How transport in Luxembourg City is changing
On December 10, Luxembourg City will inaugurate two new stations, the tram, the first funicular in the country, a new cycle path and two exchange hubs. Here's what that means for people travelling through the Kirchberg where most of the changes are taking place.
As all the services interact with each other with the goal to shorten the travel times in a capital city which is already fully congested during rush hour, six new public transport services will be inaugurated almost simultaneously on Sunday December 10 between 9am and 2pm.
From 1pm, the public will be able to see the interior of the tram on the Kirchberg, experience the sensation of a ride in the funicular, see the new railway station "Pfaffenthal-Kirchberg" under the red bridge, and discover the new cycle path on the John F Kennedy Avenue as well as the two exchange hubs "Europe" and "Luxexpo".
In the south of the city, next to the brand new Ban de Gasperich, the new train station Howald will open, which will also morph into a multimodal exchange hub by 2021.
December 10 will be festive, François Bausch, sustainable development and infrastructure minister said during a press conference on Friday morning. Public transport in the city will be free this weekend and the tram will remain free until January 2018.
Between 1pm and 6pm, the station "Rout Bréck-Pafendall", the end station of the funicular at the end of the red brigde will be transformed into a "Winter Wonderland" with fire, ice and music spectacles. At the other end of the Kirchberg, at the Luxexpo station, animations are planned around the tram.
But concretely, what's going to change for the users?
The inauguration of the Howald station, which is just behind the Cactus Howald will allow to help load passengers off the around 90 trains that go from the central train station in Luxembourg City to Bettembourg from Monday to Friday.
Trains doing the Luxembourg-Esch/Alzette-Rodange route will stop at the Howald station four times per hour, and trains doing the Luxembourg-Bettembourg-Thionville route will stop there twice per hour.
Two new routes will also stop there, the Troisvierges-Luxembourg-Esch/Alzette-Rodange one and the Wasserbillig-Luxembourg-Esch/Alzette-Rodange one, which also stops at the university campus in Belval.
A number of frontaliers who work south of the capital should see their journey shortened this way, as they won't have to go to the central station to take a bus that would bring them back down south.
The new AVL bus line (26) will also allow them to go straight from the Howald station to the Ban de Gasperich and the Cloche d'Or.
From the Howald-Ronnebesch bus stop a bus will leave every 10 to 15 minutes between 5am and 11pm to go to the Cloche d'Or. The AVL bus lines 16, 29 et 30 and the RGTR bus lines 226 et 301 will also stop there.
The inauguration of the "Pfaffenthal-Kirchberg" train station is supposed to change the lives of the people coming down to the city from the north of the country.
All the trains doing the Luxembourg-Ettelbruck-Troisvierges-Gouvy line will stop there, which translates to about six trains per hour. The trains of the two new lines Troisvierges-Luxembourg-Esch/Alzette-Rodange and Longwy-Rodange-Luxembourg-Mersch will also stop there.
According to CFL calculations, the new train stop will allow someone from Ettelbruck who works in Kirchberg to cut 22 minutes from their morning commute.
Instead of needing 47 minutes in the morning by going through the central train station, a passenger would now only need 25 minutes by stopping under the red bridge and taking the funicular.
The new funicular is the "strong link" which will allow to interconnect the new infrastructures in record time.
The smart cabins will take 63 seconds to go up the 40-metre-elevation which separate the "Pfaffenthal-Kirchberg" station from the top of the red bridge where the tram will run.
It should take someone three minutes to get from the train platform to the platform of the funicular via escalators. The funicular ride will also stay free-of-charge, for commuters and tourists alike.
Trams and buses won't circulate on the same boulevard
At the start, the tram will only circulate on the Kirchberg, on the first route which will go from the red bridge to the Luxexpo.
Nine trains with a capacity to transport 420 people each will operate nine stops. A train is supposed to come every six minutes from Monday to Friday between 6:30am and 7:30pm. On Saturdays it's every 10 minutes and on Sundays every 15 minutes.
With the tram, everything will change on the Kirchberg as it will have the monopoly of the John F Kennedy Avenue, the main artery that crosses the business district of the capital from one end to the other. No more buses will circulate on that avenue.
Cyclists should rejoice too as a new cycling path going both ways was built next to the entire tram route.
From December 10 on, the Luxembourg City buses and the regional RGTR buses will all go through the Konrad Adenauer boulevard, and other streets of Kirchberg, so that six bus stops were scratched.
11 regional bus lines will have their final stop at the exchange hub "Luxexpo", where travellers will be able to hop on the tram, in a city bus or grab a bike.
Sunday, December 10 will mark the start of the new national campaign entitled "Good Morning Mobilitéit".
Translated from French by Barbara Tasch