The Amsterdam Metro (Dutch: Amsterdamse metro) is a mixed rapid transit and light rail system in Amsterdam, and its surrounding municipalities Amstelveen, Diemen, and Ouder-Amstel in the Netherlands. The network is owned by the city of Amsterdam and operated by municipal public transport company GVB which also operates trams, ferries, and local buses. The metro system consists of four routes, which run on 120 kilometres (75 mi) of track (or about 100 kilometres (62 mi) of operational track, once side trackage is excluded), and serve 52 stations.
Three routes start at Amsterdam Centraal: Routes 53 and 54 connect the city centre with the suburban residential towns of Diemen, Duivendrecht, and the Amsterdam Zuidoost borough in the southeast, while Route 51 connects the city centre with the city of Amstelveen in the south. Route 50 connects the southeastern borough to the western part of the city without crossing the city centre. A fifth route, Route 52, running from the northern borough to the south, will be added to the system once the new North-South Line is completed in 2017.
- 1 History
- 2 Network
- 3 Planned expansion
- 4 Technology
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The city of Amsterdam decided on the construction of a metro system in 1968. Under the original plan, four lines were to be built, connecting the entire city and replacing many of the existing tram lines. The following lines were planned: an east-west line from the southeast to the Osdorp district via Amsterdam Centraal railway station; a circle line from the western harbor area to the suburban town of Diemen; a north-south line from the northern district via Amsterdam Centraal to Weteringplantsoen traffic circle, with two branches at both ends; and a second east-west line from Geuzenveld district to Gaasperplas. The system would be constructed gradually and was expected to be completed by the end of the 1990s.
The first part of the original plan to be carried out was the construction of the Oostlijn (East Line), which started in 1970. The East Line links the city centre with the large-scale Bijlmermeer residential developments in the south-east of the city. It opened in 1977. The East Line starts underground, crossing the city centre and adjacent neighbourhouds in the eastern districts until Amsterdam Amstel railway station, where it continues above ground in southeastern direction. At Van der Madeweg metro station, the line splits into two branches: the Gein Branch for Route 54 and Gaasperplas Branch for Route 53. Since 1980, the northern terminus for both routes is Amsterdam Centraal railway station. During the construction of the metro tunnel, the decision to demolish the Nieuwmarkt neighbourhoud in the city centre led to strong protests in the spring of 1975 from action groups consisting of locals and members of the highly active Amsterdam squatting movement. Wall decorations at the Nieuwmarkt metro station are a reference to the protests, which are known as the Nieuwmarkt Riots (Nieuwmarktrellen).
Despite the protests, construction of the metro line continued but plans to build a highway through the area were abandoned. In addition, the original plans for an east-west metro line were cancelled. One of the sites where this line was to connect with the East Line had already been built underneath Weesperplein station. This lower level of Weesperplein station was never opened to the public, but its existence can still be noticed by the elevator buttons. Since the East Line was planned and built during the Cold War, Weesperplein station also features a bomb shelter which has never been used as such.
In 1990 the Amstelveenlijn (Amstelveen Line) was opened, which is used for Route 51. Under a political compromise between the city of Amsterdam and the municipality of Amstelveen, the northern section of the line was built as a metro line while the southern section is an extended tram line. Therefore, Route 51 was originally referred to as a 'sneltram' (express tram) service, and the vehicles were manufactured to light rail standards. The changeover between third rail and overhead tramline power takes place at Zuid Station.
In 1997 the Ringlijn (Ring Line), which is used for Route 50, was added to the system. The line provides a rapid transit connection between the south and the west of the city, eliminating the necessity of crossing the city centre.
Since 1997, the Amsterdam metro system consists of four metro routes. The oldest routes are Route 54 (Centraal Station-Gein) and Route 53 (Centraal Station-Gaasperplas). Both routes are using the Oostlijn (East Line) infrastructure, which was completed in 1977. Route 51 (Centraal Station-Amstelveen Westwijk), using part of the East Line as well as the Amstelveenlijn (Amstelveen Line), was added in 1990. The most recent addition is Route 50 (Isolatorweg-Gein) using the Ringlijn (Ring Line or Circle Line), which was completed in 1997, as well as part of the East Line infrastructure. A fifth line, Route 52 (Noord Station-Zuid Station), will be added to the network once the Noord-Zuidlijn (North-South Line) is completed, which is projected for 2017.
There are 33 full metro stations, and 19 express tram stops on Route 51, for a total of 52 stations in the network. When Route 52 on the new North-South Line opens, six additional stations and 9.5 kilometres (5.9 mi) of route will be added to the metro system, yielding a new combined network length of 52 kilometres (32 mi).
|Route||Line(s) used||Colour||From/To||Opening||Length||Stations||Passengers (2009)||Type|
|50||Ring Line, East Line (Gein Branch)||Green||Isolatorweg – Gein||1997||20.1 km (12.5 mi)||20||100,200||Metro|
|51||Amstelveen Line, East Line||Orange||Westwijk – Centraal Station||1990||?||29||60,800||Light rail|
|52||North-South Line||Blue||Noord Station - Zuid Station||2017 (projected)||9.5 km (5.9 mi)||8||n/a||Metro|
|53||East Line, Gaasperplas Branch||Red||Gaasperplas – Centraal Station||1977||11.3 km (7.0 mi)||14||60,600||Metro|
|54||East Line, Gein Branch||Yellow||Gein – Centraal Station||1977||12.1 km (7.5 mi)||15||73,500||Metro|
East Line (Routes 53 and 54)
On October 14, 1977, the first metro train ran on the Oostlijn (East Line) from Weesperplein to Amsterdam-Zuidoost, with two branches respectively going to Gaasperplas (now Route 53) and Holendrecht (now Route 54). Spaklerweg station was completed as a shell, but opened later. On October 11, 1980, both routes were extended to Amsterdam Centraal Station, which is now their northern terminus. The Gein Branch was extended in southern direction on August 27, 1982, when the section between Holendrecht and Gein was completed. Spaklerweg station was then opened. In some plans for the Gein Branch, an extension to Weesp and Almere was being considered. According to the most recent regional planning study, that now seems unlikely.
A notable part of the East Line infrastructure is a dual metro overpass on the Gaasperplas Branch in the Bijlmermeer district between Ganzenhoef and Kraaiennest stations. This 1100 meter long colonnade contains two single crossovers, each consisting of 33 pillars carrying 33 meter long beams. The center-to-center distance between the two overpasses is 15 meters. This exceptional height was necessary because the metro had to bridge the main thoroughfares in the Bijlmermeer district which were built on a system of raised embankments and viaducts.
The stations, the infrastructure and the Diemen-Zuid maintenance facility of the East Line were designed by Ben Spängberg and Sier van Rhijn, two architects at the former Public Works Department of the City of Amsterdam. Their designs in Brutalist style are characterized by large-scale application of bare concrete and excessive space in the underground station halls. It also included a sophisticated use of colour. For example, the red colour of the train doors in the original design was also used at major facilities such as billboards, gates, elevator doors, bins, and the platform signage. For the design of the entire East Line Spängberg and Van Rhijn received Merkelbach Award in 1979. The East Line was also awarded the Betonprijs (Concrete Award) in 1981, which is commemorated by the award plaques in the concourses of Centraal Station and Gein Station.
As part of the city's policy that one percent of construction budgets for public works had to be spent on art, all stations on the Oostlijn have been decorated by different artists. In addition, the western wall of the underground tunnel was painted with lines and patterns which altered between two stations, providing passengers with a fascinating view during the ride. Over the years, these decorations have completely been covered with graffiti. Some of the station art works have also disappeared. Plans to remove all art works as part of the large-scale renovation of the East Line tunnel in 2012 were altered after citizens' protests stating their historical significance.
Over the years, several stations along the East Line were expanded or renovated. Since 2003, the metro station at Amsterdam Centraal Station has been continuously under construction in order to accommodate the new North-South Line station. As part of commercial development of the area surrounding the Amsterdam Arena football stadium, which included a new major business and shopping district, the Bijlmer Arena station was substantially enlarged in order to handle the increasing number of passengers. The new station, designed by Grimshaw and Arcadis Articon Architects, opened in 2007 and was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Another East Line station, Kraaiennest on Route 53, was reconstructed and upgraded in 2013 as part of the major urban renewal efforts in the Bijlmermeer district. The station designed by Maccreanor Lavington features a stainless steel facade with a floral design, which, according to the architects, "allows the station to be a lantern for the local neighbourhood, creating a sense of warmth on street level and creating an instantly recognisable feature for the station" at night time. The design was awarded the 2014 EU Stirling Prize.
A major overhaul of sixteen East Line stations was announced in June 2014. The renovation works taking place from 2015 until 2017 should bring more light and space to the stations. By removing paint layers on the walls, the original Brutalist architecture will become more pronounced. In addition, disused tickets offices are to be removed and lighting and signage will be improved.
Amstelveen Line (Route 51)
Following the Nieuwmarkt Riots in 1975, the next major expension of the metro network into the bordering city of Amstelveen was politically sensitive. When the decision was made to begin construction of the Amstelveenlijn (Amstelveen Line) in 1984, it was originally considered an express tram service rather than a fully-fledged metro route. On December 1, 1990, the section running from Spaklerweg to Poortwachter Station in Amstelveen was completed. As the sensitivity surrounding the metro expansion waned in the 1990s, the route was increasingly being referred to as a metro service. On September 13, 2004, an extension to Amstelveen Westwijk was completed.
Originally, the entire trajectory of the Amstelveen Line from Spaklerweg, where it connects with the East Line, to Amstelveen was to be powered via overhead wiring. Eventually, it was decided to use a third rail between Spaklerweg and Zuid station in order to be able to increase metro service on this section of the line during exhibitions at the RAI convention centre, and overhead wiring on the southern section into Amstelveen.
The line was officially opened on November 30, 1990, replacing the overcrowded bus route 67. The equipment, lightrail series S1 and S2, was built between 1990 and 1994 by Belgian manufacturer BN in Bruges. From 1994, a total of 25 light rail vehicles was in operation. Since the extension to Westwijk in 2004, a number of S3 series trains are sometimes used on this route, raising the total number of vehicles available to 29.
Shortly before the opening, two lightrail vehicles had collided during trial runs, which reduced the number of vehicles available for the route to 11. Because of the lack of equipment and startup problems, the route was initially operated with limited service. In February, 1991, heavy snowfall, continuing technical problems and equipment shortages led to the decision to limit the route to the trajectory between Centraal Station and Zuid Station for nearly seven months, with replacement bus services on the remain trajectory into Amstelveen.
From Centraal Station to Amsterdam Zuid Station, Route 51 runs as a full metro service and has no at-grade intersections. The lightrail vehicles on the line are powered by a third rail with the line being suitable for 3 meter (10 ft) wide trams. The BN vehicles, however, have a width of 2,65 meters (8 ft 6in) which is the maximum width on the southern section of the line between Zuid Station and Westwijk. In order to bridge the gap between the trains and the platforms in northern section, the vehicles are equipped with retractable footboards at the doors. In addition, the vehicles are equipped with pantographs in order to retrieve power from the overhead wiring on the southern section. From Zuid Station to Westwijk, the route operates as an express tram service. On the northern half of this section, Metro Route 51 shares tracks with Tram Route 5. Dual height platforms are provided at the overlapping stops for Metro Route 51 and Tram Route 5 vehicles.
After the completion of the Noord-Zuidlijn (North-South Line) in 2017 there will be no more room at Amsterdam Zuid Station for Route 51 to continue as express tram service into Amstelveen. According to a long-term regional planning study of 2011, the Amstelveenlijn was to be upgraded to a fully-fledged metro service. On March 12, 2013, however, the regional council of the City Region of Amsterdam decided that Route 51 will be replaced by an improved express tram service running from Westwijk to Zuid Station and a separate metro service running from Zuid Station and Amstel Station. Passengers from Amstelveen will then be required to change at Zuid Station to the metro route for Amstel or to the new Route 52 for Centraal Station. It was also decided that Tram Route 5 will continue to run between Amstelveen and Centraal Station. Conversion of the southern section of the Amstelveen Line will start in 2016, with the works expected to be completed in 2020.
Ring Line (Route 50)
Opened on June 1, 1997, the Ringlijn (Ring Line or Circle Line) is entirely built on embankments and viaducts, and has no level crossings. The line was initially for political reasons called "express circle tram", but since the opening of the Ring Line the transit service on the line is referred to as a Metro Route 50 (Gein - Isolatorweg). Because it was originally considered a tram line, the light rail vehicle width of 2,65 meters was to be applied; the width that was also used on the Amstelveen Line. The new "trams" (Series M4 / S3) have retractable running boards to bridge the space between the vehicle and the platform at existing stations. Since Route 50 proved hugely popular, the express tram vehicles were insufficient to handle the number of passengers. Instead of ordering additional vehicles, in 2000 the city of Amsterdam decided to adjust the platforms at the stations between Amstelveenseweg and Isolatorweg, whereby the older rolling stock (M1, M2 and M3) serving on the East Line could also serve on the Ring Line. Such an operation was already taken into account during the construction of the stations.
In 2002 the construction of the Noord-Zuidlijn (North-South Line) was started. The new metro line will be the first to go from the Amsterdam North district, underneath the IJ. From there, it will run via Amsterdam Centraal to Amsterdam Zuid, which is planned to become, after Amsterdam Centraal, the second biggest transport hub in the city. The line includes a mixture of bored tunnels and immersed tunnels under the river IJ.
The construction programme has experienced several difficulties, mainly at Amsterdam Centraal, resulting in the project running more than 40% over budget and the opening being delayed several times. The project initially had a budget of €1,46 billion, but after several setbacks the total cost estimation has been adjusted to €3,1 billion (price level 2009). The original planned opening was for 2011 but as of June 2014[update] completion is scheduled for 2017.
The tram line to IJburg in the east was originally planned to be a metro line. For this reason, a short tunnel was constructed eastwards from Centraal Station underneath the railway lines. As this line was eventually constructed for tram services, the tunnel had been abandoned, and there are plans to use it as part of a chocolate museum. There are still plans for the tram to IJburg to be upgraded to metro and connect to the nearby city of Almere.
As of August 2014, there are 119 train sets in use within the Amsterdam Metro system. The oldest fleet, types M1, M2 and M3, are two-cars sets of 4-axle cars manufactured by the German firm Linke-Hofmann which are used on Routes 53 and 54, with occasional use on Route 50. These first-generation trains, delivered between 1973 and 1980, are nicknamed zilvermeeuw (herring gull because of their body of unpainted steel creating a silvery look. In 2009, all trains were provided with a new interior design by different artists. As they are at the end of their life cycle and spare parts are no longer available, an increasing number of M1-M3 trains have gone out of service permanently. Since June 2013, they are gradually being replaced by the modern M5 trains.
The rest of the fleet consists of two section, 6-axle units. Types S1 and S2, manufactured by Belgian BN, run on Route 51. Both are third rail shoe and pantograph equipped. In addition, they are equipped with retractable foot boards to accommodate operation on the main metro and the Route 51 tram section. Type S3, built by Spain's CAF, are only third rail equipped and operate on Route 50. Four vehicles of the same series, type M4, have been equipped to also serve on Route 51. The platforms on Route 50 are narrower than those on Routes 53 and 54. Consequently, the M4s have foot boards to permit boarding on the section that Route 50 shares with Route 54.
The newest addition to the Amsterdam Metro fleet is the M5 series, manufactured by the French manufacturer Alstom. The city of Amsterdam has commissioned a fleet of 28 six-car metro trains based on Alstom Metropolis series, of which variants are in use in several foreign metro systems including those of Barcelona, Budapest, Santiago and Shanghai. Although the trains are suitable for unmanned service, they will remain to be controlled by drivers.
The initial order of M5 series metro train sets, each carrying up to 1,000 passengers, was made to replace the old M1-M3 metro trains on the East Line as well as to increase overall capacity on the generally overstretched metro system. For the new Route 52 on the North-South Line, due to open in 2017, an option was taken on a second series of 12 trains which originally was designated as M6. However, all trains of this type are now being referred to as M5 by metro operator GVB.
The Amsterdam Metro system uses standard gauge track, operating on 750 V DC third rail. As Route 51 is a hybrid between metro and light rail, it uses 750 V DC third rail power on the shared metro tracks between Centraal Station and Zuid Station, and shared tramway track between Zuid and Amstelveen Centrum, continuing with the tram-style overhead at 600 V DC to Westwijk.
|Series M1, M2 and M3
Full metro units for operation on Route 50 (mostly m4/S4), 53 and 54
Built by LHB (44 units total)
|Cars per unit: 2
Length: 37.5 m
Width: 3.0 m
Weight (fully loaded): 54.0 tonnes (75.0 tonnes)
Maximum speed: 70 km/h
Power: 4 x 195 kW
DC power supply: 750 volts
|Series S1 and S2
Hybrid metro/tram units for operation on Route 51
Built by BN (25 units total)
|Cars per unit: 2
Length: 30.6 m
Width: 2.65 m
Weight (fully loaded): 48.5 tonnes (72.0 tonnes)
Maximum speed: 70 km/h
Power: 6 x 77 kW
DC power supply: 600/750 volts
|Series S3 and M4
Light metro units for operation on Routes 50 and 51, sometimes operates on Route 53
Built by CAF (33 S3 units, 4 M4 units)
|Cars per unit: 2
Length: 30.9 m
Width: 2.7 m
Weight (fully loaded): 48.0 tonnes (72.0 tonnes)
Maximum speed: 70 km/h
Power: 6 x 70 kW
DC power supply: 750 volts
Full metro units for Routes 50, 53, 54 and planned Route 52
Built by Alstom (28 units total)
|Cars per unit: 6
Length: 116.2 m
Width: 3.0 m
Weight: 190 tonnes
Maximum speed: 90 km/h
Power: 16x200 kW
DC power supply: 750 volts
The OV-chipkaart, a contactless smart card, is the only valid form of ticket on the metro system. It replaced the so-called strippenkaart system on August 27, 2009, after the two systems had run parallel since 2006. Ticket barriers have been installed in larger stations, with free-standing card readers where platforms are shared with train or tram lines. Smaller stations are only equipped with free-standing card readers.
Signage on the Amsterdam metro system features multiple designs stemming from different eras. The original 1974 signage uses the typeface M.O.L., which was specially designed by Gerard Unger and is still in use on some stations. The openings within the letters are larger than normal in order to improve the letters' legibility when illuminated. The name M.O.L. refers to the Dutch word mol which means mole in English. The idea to use a mole as the mascot for the metro was rejected by city authorities. Other designs include the 1995 version found mainly on Route 50 and the 2009 version which replaced most of the signs on the other three routes. Both are designed by Mijksenaar.
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- Media related to Metro, Amsterdam (category) at Wikimedia Commons
- GVB - official website (English)
- Metro map at the GVB website