Strasbourg has a wonderful modern tram system around the city. The sleek looking trains are quiet as they go about Strasbourg. There are six lines covering over 35 miles of terrain and can get people to just about anywhere in the city. The trams can get travelers close to just about anywhere they need to go and, as further extensions are still being made, the trams will reach farther out, making the possibility of parking outside the city center and riding in the thing to do. Of course, these extensions are creating headaches for drivers with construction detours getting into the city.
Fares are €1,60/one way or €3,10/round trip (2014) and tickets must be validated when you board. It is good for one hour.
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This is a small local (but international) train which connects the French city of Strasbourg with the nearby Germany towns of Kehl, Kork, Legelshurst, Appenweier and Offenburg, just across the Rhine River. The reason I took it recently was that I wanted to catch a connecting ICE train at Offenburg, going up to Frankfurt.
The Ortenau-S-Bahn is run by neither the French nor the German railway systems, but by a small company which was set up especially for this purpose and which as far as I know is wholly owned by the German Land of Baden-Württemburg.
Second photo: The Ortenau-S-Bahn in Offenburg.
Construction at the Central Station
The square in front of the central train station is one big construction site at present [= June 2006], both because of improvements to the tram system and in preparation for the new high-speed rail line TGV Est, which will reach Strasbourg in 2007.
Train travel from Strasbourg to Paris will then take only 2 hours and 20 minutes, instead of four hours as it does now. And they are planning on 15 high-speed trains per day in each direction.
Second photo: The sign in the station says "2005-2007, Everything is changing in the Strasbourg Station. Two years of major construction to prepare for the arrival of the TGV East European."
Update: Now the station now looks strikingly different. The historic station building is still there, but it is now completely encased in a huge glass roof, which allowed them to increase the capacity of the station and protect the historic façade from the effects of storms and pollution. The idea is similar to the new glass entrance hall of Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, but on a much larger scale.
Light Rail - Trams Around City
We used the light rail on several occasions and found it to be efficient, modern and a cheap method of transport.
We usually commenced our day by walking through the city streets and only used the light rail / tram late afternoon when we were exhausted and wanted to get back to our hotel for a rest pre dinner.
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Since we stayed on the outskirts of town and didn't have a good map, we decided to take the tram instead of walking to the center. The ticket was 1.60€ each way or 3.10€ round trip. The closest stop to the Comfort Hotel was Montagne Vert and we took it to Homme de Fer which is within walking distance of the cathedral. Both line B and F stopped at both of those stops. The ticket machines took credit cards, validate your ticket at the machines on the platform.
For longer visits, there are a variety of ticket options
Strasbourg has a small international airport serviced by a number of major carriers, including Iberia, Czech Airlines and Royal Air Maroc. There's also a couple of budget airlines, like Ryanair. The Alsace region also has a much bigger airport on the Swiss border called Euroairport. It handles five times the passengers, and is serviced by many more carriers, especially budget airlines. It's even a hub for Easyjet.
If you spend more than a couple of days in Strasbourg you'll probably want to be making use of Strasbourg's central train station to visit many of the nearby attractions. Within easy day trips of the city you can see Colmar (as smaller, cleaner more compact Strasbourg), Mulhouse (with two of the greatest vehicle museums in the world), Basel (a taste of Switzerland) as well as Metz and Nancy in the neighbouring state of Lorraine. Being on the German border you can also use the train to visit cities like Freiberg in the Black Forest and the famous spa town of Baden Baden.
Further afield the station services the superfast intercity TGV trains, and can whisk you away to places like Paris and Frankfurt in a couple of hours.
Remember if you take a train south to Colmar, Mulhouse or Basel, make sure to sit on the right side of the train to enjoy the wonderful views of the Vosges Mountains.
Important - in France you must validate every ticket before you get onto the train. There are yellow validation machines throughout the station.
Strasbourg has a very modern transport system of trams and buses. The Eurotrams run through the old town and have excellent carriages with big, clear windows and big doors with low access for the disabled. Each station is announced, and has its own unique musical jingle to help you remember when to get off.
Ticket prices are cheap at 1.60 euros a ticket, or 13 euros for a book of ten tickets. Make sure you remember to validate each ticket (one per journey) before you get on. Each ticket lasts one hour in one direction.
Trams in Strasbourg are operated by the (Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois) six tram lines (named A to F) serve the city. A single ticketing system covers both bus and tram
Tickets are sold in 'tabacs' (newsagents), tourist offices, CTS boutiques or from vending machines at tram stops. Tickets should be validated before use, either in the machines on tram station platforms or in the machine by the driver when you board the bus and trams
If using the buses and/or trams a lot, Europass tickets are available from all automatic ticket machines and are valid on all local tram and bus services (including those that cross the border to Kehl) for either 24 hours or seven days.
one way- €1.60
round trip- €3.00
bus-tram pass for 10 ride- €12.90
24H Individual (24hr ticket for one person) €4.00
Trio (one day ticket for up to three people) €5.70
IDTGV TO Strasbourg
I travelled from Paris (Gare du l'Este) to Strasbourg aboard the IDTGV. Since I booked the ticket some time in advance I was able to travel First Class for 23 Euro (a huge saving).
It's a comfortable ride but there is not enough storage in some carriages for large cases. The carriage I was in was full whereas the other two first class carriages had many spare seats and thus more room for large cases which don't fit on the overhead racks. So it would appear a good idea to spread the seat reservations out more so that everyone has a better chance of getting storage space on the racks at the end of the carriage. Another point to be considered is that many travellers who have small cases or soft sports type bags tend to put them on the racks for the larger cases rather than on the overhead racks. It would be good if all travellers could be considerate in this area.
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HOMME DE FER
Homme De Fer is the main Tram station in Strasbourg. It is here where quite a few lines meet, so this is quite a busy area. There are plenty of seats, ticket & validating machines. It is located in the City centre. Cars are also accommodated in a major parking garage underneath the area.
Address....Place de l'Homme de Fer, Strasbourg
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TRAVEL BY TRAM
Our Hotel was located near a Tram stop, so this is the way we travelled into the city centre. Trams were very modern, comfortable and fast, taking only 15mins for us to be in the centre.
We found the Trams ran quite close together, so if we missed one, we didn't have long to wait. At the platform, we bought our ticket from the machine, then validated it ready to get on the Tram. Everybody over the age of 4 years must have a validated ticket or cop a fine. Its a good idea to have some euros in your pocket..
We just bought a single ride ticket which cost us 1.6 euros.
There are all sorts of tickets available, so please check the website for more ideas.
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New TGV trains in Strasbourg
Regularly scheduled TGV service began in June 10, 2007, on the new high-speed railway line from Paris to Strasbourg. The new trains go 320 kilometers per hour (that's nearly 200 miles per hour) on the newly-built section of tracks. So now it only takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to get from Paris to Strasbourg (instead of four hours), and by the year 2014 they are going to build another new section of tracks and get that time down to 1 hour and 50 minutes.
In the main photo the TGV train in the foreground is arriving from Stuttgart, Germany, and will continue non-stop from Strasbourg to Paris. The train in the background is the one I was on. I took it from Paris to Strasbourg, and now it is continuing on to Mulhouse (France) and Basel (Switzerland).
Second photo: A second class coach in the new TGV from Paris to Strasbourg.
Third photo: This is a huge poster that I saw on a building in Paris (Avenue de France), showing what the new high-speed railway line looks like from above.
The tram system is wonderful.More tram lines than any other town in France,even Paris.Allways is a tram crossing the crwded Place de l´Homme de Fer from Monday to Saturday.
It is very convenient a pass called Trio.24 hours for 2 or 3 people.Using the public transport cards is possible to travel to Kehl in Germany.
The Basel-Mulhouse airport is not the airport of Strasbourg but lowcost companies go there.I have flied with Easy Jet.There is a bus connecting the airport and gare Saint Louis (5 minutes.2 euros).From this village to Strasbourg a train every hour.
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