Alstom talks new tram line construction in Baku (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 3

By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:

Alstom is waiting for Baku city administration to decide on implementation of the project on restoration of the tram lines in the capital of Azerbaijan, Bernard Peille, Alstom managing director for Western and Central Asia Cluster, told Trend in an exclusive interview.

“A couple of years ago we suggested a pre-project on how tram lines in Baku could be restored. Since then the Formula One made us change the plans and the route of this tram line,” the managing director reminded.

According to Peille, the project proposes construction of a new tram line from the Olympic Stadium to the Port Baku and then to the Flag Square.

“Of course, it’d be nice for the city to have this type of transportation. It’s very accessible for people in areas where there are lots of tourists. For us, the restoration of the tram line is something that we are already seeing today. We can see it in Astana and Almaty, for example. The latter also has a project to launch public-private partnership in 2019 for restoration of light rail,” Peille noted.

The managing director added that Almaty had a similar case, which had to remove all the outdated lines and will have to lay new ones.

Peille also said that new trams as transportation have many advantages.

“With the new trams you can travel seeing the whole city. They are very ecofriendly and have no emissions. Trams have been adopted in almost all cities in Europe with population above 200,000 people. So, they are working very efficiently,” Peille concluded.

The Baku tram line network was operating between 1889 and 2004. A horsecar line was opened in Baku in 1889. On 8 February 1924, an electric tram line was launched in Baku, which lasted until 2004.

In February 2012, the government of Azerbaijan announced that it is planning to restore the tram line in Baku. A new line had to be laid along the seaside promenade of Baku Boulevard in central Baku as part of the Baku White City development project.

Unlike the former network, the new line had to be considerably shorter in length and it hadn't had to serve within the main road networks of Baku as was the case with the former tramway network.

Peille earlier told Trend that Alstom is going to handle potentially big projects such as reconstruction of Iraqi railway network from its new office in Baku.

Alstom is a major French engineering company, one of the world leaders in production of power equipment and railway transport.

In September 2017, it was announced that Alstom will become the core of the new Siemens-Alstom concern, which will also include German Siemens and Siemens Mobility. The German company will get just over 50 percent of the shares.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @FDolukhanov

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