Tram extension receives Royal approval

Luxembourg achieved a major transport landmark on Sunday with the inauguration of the extension of Luxembourg’s tram network to the train station.

While celebrations were muted because of covid, Grand Duke Henri was present to add a royal touch to the occasion, travelling along the extended line from Place de l’Etoile to Place de la Gare.

The extension enables passengers to travel 16-kilometres between the train station and Kirchberg, part of a strategy to reduce private car use in the capital, as well as bus journeys.

Green mobility minister François Bausch told our sister publication Paperjam the extension was not an end in itself, as the network will in future be extended to the Cloche d’Or (2023), Findel airport (2024) and, eventually, Esch-sur-Alzette.

“It was in any case a long-awaited moment. We knew that this section would be very difficult to manage, because it is very complex. But in spite of everything, we met the deadline. And this despite the fact that we had to deal with a 5-week work stoppage. All this while respecting our budget” he said.

Bausch said the experience gained from constructing the network will pay off in future, though there remain some challenging sections.

“Up to the Ban de Gasperich it will be a little more tricky, especially in the rue des Scillas. The boulevard will be widened because the new N3 will be diverted there. But in the long run this will benefit the whole area. It will be a new boost to the development of the Howald district,” he said.

There are two snags in the road, however. Negotiations are ongoing with concrete provider Beton Feidt, which is on the route. Meanwhile, talks have stalled with the Olos Fund, which owns plots of land targeted for the extension. “This is more complicated because we don’t know who our contact person is anymore. So I have launched an expropriation procedure. Even if I still prefer an amicable settlement,” said Bausch.

If not resolved in time for the Cloche d’Or extension, the minister said the tram will be temporarily moved to a single track over 150 metres.

Looking further along, Bausch said the future of transport in the capital would be multimodal, combining different forms of public transport.