Alstom is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its APS system (Alimentation Par le Sol, or ground-level power supply) as 26 new Citadis trams enter service in Bordeaux, ordered by the city in 2012. Bordeaux was the first city to choose the catenary-free technology for 14 kilometres of its total network of 44 kilometres.
Developed exclusively by Alstom, APS powers the Citadis tram via a third rail embedded in the ground, preserving the city’s architectural heritage. To avoid any risk to other road users (pedestrians, cyclists or motorbikes), the third rail is divided into separate sections that are only powered when the tram passes over them. This technology is the result of over ten years’ Research and Development. The Alstom site in Vitrolles (France) created the first prototype and submitted the first patents in 2000.
Over ten years, the APS system has been ordered by eight cities in France and abroad, either to equip part of a tram network as in Bordeaux, Angers, Reims, Orléans, Tours, Cuenca (Ecuador) or an entire network as in Dubai (UAE), or in combination with other Alstom technologies. For example, in 2013 the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ordered Citadis trams from Alstom that are designed to run simultaneously with APS and supercapacitors.
In all, Alstom has already equipped 42 kilometres of track and 151 Citadis trams with the APS technology. These trams have travelled over 13 million kilometres with no overhead cables. With APS, supercapacitors and the onboard battery, world-leading technology initially developed for the Nice tram system (France), Alstom is the only manufacturer to have a full range of catenary-free solutions to equip cities wishing to enhance their architectural heritage.