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Cross-Border Tram Lines

Throughout the world there are four examples of cross-border tram lines bridging the divide between communities based in different countries.

To the best of my knowledge, the tram networks listed below are the only cross-border tram routes. If you know of any more, anywhere in the world, I will be delighted to hear from you.

Historical note. Find out about the history of pre World War II cross-border tram lines and transit trams in the Upper Silesia areas of Poland and Germany.

Basel Tramway Network in Switzerland

Trams on The Basel Tramway Network (Basler Strassenbahn-Netz) are operated by two companies, Baselland Transport AG (BLT) and Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB).

An unusual feature of the network is that two lines terminate in towns outside Switzerland. Line No. 8 terminates at Weil am Rhein Banhof in Germany and line No.3 terminates at Saint-Louis Gare in France. Line No. 10 crosses the Swiss-French border and has one stop in Leymen, France. The line then crosses back into Switzerland and terminates at Rodersdorf.

As far as I know, the Basel Tramway Network is the world’s only tri-national tramway system.

A Basel tram at Weil am Rhein Station in Germany

A Basel tram at Weil am Rhein Station in Germany
A Basel tram at Weil am Rhein Station in Germany

Basel tram image derivative work. Attribution: Niederkasseler, CC BY-SA 3.0. You can view a higher resolution image on the Wikipedia website.

Map attribution: Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa), CC BY-SA 2.5. View a higher resolution map on the Wikipedia website.

Map of the Basel Tramway Network showing international crossing points

Basel Tramway Network showing cross border tram lines
Basel Tramway Network showing cross-border tram lines

Geneva Tramway Network in Switzerland

The cross-border link to Annemasse in France opened in December 2019. Line No. 17 leaves Switzerland just after Moillesulaz Station and continues into France, terminating at Annemasse-Parc-Montessuit Station.

Geneva network tram in Annemasse-Parc-Montessuit, France

Geneva network tram in Annemasse-Parc-Montessuit
Geneva network tram in Annemasse-Parc-Montessuit

Tram image attribution: Nicolas Ettlin, CC BY 4.0

Map of the Geneva Tramway Network

Geneva Tramway Network
Geneva Tramway Network

Map attribution: Strikous, CC BY-SA 3.0
You can view a higher resolution map on the Wikipedia website.

Strasbourg Tramway Network in France

Line D of the Strasbourg Tramway Network crosses into Germany after leaving the French town of Port du Rhin. The line terminates at Kehl Rathous Station in Kehl town centre.

A Strasbourg tram at Kehl in Germany

A Basel tram at Weil am Rhein Station in Germany
A Strasbourg tram at Kehl in Germany

Tram in Kehl attribution: Smiley.toerist, CC BY-SA 4.0

Map attribution: Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) CC BY-SA 2.5
You can view a higher resolution map on the Wikipedia website.

Map of the Strasbourg Tramway Network

Strasbourg Tram Network
Strasbourg Tram Network

The Saarbahn Tramway System in Germany

The Saarbahn in Germany is a light railway system, often described as a train-tram, that extends to Sarreguemines in France.

A Saarbahn tram at Sarreguemines in France

A Saarbahn tram at Sarreguemines
A Saarbahn tram at Sarreguemines

Tram in Sarreguemines. Derivative work. Attribution: Smiley.toerist, CC BY-SA 4.0. View original photo in Wikipedia.

Map of Saarbahn tram line S1: © South Coast View

Map of the Saarbahn Tramway Line S1

Map of the Saarbahn Tramway Line S1
Map of the Saarbahn Tramway Line S1

Cross-Border Tram Lines – Opening-up International Borders

The above examples of cross-border tram lines perfectly demonstrate the will to open-up international borders, as opposed to building barriers between communities.

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