Every year, Tramways & Urban Transit (TAUT) publish an article which predicts the opening of new tramways that year and we have re-visited the one from earlier in the year to see just how close we were. 
The last few years have made predictions difficult as the aftermath of Covid 19 still lingers and systems that were due to open have suffered serious delays – especially within staffing and supply chain issues. For example, TAUT predicted that fourteen new tramways had chances of opening in 2022 and only seven made it through thanks to issues outside of our (and the contractor’s control).  
We’ve picked just five to see which ones we were right about! 
1. Algeria – Mostaganem 
This Mediterranean port city is home to around 250 000 citizens and is situated around 80km east of Oran. Construction of the 14.5km tramway has been underway since 2013 although the original construction was affected by issues of flooding and subsidence and, in no small part, to the bankruptcy of the original contractor. 
A new agreement was formed with Alstom/Cosider in 2017 and its inauguration was due in Spring 2021 – right in the heart of Covid so was delayed back to November 2022. We predicted that it would open in early 2023… 
Were we right? 
Algeria’s seventh tramway started operation in February 2023 so yes, we were. Operated by SETRAM, it carries up to 10,000 passengers a day and is services by 25 Alstom Citadis trams. 
2. Canada- Eglinton Crosstown 
Undertaken by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Tte Eglinton Crosstown (Line 5) is a 19km line with 25 stops and was due to open in 2020. However, it has suffered from a litany of delays in funding, contractor disagreements and construction. Officials were keen that it should open in 2023 but our experts were not so sure and suggested an opening sometime in 2024... 
Were we right?  
As of December 2023, the line has not yet opened although work is continuing. There is no firm opening date yet, but we remain hopeful that Line 5 will open in 2024… 
3. Canada – Edmonton 
The Albertan city of Edmonton opened its first tram service of the modern era back in 1978 and has since developed a 24.3km two-line system worked by high-floor LRVs. For its latest project, the Valley Line, the city has opted for a low-floor service. 
The line should have opened in 2022 but Covid and infrastructure related delays pushed its inauguration back to 2023. We predicted that it should be operating fully by July 2023. 
Were we right? The line opened to passengers in November 2023 however a grand opening ceremony is planned for 2024 as well as an extension to be completed in 2027 so were pretty close! 
4. Japan – Utsunomiya 
This 14.6km project was approved back in 2016 to connect Utsunomiya (the capital of Tochigi prefecture in Japan’s northern Kanto region) and Haga industrial park via Tochigi. Construction began in 2018 and it was hoped the system would start in March 2022 but testing issues pushed this back. We predicted that it would open in March 2023. 
Were we right?  
We were not far off. It opened in August 2023 and offers service every 6 minutes during the rush hour. Its opening was well received by its citizens and an extension is already being planned. We’ll keep you updated! 
5. Taiwan- Ankeng 
Proposals for a rapid transit connection to Ankeng were first mooted in the 1990’s but were discounted due to cost. In 2015, the line was reviewed and approved, and work began in April 2016. 
The 7.6km line features 4.3km of elevated alignment and 400m in subway. Five of the nine stops are elevated. Passenger service was expected to begin in December 2022 but due to some local Governmental delays, this was pushed back. We predicted it would open in February 2023… 
Were we right? 
We were exactly right! The line did open in February 2023 and offered passengers free travel for the first month. 
So how close did we get? 
Bang on the money – 3/5 – the system opened exactly when we thought it would. 
Oh, so close – 2/5 – the system opened that year but a little later than we thought! 
Our experts were very close on all five of our selected tramways so well done to them and all the teams worldwide who have worked especially hard to have their light rail systems up and running for their passengers this 2023. 
If you want to benefit from our expert knowledge of the LRT global market, then do get in touch here. From competitor studies to market entry reports, we have everything that you need to build a current, relevant, and bespoke view of the Light Rail market across the globe.  
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Tagged as: New systems in 2023
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