Skoda trams used to be cheaper than other brands on the market, but I
suspect that with their successful spread into the wider European market,
especially Germany, that margin may be diminishing. Skoda also has an
ownership stake in a couple of the cheaper Czech (Tatra adaptation) brands
and there is some cheap two-tier pricing, like a supermarket chain that has
a "bargain" offshoot under another brand. The astute customer - of whom
there are plenty in Europe - will go hunting for the best combination of
specification, quality and price. Alstom and CAF are very much one-model
manufacturers, with an alternative (Spirit, AXL) offered on the side for
those who want it, but not part of the main marketing thrust or engineering
Trams that aren't 100% low floor aren't very well politically tolerated in
Europe, especially in an environment where almost all city buses have been
100% stepless low floor for some years (a feature that is now appearing in
Australia with Custom Denning and Volvo electric buses). Part high floor is
only accepted in metre-gauge trams with swivelling end bogies where there
isn't enough width between the wheels for a trench aisle.
I hope your prophecy comes true.
On Saturday, 27 November 2021 at 18:35:09 UTC+11a...@... wrote:
> I think what happened here was the Commune wanted to build the system as
> cheaply as possible, so the track follows the lie of the land pretty much,
> which is fair enough for a tramway.
> But then a suitable tram is necessary, and this one isn’t it. What
> happened was that CAF was jonesing to get into the French market and crack
> the Alstom squirrel grip on new systems, so made what was almost a loss
> leader offer to get their foot in the door.
> As far as I’ve seen so far the only other French tramway to buy CAFs is
> Nantes, the original second generation French system that kicked off the
> national revival of trams in 1985 :
> After starting with high floor Alstom TFS1s, similar to Melbourne B class,
> they then studiously avoided the Citadis by getting the Adtranz Incentro,
> and then the booby prize, the Urbos 3.
> They also stretched the TFS1s with a low floor section and have put them
> through a mid-life overhaul like the Bs are getting at Preston, for a good
> life extension. I still think the Bs would have benefitted from a low floor
> extension like this, with the Zs being withdrawn there was even a supply of
> bogies to use for the job. An opportunity missed to speed up the
> chronically slow implementing of disability access in Melbourne.
> Those TFSs are possibly the best Alstom tram, along with the Regio Citadis
> and the 301/401 Citadis. Not 100% low floor but not as compromised in
> design as what followed. When there are buses running around with as many
> internal steps as some Sydney types a 70% low floor tram doesn’t look too
> bad, and the 100% low floor Citadis has a step up to the seats over the
> wheels. Of the five systems that bought the TFS - Nantes, Grenoble, Paris,
> Rouen and Ste Etienne, only Rouen has withdrawn them and they are now
> running in Gaziantep in Turkey.
> I think in a way the current time is like the 1890s and 1900s, when a lot
> of competing patented technologies were sorted out till the patents expired
> and the dominant generic tramway emerged as the most efficient and reliable
> form. Now, with a tramway revival underway and demand (hopefully transient)
> for affectations like wireless operation opening the door to the
> proprietary product purveyors, this process will repeat and the
> dodgy/fragile/indulgent/extravagant/redundant stuff will once again be
> winnowed out until the durable generic form prevails.
> For example, there will be much more appropriate use for batteries that
> pushing around a tram (or bus) that can be powered by wire, and soon that
> penny will drop as demand for electrically powered vehicles increases
> they’ll go to where they are needed rather than just wanted, the price
> premium over wired systems will move things in that direction.
> On 27 Nov 2021, at 5:17 pm, TP histor...@...> wrote:
> Wow, that Besancon ride is a shock to see. One might attribute the
> decisions made at Besancon to lack of experience, but even the old,
> experienced systems were not immune from bungled decisions to buy fixed
> truck trams that were unsuitable for their cities, usually during the years
> 1990 to 2010 when a fully low floor tram design with swivelling bogies had
> not yet been developed, but political and legal pressure for fully
> accessible (fully low floor) trams was strong. For example, the
> Adtranz/Bombardier (later Stadler) Variotram may attract enthusiast
> affection here, but in Helsinki and Munich it attracted only severe buyer's
> So the history of cracking and failure in modern low-floor fixed-truck
> trams actually extends further than the infamous Combino episode, to other
> cases that didn't attract much publicity beyond the city of operation. CAF
> is only the latest in the list. You would think the lessons had been
> well-and-truly learned by now. And if anybody thinks that Alstom is immune,
> it's only a matter of time. Meanwhile, they're in enough trouble already
> with their swivelling bogie tram, the Citadis Dualis/Spirit (same design
> platform as Melbourne E class):
> If Melbourne has come to the decision that only Alstom and CAF will be
> considered, then they're between a rock and a hard place.
> Tony P
> On Saturday, 27 November 2021 at 16:11:56 UTC+11 Mal Rowe wrote:
>> On 27/11/2021 15:47, Tony Galloway wrote:
>> > The Besançon operating environment :
>> > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3IimY2Vc8M
>> > All hills and curves, so the wrong tram from the start.
>> Thanks Tony,
>> That track would be challenging for any fixed truck tram.
>> The coincident curves (vertical and horizontal) at the 24 minute mark
>> would be enough alone to break a Citadis.
>> I am struck by the speed limit signs - they seem to be placed based on
>> risk at points of intersection with motor and pedestrian traffic and not
>> to reduce wear and stress to the tram and tracks on curves as in
>> See for example: https://tdu.to/i/17251 - where the curve is exaggerated
>> by the telephoto lens and it's even a proper bogie tram.
>> Mal Rowe in city with a challenge for the 'F class'.
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