Up to now, Bombardier has managed to sell only 160 trams in France (Marseille, Strasbourg, Nantes, Caen and Nancy), against 3,500 abroad. "France is difficult to get through because of the domestic manufacturer (Alstom ed.)," said Andre Navarri, head of Bombardier Transport.
The other side of the Channel, where the Canadian rail manufacturer recently fired 1,400 people in Derby (1)
was still more suitable for the worldwide launch of the new age tram, Flexity2. It is manufactured in Vienna and Bautzen in Germany.
Flexity2 will also be cross the Atlantc, up to Australia, in Gold Coast, and be operated by the French Keolis who recently won the contract (read
Metallic purple, accompanied by five mini-skirted violinists beneath a threatening sky, the tram was a a star in Blackpool, on the Northern cost of england battered by the winds. The city had not seen new trams from... 1895. It was then the first electric trams in the UK.
The old double deck "Heritage tram" (photo below) will have to give some of the tracks for the newcomers : 16 brand new Flexity2 trams supplied by Bombardier on the 11 miles seafront line.
Will the 150,000 residents of Blackpool that mainly relies on tourism to live (the city is a huge amusement park with casinos, roller coaster, a replica of the Eiffel Tower, haunted houses), benefit from illuminated trams as were the old trams ? Every evening, tourists can slide coins in trunks to lit up the streets and the trams along the Promenade.
Blackpool heritage trams with a mahogany interior are worthy of a novel by Agatha Christie. They carry four million passengers per year, mostly visitors. But the local community, the Blackpool Council which has invested 100 million pounds (about 116 million euros) in the project, hopes that the new trams will go along the economic development policy of the city and that people will use it as to commute.Empty room
"Flexity2 will be much more competitive : low carbon emission, a 100% low-floored, it benefit from bogies with good ride quality, and is fully customizable thanks to the "empty room" concept for the interior of the tram, explains Andre Navarri. As well as for the nose (the front ed.)" he added.
Will it be cheaper than the existing trams ? "When you launch a new product, it is to win new contracts," simply answered Bombardier Transport CEO.
Nathalie Arensonas(1) resulting the loss of a 1,200 trains contract for Thameslink line between London and Brighton, won by Siemens.
Another double deck tram. © N.A - Click to enlarge
Bombardier Flexity2 in front of Blackpool "Pleasure beach". © Ch. Recoura - Click to enlarge
André Nabarri, Bombardier Transport CEO. © Ch. recoura - Click to enlarge
Blackpool double deck trams date back from 1895. © N.A - Click to enlarge