Helsinki tram

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Helsinki tram
Variotram Helsinki 2008-11-24.jpg
Variotram at Senaatintori
MLNRV Hakaniemi 2010-05-03.JPG
Valmet MLNRV in Hakaniemi
Overview
Locale Helsinki, Finland
Transit type Tram
Number of lines 13[1]
Daily ridership 200,000 (weekdays)[2]
Operation
Began operation 1891
Operator(s) HKL
Number of vehicles 132
Technical
System length 117.1 km (72.8 mi); only 96 km (59.7 mi) open to passenger traffic[3]
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
Minimum radius of curvature 15 m (49.2 ft)
Electrification 600 V DC
overhead lines[4]
System map

Helsinki tram map.png

The Helsinki tram network forms part of the Helsinki public transport system organised by Helsinki Regional Transport Authority and operated by Helsinki City Transport (Finnish: Helsingin kaupungin liikenne, Swedish: Helsingfors stads trafikverk) in the Finnish capital city of Helsinki. The trams are the main means of transport in the city centre. 56.7 million trips were made in 2013.[5] The Helsinki system is one of the oldest electrified tram networks in the world.

Lines[edit]

Lines[edit]

There are 13 tram lines in operation.[1] In 2013, approximately 38 km (23.6 mi) of double track and 288 tram stops were in passenger traffic use[5] (the single-track length of the entire system is 117.1 km (72.8 mi)).

Helsinki tram lines as of 13 August 2013
Designation From Via To Service hours[A] Depot
1[I] Market Square Kallio Käpylä 10:00–15:00 Koskela
1A[I] Eira Market Square, Kallio 06:00–09:30
15:00–18:30
2 Kaivopuisto Market Square, Töölö Nordenskiöldinkatu (Eläintarha) 06:00–01:30 Koskela
3 Punavuori, Kallio
4 Katajanokka Mannerheimintie Munkkiniemi 06:00–01:30 Töölö
4T[C] Katajanokka ferry terminal 10:00–11:30
16:00–17:00
6 Hietalahti Hakaniemi Arabia 06:00–23:30 Koskela
6T[J] West Harbour ferry terminal Hietalahti, Hakaniemi 14:00–22:30 Koskela
7A[D] Senate Square Töölö, Pasila Senate Square 06:00–23:30 Koskela / Töölö
7B[E] Pasila, Töölö
8 Jätkäsaari Sörnäinen Arabia 06:00–23:30 Koskela
9 West Harbour ferry terminal Kallio Itä-Pasila 06:00–24:00 Koskela
10 Kirurgi Mannerheimintie Pikku Huopalahti 06:00–23:30 Töölö

Additional lines[edit]

In addition to the 13 regular lines two special ones exist: the museum line operated by Helsinki City Transport in collaboration with Oy Stadin Ratikat Ab[6] and the Spårakoff pub tram, both of which run during the summer months. These lines do not appear in the route map included with this article.

Additional tram lines as of summer 2012
Designation From Via To Service hours[A] Depot
-[F] Market Square Kruunuhaka, Rautatientori Market Square 10:00–17:00[G]
PUB[E] Rautatientori Kallio, Töölö, Market Square Rautatientori 14:00–21:00[H]
  • A Approximate week day figures in 24-hour clock. Accurate times at HSL site.
  • B Trams on lines 2 and 3 actually run to opposite direction in a figure-of-eight circular only changing their line signs at the terminuses.
  • C Ferry arrival and departure times only.
  • D Clockwise circular.
  • E Counter-clockwise circular.
  • F Non-numbered museum line.
  • G Summer weekends only.
  • H Summers only.
  • I Weekdays only.
  • J Weekends only

Technology and infrastructure[edit]

Two Valmet Nr I trams, the one in the front on line 4 and the one behind on its way to Töölö tram depot.

The tram network is built almost exclusively on the streets of Helsinki, making it a traditional tram system rather than a light rail one. The track gauge is one metre. The network consists almost entirely of double track. In some parts the tracks are separated from other road traffic; elsewhere they share road space with cars and buses.

The trams are powered with electricity conveyed by overhead wires. Trams have their own traffic lights, distinguished from normal lights in that they are based on symbols of single colour: an upward-pointing arrow signifies "go", a horizontal line "prepare to stop" and the letter S "stop". The traffic lights are synchronised to allow tram and bus traffic to flow relatively smoothly. This system is called HeLMi (Helsinki Public Transport Signal Priority and Passenger Information). [7]

Depots[edit]

Töölö tram depot.

As of 2010, there are four tram depots/workshops in Helsinki; HKL-maintained depots in Töölö, Vallila and Koskela, and a Bombardier Transportation-maintained workshop at Pasilan konepaja.

  • The Töölö depot houses trams running on lines 4 and 10, as well as some of those on lines 7A and 7B, approximately one third of the whole rolling stock. The Helsinki tram museum is located next to the Töölö depot. Between 1948 and 1974 the Töölö depot also housed the trolleybuses used on Helsinki's sole trolleybus line.[8]
  • The Vallila depot houses repair-, paint- and rebuilding facilities, and administrative functions.[9]
  • The Koskela depot is the largest tram depot in Helsinki. It houses approximately two thirds of trams in the city, and contains training facilities.[10] The Koskela depot is linked to the main Helsinki tram network by a long section of double track that is not used by passenger-serving trams.[11]
  • The Pasilan konepaja tram workshop was established in mid-2008 by Bombardier transportation as a repair shop for the Helsinki Variotrams,[12] the maintenance of which became Bombardier's responsibility in May 2008.[13] The workshop takes up a part of the former VR Group electric locomotive workshop at Pasilan konepaja. As of August 2008, the workshop does not have a permanent link to the tram network (although tracks run just outside the depot doors); instead, portable tracks are used to run the trams to and from the workshop.[12]

Planning process is under way (as of October 2008) for excavating a new underground tram depot in the base rock below the existing Vallila depot and adjacent city blocks. The underground depot is planned to have facilities for housing 180 trams plus repair facilities and staff parking spaces.[14][15] The underground depot would partially or completely replace the Koskela depot, which is inconveniently located far from normally operated tram lines and would require major reconstruction if kept in use.[16] An alternative is rebuilding and expanding the Koskela depot, but this is projected to be more expensive than the planned underground depot.[17]

Rolling stock[edit]

Helsinki City Transport (HKL) has up to 124 tram units that can be used in scheduled passenger service (February 2015). HKL reported that it used 97 trams to operate peak-time scheduled traffic in the spring of 2013.[5] Additionally, there are six trams in reserve and eight in charter use. The MLNRV I and II series (rebuilt Valmet NrI and NrII units), MLNRV Variotram, and Valmet NrI series comprise the current backbone of the fleet, but HKL is in the process of receiving 40 new Transtech Artic units.

In 2006—2012, the whole Valmet Nr II+ series underwent a major modification process in which a 6.5 m (21 ft 4 in) low-floor midsection was fitted in the tram. The type designation was changed from Nr II+ to MLNRV to reflect the modifications made, and the extended trams were re-introduced in traffic gradually as the modification works completed. During the process, HKL decided to also rebuild ten of the older Nr I trams in the same way, which brought the total number of MLNRV trams to 52 by mid-2014, when the works were completed.

The low-floor Variotram units, acquired in 1998-2003, proved to be unreliable, which caused a shortage of operable trams. Starting in 2004, HKL purchased ten DUEWAG series second-hand trams from the German town of Mannheim to cover for the shortage. Eventually arrangements were made with Bombardier, the manufacturer of the Variotrams, to keep a sufficient number of the units in operation. All of the DUEWAG units were either withdrawn or relegated to charter service by the end of 2014.

As of February 2015, HKL is in the process of acquiring 40 new low-floor trams from the from the Finnish manufacturer Transtech Oy.[18] Two prototype units were delivered in 2013, and each entered passenger service approximately two months after delivery. The production series deliveries are expected to start in 2015. The order is worth €113 million and it includes an option for a further 90 trams.

The Transtech Artic has a double-articulated, eight-axle design. It is 27.3 m (89 ft 7 in) long and has 74 fixed seats, 14 foldable seats and space for 75 standee passengers.[18] The design has a 100% low floor and conventional, turning bogies designed to run without problems on Helsinki's challenging old-fashioned track network.[19]

To ease the construction of new tram tracks into Jätkäsaari (construction started in 2009) (see below), the acquisition of bi-directional trams was considered.[20] However, HKL decided to build the Jätkäsaari extensions with conventional return loops and to use existing unidirectional rolling stock. The next time bi-directional rolling stock might be considered is the conversion of the orbital trunk bus line 550 (formerly branded Jokeri) (see below) into light rail.

The following table lists the current rolling stock. Corresponding articles have further details about the cars in use.

Rolling stock as of February 2015
Tram Type No. of units Car # Built Acquired Modified Seats Standees L[F] W[G] H[H] S[I] C[J] R[K]
d MLNRV III Transtech Artic 2 l 401—440 2012— 2013— 88 125 27.6 2.4 3.8 ×
c MLNRV II (Valmet Nr II) 42 f71—112 1983—1987 1983—1987 1996—2006, 2008—2012 49 120 26.5 2.3 3.7 ×
c MLNRV I (Valmet Nr I) 10 f113—122 1973—1975 1973—1975 1993—2003, 2005, 2012–2014 49 120 26.5 2.3 3.7 ×
d MLRV Bombardier Variotram 40 l 201—240 1998—2003 1998—2003 55 80 24.4 2.3 3.7 ×
a NRV (Valmet Nr I) 30 d 31—70 1973—1975 1973—1975 1993—2003, 2005 39 106 20.1 2.3 3.7 ×
g DUEWAG GT8N 1 k 166 1962, 1964 2007—2008 1991—1992 55 120 25.7 2.2 3.8 ×
f DUEWAG GT8 1 h 150 1967 2004 1970, 2004 64 140 25.7 2.2 3.8 ×
j HRO A7 1 g 135 1928 1928 1988 21 26 10.2 2.1 3.7 ×
i HRO A4 1 j 157 1930 1930 1987 21 26 10.2 2.1 3.7 ×
l Karia HM IV 1 m 320 1955 1955 1985 29 69 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
h Valmet RM 1 2 n 332, 339[L] 1955 1955 1987, 2003—2004 29 69 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
m Karia HM V 6 c 9—14, 175[M] 1959 1959 2004—2007 31 57 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
k HRO A9 1 b BS 1[N] 1917 2007 2007 28 0 11.5 2.2 ×
Totals 138 6,094[O] 12,870[P] 124 8 6

F Car length in meters
G Car width in meters
H Car height in meters with pantograph
I Scheduled service
J Charter service
K Reserve units

L Number 339 is owned by Oy Stadin Ratikat Ab.
M Number 175 is a restaurant tram and is counted as charter.
N A replica of Brändö Spårvägs Ab tram number 1 from 1917.
O 6,346 seats in scheduled service; 245 seats in charter service; 186 seats in reserve.
P 13,552 standees in scheduled service; 405 standees in charter service; 342 standees in reserve.
Reference for the tabular data: Finnish Tramway Society

History[edit]

Planned extension of the network[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Helsinki City Transport

Finnish Tramway Society

Helsingin Sanomat

Miscellaneous

External links[edit]