Today I woke up early by the sounds of brassbands in Place Massena, 30 meters from my house.
And suddenly I remembered that today is the 24th of November, the inauguration day of the new Tramway.
Place Massena, not as sunny as usual, was full of people, listening to officials praising the new Tramway.
The Mayor of Nice, Mr Jacques Peyrat, would have liked to have French president Sarkozi next to him on the stage, but Mr Sarkozi had obligations abroad and will come to Nice on the 30th of November.
While the choir is singing local hymns as “Nissa la bella”, the police make sure that traffic doesn’t get jammed.
New trams waiting in avenue Jean Medecin until the official inauguration is finished and Place Massena will be cleared for them. Today and tomorrow people have the opportunity to travel for free and get aquainted with the trams.
HISTORY OF THE NICOISE TRAMWAY
Nice had a tramway since 1878, and in those days they were pulled by sturdy horses.
This photograph was made in 1900, when the first electrical tramway came into service.
Place Massena in 1902.
Place Massena in 1918.
Place Massena in 1925.
THE RUINS CALLED THE CITY OF NICE
On January 10, 1953 the last tram entered the Sainte-Agathe depot on 10.15 pm, after 75 years of service. Some fifty years later the city council of Nice decided that a new tramway should be built. The construction of this tramway should take two years at the most.
Place Massena in 2004. The construction of the new Tramway has started.
Boulevard Jean Jaures in 2004.
Boulevard Jean Jaures in 2005.
Avenue Jean Medecin, October 2005.
Boulevard Jean Jaures, 2006.
Place Garibaldi, November 2007. The city of Nice has been in ruins for years and parts of it still are. Old businesses went bankrupt in the mean time, new businesses came and the value of properties is rising because of the new Tramway.
NOW THAT IT’S FINALLY THERE, LET’S USE IT!
After so many years of miscalculation and incompetence, there is an achievement the city council of Nice may be proud of: the new Tramway is beautiful, with wonderful, thick natural stone. Trouble nor expense are spared.
People have been working day and night to finish the Tramway on time.
The control center. The Tramway of Nice is safe, fast, ecological and silent.
All the “wattmen” and “watwomen”, the conductors of the trams, are former bus drivers who volonteered and had an intensive training once they passed several tests. For three months the trams have been tested on the track, to get both the conductors and the public used to them.
As from today Line 1 of the Tramway of Nice, an 8,5 kilometers section from northwest to center to northeast, is functioning. Line 2 will be an east-west section, from the Port to the airport, through the Boulevard de la Californie. Line 3 will go to the Var area and will be ready in 2013 (?).
Nice, congratulations with your new Tramway!