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Aidan Randle-Conde | Université Libre de Bruxelles | Belgium

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CERN is the place to be if you’re a particle physicist! It has everything you could want here: the most promising experiments, all kinds of experts on hand, some of the most powerful computing systems in the world, fascinating seminars. It’s enough to draw people in from all over the world. The only downside is that it’s a bit tricky to get away from CERN for an evening in the city. Well not anymore! This week the tram arrived at CERN, giving us an essential lifeline to Geneva, with all its services and nightlife.

CERN tram

The CERN tram!

The town of Meryin saw the new tram as cause for a street party, with all kinds of entertainers, a jazz band, and free rides on an historic tram. So I went along to see what there was to offer, and how people reacted to the new transport link. Everyone seemed to be very happy about it (except perhaps for a few motorists!) “Great!” I thought, this gives us an easy way to get around. We can socialize more often, making it easier to meet people, enjoy ourselves, and making short trips to CERN all the more fun. There are many people who come to CERN for a few weeks or months at a time over the summer, and there’s pressure to cram as much into their time here as possible. Trimming some minutes off the journeys to and from Geneva makes things just that little bit easier for everyone!

People coming to explore CERN

People coming to explore CERN

What impressed me most was how CERN used this opportunity to reach out the public. In retrospect it was silly that I didn’t realize the tram went to CERN as well as from CERN! The new service included a tram advertising CERN, taking people right up the Microcosm and the Globe, where they were welcomed in to see what CERN has to offer. Presumably this is only the start of a new way of approaching CERN (literally and figuratively.) This is the first time people can get directly from the heart of Geneva to the center of CERN’s public spaces. The icing on the cake is the tram itself, which is so modern and spacious. First impressions matter, and no longer relying on the rickety number 56 bus to go the final mile will make a big difference to people’s perceptions of CERN. It’s a place which is modern, relevant, well connected and a vital part of the greater Geneva area. It’s deserved a tram stop for years and one has finally arrived!


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  • David Grellscheid

    Oh, you young ones… don’t remember the number 9 bus straight up from Cornavin. :-) The indirect connection was a temporary fluke while the tram was being constructed.

  • http://motls.blogspot.com/ Luboš Motl

    Do you plan to collide these streetcars at the 99.9999% of the speed of light?

  • Haryo

    I’m not young but I definitely didn’t remember bus #9 going to CERN. Must have been during the tram pre-construction / LEP / SPS era ….. :) Mind telling us more a bit about it?

  • Eoin

    The number nine was there until the end of 2007, and went all the way from Chene-Bougeries (the other side of Geneva from CERN, and where I lived) to CERN via Cornavin. I was sooo furious when it changed and my direct link became a trip with two transfers.

    To Lubos’ point, there is a sign at the tram stop — “Le tram, l’accélérateur des voyageurs” 😉

  • http://www.fnal.gov TB2

    Now Fermilab needs a monorail! (since, of course, Wilson Hall looks a lot like DisneyWorld’s hotel :^)

  • Quantum Diaries

    Great idea! While they’re at it, they could add another main injector ring and the lab would look just like Mickey Mouse from above.

  • http://www.monorails.org TB2

    Yes! FNAL will be an outpost of the Magic Kingdom – called “FermiLand”. A way to augment the budget monies from Congress. %^}

  • http://jonathan.rawle.org/ Jonathan

    It’s been 10 years since I was at CERN, but I’d heard from people how inconvenient it had become to get there, which was a surprise as one thing I remember about Geneva is how fantastic the buses were! Always on time, frequent, lanes and signals meant they avoided traffic jams, they ran until quite late, one ticket for use on all buses, extra services on holidays (rather than none)… Quite different from buses here in the UK! The Number 9 went directly from Cornavin to CERN, although it did go all round Meyrin, so took 30 miuntes. I could cycle to Geneva in 20 minutes!