Another Blog, Another Tram!

By now it is possible that fbb’s reader will have become tired of his adulation of european tram systems – yet here is another. This time we have five segment trams in a somewhat startling livery. They are in Angers.
And it was this headline that drew fbb’s attention to the system.

Firstly, fbb had no idea where Angers was – he guessed in France; but more than that his ignorance was complete.

Angers  is a city in western France, about 190 miles southwest of Paris. It is the prefecture of the Maine-et-Loire department and was the capital of the province of Anjou until the French Revolution. The inhabitants of both the city and the province are called Angevins or, more rarely, Angeriens.
Angers proper  has a population of 154,508 inhabitants, while around 432,900 live in its metropolitan area (aire d’attraction). The Angers Loire Métropole is made up of 29 communes covering 258 square miles) with 299,500 inhabitants. Angers is the third most populous commune in northwestern France after Nantes and Rennes and the 18th most populous commune in France.

It is hard to compare population statistics because definitions vary so much country to country, but, for the sake of comparison, we can say that the Angers Metropole area is roughly the size of the City of Bristol.

When fbb last visited, Bristol did not have any trams!
But it does have four “Metrobus” routes which the city authorities would like you think of as trams. Mostly they are just bog standard bus routes with a good bit of bus lane and some reserved track.

1, 3 and 4 travel north along the A32M32 then visit various housing estates.

Of these M1 is the only cross city route.

The M2 is mainly a Park and Ride service and uses little chunks of guided busway but NOT (oh no, too tricky!) when it goes round corners! 

See, no guide rails once it leaves the straight and narrow!

The picture below was staged before opening; they were doing a bit of PR showing off!
If they were trams, Bristol would have FOUR routes.
And Angers only has THREE tram lines -only it doesn’t. It has TWO tram lines and THREE tram services.
The original route (labelled A – suprise name, eh?) runs roughly north south and has been running since 2011.

The new line, in operation for a  week (!) runs roughly east to west with a dog leg north; and guess what it is called. There is no prize!

Tram B is BLUE.

A third service (C in GREEN) uses the southern section of route A and then on to the western section of route B.

So two lines, but three routes.

fbb is glad he has got that sorted out.
But Just A Bristol Bus
So if Bristol’s Metro bus routes were trams, the city would win hands down however you count them.
But one of these …

… will never be one of these …

… however much of this …

…. the bus might have! Or even if the bus has got some of this:-

Tentative Trams?
A new report says yes! Trams would be a “good thing” in Bristol.

It suggests three groups of routes, No 1 north via the busy Gloucester Road …

… 2 running south east via the Bath Road …

… and 3 off to the south west and all the way to the airport.

These would be in addition to Metrobus!

Mayor Marvin’s Metro?

Bristol’s super-mayor wants a “proper” train Metro with underground sections in the busy built up areas.

There would be a route north …

… a north easterly service not well defined on his map …

… south west to Keynsham and Bath …

… and a different way to Bristol Airport.

Big Train Building Branches 

And don’t forget MetroWest; proposals for massive “proper” rail improvements on all lines, plus new services to Henbury and Portishead.

Too much use of the word “metro”?
Of course there is slightly less that zero percent chance of either tram or Marvin’s Metro ever happening in any forseeable future. But one can dream.
And politicians often do and therefore waste a lot of money trying to make their dreams come true! Or maybe to conclude that there is insufficient money in the piggy bank to bring the plans to an acclaimed and politically successful conclusion.
So, as part of our usual weekend variety, fbb will take a closer look at Angers, bus and tram, and try to work out what might be possible, what might have been possible in a similar vein in Bristol.
Any Clearer Yet?

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 15th July 
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