d’Arlon. The tram will then follow the entire route--passing near the former Josy Barthel stadium--to the current Étoile stop.
While the entire section from Bouillon to the CHL still raises many questions, as it is largely dependent on the road project. A financing bill should be tabled during this legislature for the planned section on the route d’Arlon.
From Esch-sur-Alzette to the Cloche d’Or in 13 or 14 minutes
The Purple line, also known as the ‘fast tram line’, since part of it--from the Cloche d’Or to the new Esch-Schifflange district--will allow the tram to travel at up to 100km/h and cover this distance in 13 to 14 minutes. It will also stop in Leudelange, in order to connect the local business area. But this line is a complicated project, in the sense that it will be necessary to modify all the road interchanges on the A4 motorway (the one that connects Luxembourg City to Esch), in order to be able to build the fast tram, but also the express bicycle path that is planned. If completed, this will create a multimodal corridor between the country’s two largest cities. It should also be noted in passing that the hard shoulder of the A4 will be transformed into a carpool and bus lane during peak hours.
This section will therefore link two “urban tram” zones, the Luxembourg capital on the one hand, and the towns of Esch, Schifflange and Belval on the other. In the end, this purple line will make it possible to link Belvaux to Findel airport in less than an hour, with a reliability that the car does not provide.
But for the time being, the part of this purple line running from Hollerich to Belvaux is still at the feasibility study stage.
Increase from 1.5 or 2km per year to 2 or 3km
In view of all that needs to be done, the 12.5-year time frame to 2035 may seem short. “But it has to be done. Because the country needs it,” says the ministry of mobility. “It is a very ambitious project, but the will is there. Look at the number of financing laws planned in the next few months [editor’s note: four] to convince you of this.”
To get to the network shown on the map above and implement all the desired extensions, it will be necessary to double the rate of construction seen in the last six years, and go from 1.5-2km per year to 2-3km. This seems feasible, as it is not comparable to install a tram in an urban area, such as the avenue de la Liberté, or in much less urban areas, such as the area between the Cloche d’Or and Esch-sur-Alzette or the area between Luxexpo and Findel.
With the planned extensions, Luxtram will need a second “Tramsschapp”, a storage and maintenance centre. Currently, there is one next to Luxexpo, in Kirchberg, capable of accommodating and maintaining the current small number of trains. But in the future, this will no longer be sufficient. In the long term, the need is estimated at 70 or 80 trains. A financing bill for this second centre--which should be set up in the Cloche d’or district--will be submitted before the end of the year.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.