Testing TramFret on the Saint-Etienne tram network
Testing innovative solutions for energy transition in urban logistics
In the wake of the “Paris de l’Avenir” exhibition, timed to coincide with COP21, and which featured a life-size model produced in association with Saint-Etienne Métropole, Société de Transports de l’Agglomération Stéphanoise and ADEME Rhône-Alpes, the objective was to produce an operational demonstration in the territory of Saint-Etienne.
The revival of the TramFret concept was driven in part by the replacement of a significant amount of tramway inventory in 2017, in Paris, Nantes and Saint-Etienne, creating the prospect of an industrial element to the transformation of this tramway rolling stock to transport goods around the city by tram.
As part of an R&D partnership, Efficacity handled the scientific aspects of establishing the operational demonstrator in Saint-Etienne, under the terms of a tripartite consortium agreement with SEM and STAS.
The test project called for the involvement of a large number of actors, technical, technological, logistic, institutional, academic and financial. In addition to the creation of multi-disciplinary knowledge and data bases, the identification of actors and industrial sectors and their respective economic models were also analysed in depth. Initial obstacles were removed by means of pre-feasibility studies, financed through ADEME’s Auratrans programme.
Testing was carried out in June/July 2017 by means of two test sprints under real conditions. A passenger tram car was rehabilitated and modified for goods transport. With a load capacity equivalent to that of a straight truck (10 to 15 tonnes), the rolling stock and the entire test process were given the requisite safety certification.
In partnership with supermarket retailer Casino, six deliveries were made at different times of the day. Goods were loaded in the STAS depot, and unloaded onto passenger platforms made safe for the logistic manoeuvres. Over six days of tests, 17 tonnes of goods passed through the system with no repercussions on passenger traffic and with unloading times capable of competing with the conventional road freight system.
These results demonstrated the logistical and operational feasibility of the system.