Helsinki tram 15 replaces bus 550
Posted on 22nd October 2023 at 16:40
Approved in 2016, and under construction since 2019, the Finnish capital’s latest tramway project, the 25km Raide-Jokeri Light Rail line, started carrying passengers on 21 October, replacing bus line 550 (that was carrying 40 000 passengers/day).
Originally intended to open in 2021, the orbital tramway runs from Itäkekus (metro interchange) to Keilaniemi in Espoo (another metro interchange), offering connection to suburban rail lines at Oulunklän and Huopalahden. It is expected that 91 000 passengers/day will use the line by 2030. It forms part of the goal to steer population growth to sustainable transit. New housing a work centres are being built along the line.
Like the rest of Helsinki’s 10-line 45km tramway system, the new line is metre-gauge, even though there is at present no connection with the main network. Today just a few km separates the Jokeri line at Vihdintie and Huopalahti line 10 tram terminus, though no definite plans exist for a link.
There are 34 low-platform stops along the line, to be served by a fleet of 29 Skoda Transtech Artic X54 low-floor trams (601-29), with an average speed of 25km/h. The 34.5m double-ended five-section cars are 2.4m wide and can carry up to 214 passengers (78 seated). They are built so that additional sections can be added to produce a 44m tram if traffic growth requires. Test running started in November 2022.
Initially the operator will be HKL (Helsinki City Transport), but this could be contracted out at a later stage. There will be a 12-minute service at peaks, though when the whole fleet is delivered this could be improved to six minutes. The whole project has cost EUR 455M, including a depot at Roihupelto (EUR 69.5M) and rolling stock (EUR95.2M). EUR 84M came from the Finnish government with the remainder financed by the cities of Helsinki and Espoo on a 65%/35% split.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening on 21 October. (M. Laurila)
Tagged as: Jokeri, Finland, Helsinki, Skoda
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