Friday, August 20, 2010

Park & Ride - Nancy

Visiting Nancy (don't ask "Who?" - it's a "Where?" in nearby Meurthe et Moselle department)...
Anyway, visiting Nancy this week, we decided to try their "Park & Ride" system.

Immediately positive first impressions include the location of the terminus right next to the A33 motorway by-pass (junction 2 - Brabois CHU).
Then the decent signposting.
And the very clean & well-lit indoor car park.
The very helpful cashier.
The 2.50€ which covers all-day covered parking & as many day-return fares as you have people in the car.
And the handy loos inside the parking area.
Unfortunately the loos were locked & the very helpful cashier spent at least 5 minutes testing every available key, without changing that.

Outside in the sun, we noticed that the trams ran every 6 minutes & were surprised to see only one rail instead of the usual 2...
As our tram arrived, we saw it was running on ordinary-looking rubber tyres on an ordinary-looking concrete road surface.
The single rail being just for guidance.

Whooshing off with electrical acceleration towards Nancy, we couldn't help noticing that the guiding rail wasn't there any more & that we were mixing it with cars, vans & buses.
On gradients surely too steep for metal-wheeled trams.
Then, a bit further into the city, there was a stop where no doors opened.
And after that we were back on the rails, well the rail, and feeling like a tram again, with a bit more sideways jiggling than before.

You can imagine it being cheaper & more flexible than a normal tram.
Though you have to wonder if the driver ever forgets which bits he needs to steer in...
And wonder how they make sure (no - really sure) the guide wheel doesn't hop off if a stone blocks the groove it should be in...

But when you get home & start Googling, then the negatives start to show up.
It was not that cheap.
Soon after opening in 2000, it was closed for over a year, to sort out details like derailing, fishtailing, stability, legality, safety...
Built by Bombardier, there is another one in Caen which has similar worries.
There seems to be track laid for other lines in Nancy, but they are not (yet?) being used.

Of course, we didn't really go to Nancy just for the tram.
With its 3 Michelin stars & UNESCO World Heritage Listing, we weren't disappointed by Stanislas Square or the Ducal Palace or the magnificent City Gates & Arcs-de-Triomphe.
I have seen more inspiring & elegant cathedrals though.
In addition to the ubiquitous white vans, there seemed to be an outbreak of scaffolding, so photography was a bit hindered.
Of course, that is better than letting things crumble, so no complaints.

Parting thot: "Researchers have discovered that chocolate produced some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two, but can't remember what they are." - Anon.

No comments:

Post a Comment