Peter Watts - well known to Blackpool tram enthusiasts and provider of eminent retro destination blinds both on the Fylde coast and the Pacific coast sent a couple of images of his local tramway last week. Peter lives in France where he runs his specialist glass technology business - and close to the border with Germany (which of course presents no problem in the EU Schengen zone).
Saarbrucken's first generation tramway system was notable in its use of three axle cars. The system closed in the 1960s running against the grain of (West) German tramways but was not unique (Hamburg, Koblenz, Paderborn, Bremerhaven and Kiel - being just several other tramways which gave way to buses in this period). However most towns decided to retain and indeed extend tram operation with capital investment in new articulated and reserved track lines. Several opted for subway or metro style upgrade such as Stuttgart and Essen. Other long independent municipal controlled systems have more recently combined into regional groupings sharing combined management, workshops and services.
Saarbahn is a new second generation system returning communities to urban lightrail operation. The initial line with an interurban flavour (much like the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad) benefits from offroad reserved track shared with Deutsche Bahn.
A view of the reserved track and streetrunning contrast is shared by Peter with Bombardier Flexity units 1027 in fleet colours and 1003 in a less than inspiring wrap around sponsorship of an Italian restaurant (Angelo's ViaNapoli). The system and units require dual voltage power systems due to the mainline railway trackage being to DB specifications. Thanks Peter.