Liège’s new tramway has successfully completed its first run through the city streets. A first track was completed on a six-kilometer stretch between the Droixhe depot and Coronmeuse station.
Meanwhile, the works in Liège, which suffered several setbacks and delays, are moving ahead, and the first commercial run is expected to take place in 2025.
The purpose of the test was to test the size and weight of the streetcar on the tracks under voltage and overhead wires. During this testing phase, the tram also accelerated to 50 kph to test braking. An approved organization has yet to validate this first step to continue testing for each of the 20 streetcars.
The test will first be done in this area until the end of August 2024 and then, depending on availability, on the entire line. Two months before entry into service, all tramways will run at the set times but without passengers for safety reasons. “In fact, we cannot load passengers until everything is validated”, explains Daniel Wathelet, Liège Tram’s communications manager for the Walloon public transport company TEC.
The start of the tests also marks the launch of an awareness campaign among the population. Indeed, a streetcar always has priority over all users, and crossings must be made in designated areas, as a 64-ton streetcar set needs 30 meters to stop.
In total, no less than 240 000 m² of urban development was designed to create an 11,7 km long line between Sclessin and the border with Herstal. The works have come in for a great deal of criticism because of the serious delays and increased costs.
In June, the Walloon government allocated another 79 million euros to finalize works on the tramway. The amount came on top of the 450 million euros initially planned.
The first commercial entry into service is still planned for January 31, 2025.