Planned extension of the Helsinki tram network

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Decided and proposed expansions to the Helsinki tram network. Existing tracks in dark green and grey.

The city of Helsinki has plans for a radical expansion of the tram network within the 2021-2035 time horizon, as laid out in the proposed Helsinki City Plan (to be approved by the end of 2016).[1] Below is a list of confirmed and proposed future expansions of the network. The largest confirmed project is the 25-kilometre (16 mi) trunk line 550 ("Jokeri").

The construction of some of the expansions listed below as trolleybus lines was studied in a 2009 report by Helsinki City Transport,[2][3][4] but the city decided to drop the trolleybus plans for the foreseeable future in 2011.

Reorganisation of the tram lines[edit]

The board of Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) approved a plan for the reorganisation of the tram lines on 10 February 2015.[5] The plan is meant to respond to the changing transportation needs as the new districts of the city in former brownfield sites (Jätkäsaari, Hernesaari, Kalasatama, Keski-Pasila, Kruunuvuorenranta) are built. The reorganisation is to be carried out in stages in 2016–24. The concept of the plan is to make the most of the existing track network and to assume only minimal construction of new track. According to the plan, the 2/3 and 7A/7B loops will be changed to linear routes and a new, short, peak-time line number 5 from Katajanokka ferry terminal to the Central Railway Station will serve ferry passengers. Jätkäsaari will be served by lines 7, 8 and 9, and line 6 will be routed to the new district of Hernesaari. The tramway to the new district of Kruunuvuorenranta over a new, kilometre-long bridge was left to be planned separately, as the design of that line is dependent on a number of other decisions, including whether to close down the Hanasaari coal-fired power plant. The ten lines in 2024 according to the plan are as follows[6] (see reference for a map):

  1. Eira – Käpylä (via Töölö)
  2. Kaivopuisto – Pasila
  3. Kaivopuisto – Meilahti
  4. Katajanokka – Munkkiniemi
  5. Katajanokka ferry terminal – Central Railway Station
  6. Hernesaari – Arabia
  7. Jätkäsaari – Meilahti (via Kallio and Pasila)
  8. Jätkäsaari – Arabia
  9. Jätkäsaari – Ilmala
  10. Kirurgi – Pikku Huopalahti

Improvements to the connectivity and capacity of the network[edit]

A number of short segments of new track in areas already covered by the network are being planned in order to improve the connectivity and capacity of the network.

Reijolankatu[edit]

A short, 250-metre (270 yd) segment along Reijolankatu that connects the tramway on Nordenskiöldinkatu to the tracks on Mannerheimintie in the northbound direction is being planned.[7] The addition is expected to be completed in 2017 and it is required for the planned reorganisation of the lines, specifically for routing lines 3 and 7 from Pasila to Meilahti.

Topeliuksenkatu[edit]

The planned tracks would run along Topeliuksenkatu from Runeberginkatu to Mannerheimintie, in parallel to the tramway on Mannerheimintie. This would provide additional capacity and a faster route in the direction of Mannerheimintie. The Topeliuksenkatu tramway is widely considered to be a requirement for further extensions of lines 4 and 10, which include the Munkkivuori extension. This tramway was one of the proposals in a 2006 study named "Ratikka 2015" ("Tram 2015"). [8][9][10]

Fredrikinkatu[edit]

In Kamppi the tracks on the north and south ends of Fredrikinkatu are separated by a 530-metre (0.3 mi) gap. New tracks are planned along Fredrikinkatu between the junctions at Bulevardi (south end) and Malminrinne/Urho Kekkosen Katu (north end) to connect this gap and provide a parallel north-south connection to the congested main tramway along Mannerheimintie.

Extensions to new areas[edit]

The opening of the Vuosaari Harbour in 2008 freed up harbour areas in Jätkäsaari and Kalasatama near the city centre, as well as the oil terminal in Kruunuvuorenranta on the Laajasalo island, for development. A large rail yard in Pasila, which was used for handling freight rail traffic to Jätkäsaari and Kalasatama, was also freed up. Helsinki is developing all four areas as new mixed-use urban districts, and in each case, the city decided to base the public transport in these areas on extensions to the tram network. (Pasila has a railway station that is served by all of the commuter trains, and Kalasatama has a metro station.)

Jätkäsaari and Hernesaari[edit]

The building of tramways in Jätkäsaari has proceeded along with the construction of the buildings of the new district. The use of bi-directional trams was considered for the tramway extensions,[11] but in the end, HKL decided to build the tracks with conventional return loops and to dismantle temporary loops as necessary.

The approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) long first phase of the extension of line 8 from Ruoholahti over a new bridge to Saukonpaasi in Jätkäsaari was completed in 2011 and opened for passenger traffic on 1 January 2012. In the second phase, the extension of line 9 from Kamppi to the ferry terminal in Jätkäsaari was opened on 13 August 2012. In 2014, a variant of line 6, named 6T, was also routed to the ferry terminal in order to deal with the peaks in demand.

Next, tracks will be built on Välimenrenkatu street, which will connect the two tramways that currently extend to Jätkäsaari. The current tracks to the ferry terminal will also be extended further to a new terminal that is to be built. As of May 2015, these two extensions are expected to be completed in 2017 and 2018. In the final phase, the ends of the tracks at Saukonpaasi (currently line 8 terminus) and at the ferry terminal will be connected by a new stretch of track, whose completion has been preliminarily scheduled for 2025.

Various versions of the lines and routes to Jätkäsaari have been proposed since the beginning of the planning.[8][12][13][14][15] In the plan approved in February 2015 (see Reorganisation), the lines to Jätkäsaari will ultimately be 7 (via Tyynenmenrenkatu), 8 (via Ruoholahti) and 9 (via Välimerenkatu).

By 2025 line 6 will be rerouted from its current terminus at Hietalahti south to Hernesaari via Eiranranta.[13][16] As of May 2015, the stretch to Eiranranta is to be completed in 2018 and the extension to Hernesaari in 2024.

Kalasatama[edit]

The construction of new housing in the former harbour area of Kalasatama began in 2011. Kalasatama is served by a metro station, and the city has not built tramways in advance of the housing in Kalasatama in the way it has done in Jätkäsaari. At least two tram lines are planned to be extended into the Kalasatama area, one from the city centre in the south over new bridges (alignment to be decided), and one from the west from Hämeenkatu.[9][17][18] As of May 2015, these are to be completed in 2021 and 2023 (see Funding plan).

Laajasalo[edit]

New residential areas are to be constructed to the island of Laajasalo, to the east of Helsinki city centre, between 2010 and 2025. Following a recommendation by the public transport committee,[17][19] the Helsinki city council decided on 12 November 2008 that the new residential areas would be linked to the Helsinki city centre by a tram connection built on bridges from Kruununhaka via Tervasaari, Sompasaari and Korkeasaari across the Kruunuvuorenselkä sea area and into Kruunuvuorenranta.[20] Three tram lines are projected to be constructed into Laajasalo; one will terminate in the residential development area of Kruunuvuorenranta, a second will extend into Yliskylä and a third line run into the southern central part of Laajasalo.[17]

The main competing alternative, an extension of Helsinki Metro, was found to be notably more expensive to construct and was projected to attract smaller passenger numbers than the tram.[9][18]

In addition to the approved three lines into Laajasalo, the city council approved a motion that in the further planning of the Laajasalo area tram, expanding the tram network to the Herttoniemi metro station should be investigated.[20] Additionally, in case that the military base in Santahamina will be freed for residential construction in the future, provisions will be made for converting the tram lines into a light rail system that would extend into Santahamina in the south and travel in a tunnel from Korkeasaari to Katajanokka, linking with the planned North–South line of the Helsinki Metro.[17]

Ilmala[edit]

Line number 9, opened in August 2008, was originally planned as early as 1990 to link Ilmala with Merikatu in southern Ullanlinna. However, in the first phase of construction, the northern part of the route was truncated into Itä-Pasila in order to cut costs, while the southern terminus was placed in Kolmikulma due to opposition to tram tracks by people living along the planned new line.[11] The connection to Ilmala in the north was planned in 2008 to be completed in 2013,[15] but as of 2012, current projections have postponed the completion to 2017.

Although shortly before the opening of line 9 HKL stated the continuation to Merikatu had been abandoned permanently,[21] within weeks of the opening of the line, extending the route to Merikatu was again proposed, due to complaints from inhabitants of Ullanlinna following the termination of bus line 17. Subsequently the HKL stated they would be "actively acting to expand the tramline to Merikatu".[22] Interlacing the tracks on some sections on Korkeavuorenkatu is under consideration as a space-saving measure, allowing a larger amount of parking space to be maintained along the street.[23] At the time in 2008, HKL stated that a different line would be routed to Merikatu in the case that line 9 would go to Jätkäsaari instead.[24] The southern terminus of line 9 was ultimately extended to the West Harbour ferry terminal in Jätkäsaari and opened for traffic on 13 August 2012.

In addition to lengthening the line, moving the line from Kaarlenkatu and Helsinginkatu to Fleminginkatu in Kallio was proposed on 10 October 2008.[15]

Munkkivuori[edit]

Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) has prepared plans for an extension to the residential area of Munkkivuori. The extension has been debated since the district was built in the 1950s. The bus lines that serve the area carry about 5 million passengers per year as of 2012, which is a sufficient ridership for a tram line. The bus lines have been criticised for being slow and having unpredictable running times. HSL collected comments from the public on several different alignment options in March and April 2012.[25] However, there is no decision on the funding or construction of the extension.

Trunk line 550 ("Jokeri")[edit]

The trunk bus line 550, formerly branded Jokeri ("The Joker", after the playing card), will be converted to light rail. The city councils of Helsinki and Espoo approved the construction project in June 2016,[28][29] after the state of Finland decided to participate in funding the construction. The rail line is preliminarily projected to open in 2021.[30] The construction of the 25-kilometre (16 mi) light rail line, without rolling stock or a depot, is projected to cost €274 million as of June 2016, with rolling stock and a depot projected to additionally cost up to €95 and €65 million.[31]

The current 550 is a 25-kilometre-long (16 mi) orbital bus line that runs roughly parallel to the innermost ring road around Helsinki (Ring I). The 550 runs from the suburban center Itäkeskus in the East to Tapiola in the West, connecting with the commuter rail network at Oulunkylä, Huopalahti, Pitäjänmäki and Leppävaara, and with the Metro in Itäkeskus and, in the future, in Tapiola.

The 550 was originally conceived as a light rail line in 1990, but only realised as a bus line in 2003. The general plans to convert of the congested bus line to light rail were first published in 2009, but the decision to begin construction was only taken in June 2016 after many delays.[32][33][34][35] The municipality of Espoo is planning the western terminus of the rail line at Keilaniemi instead of Tapiola, where the bus currently stops. As at Tapiola, there will be a connection to the Metro at Keilaniemi.

The 550 light rail line will be a very significant development for the Helsinki tram system. The route is located entirely outside the current network, surrounding it; the length of the route will be a large proportion of the total network, and the line is being planned to modern light rail standards (as opposed to the relatively old-fashioned street tram system). However, the new line will be technically compatible with the existing network (1000 mm gauge, low platforms, 600 V DC electrification). Integration with the Helsinki Metro (broad gauge, high platforms, planned driverless operation) was briefly studied in 2003, but it was found to be highly impractical.[36]

Other possibilities[edit]

A private group consisting of members of the Finnish Tramway Society and students of Helsinki University of Technology drew up plans for a new tram line linking Arabia to Pasila railway station in order to improve the public transport connections of Kumpula.[37] Many consider the existing public transport connections sparse and unreliable. The proposed line, provisionally numbered line 5,[38] could either utilise the disused freight railway line in Southern Kumpula[37] or only existing tram tracks, including a stretch on Sturenkatu between Mäkelänkatu and Hämeentie that is only used for depot movements presently.[38] The proposal gained public interest,[39] and on 4 April 2009 the City Planning Board of Helsinki mandated that an official study would be made on a tram line linking Munkkiniemi to Arabia or Kalasatama via Pasila and Kumpula, with proviosions made for further lengthening the line to Otaniemi (in Espoo) in the west and to Viikki in the east.[40]

The possibility of extending line 1 (and 1A) to the Käpylä railway station (or further to Oulunkylä) in the north and rerouting the same line through the unused tracks on Linjat in Kallio have been brought up as possible future projects to improve passenger numbers on the unpopular line.[41] A 2012 proposal for the reorganization of surface traffic after the completion of the "Pisara" connection included an extension of line 1 to the Käpylä station, but for a different reason. The Helsinki City Rail Loop is an underground loop of the commuter railway network that would distribute passengers to three new underground stations in central Helsinki, instead of the existing Central railway station. The proposal for after the city rail loop construction for surface traffic includes a new bus terminal at Käpylä. Bus lines that currently continue to the city centre would terminate at the Käpylä station, where the passengers could make a connection to commuter trains or an extended tram line 1.

In addition to the above, expansion of the tram network from Arabia to Viikki, Käpylä to Koskela and Pikku Huopalahti to Haaga have been mentioned as potential long-term projects.[9]

A construction of a light rail or tram system has also been proposed as a possible solution of arranging public transport in the Östersundom area annexed by Helsinki from Vantaa and Sipoo on 1 January 2009. An extension of the Helsinki Metro was originally planned as the main form of public transport for this area, but on 20 February 2009 a newspaper reported that a light rail system is being studied as an alternative to supplement or replace the Metro connection to this area due to the lower costs of a light rail link.[42][43] If built, the light rail link could be extended as far as the nearby city of Porvoo.[43] Östersundom is located in eastern Helsinki, and as such the proposed new system would be completely unconnected with the currently existing tram system. It could, however, connect with the future Jokeri line in Itäkeskus.

2015 funding plan[edit]

In April 2015, Helsinki City Transport (HKL) approved a plan for funding tram network projects for 2016–25.[44] These plans are subject to continuous reviews and changes. For instance, most of the items listed here are delayed compared to the plan approved in 2012.[45] The allocations of funds are in millions of euros.

Project 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 total, M€
Kruunuvuorenranta bridge (including track and electrification) 0.8 0.8 21.6 32.0 44.1 35.3 17.9 14.0 166.5
Line 9 Pasila–Ilmala 0.3 0.0 1.7 2.2 2.0 1.0 7.2
Reijolankatu 0.5 1.0 1.5
Jätkäsaari, extension to new ferry terminal 1.5 0.9 1.2 2.3
Jätkäsaari, Välimerenkatu 0.1 2.3 2.4
Telakkakatu – Eiranranta 1.0 2.1 1.7 4.8
Trunk line 550 ("Jokeri") 0.6 4.3 6.4 35.0 35.4 35.4 117.1
Topeliuksenkatu 2.0 2.0 2.2 2.2 8.4
Paciuksenkatu grass-surface track 0.4 0.5 0.9
Meilahti return loop 0.5 0.5 1.0
Fredrikinkatu, extension to Bulevardi 1.0 1.5 2.5
Nihti – Kalasatama center 1.0 2.1 3.2 6.3
Kalasatama center – Hämeentie 2.0 2.0 2.0 3.6 9.6
Eiranranta – Hernesaari 0.2 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.7
Vallilanlaakso tramway 1.0 1.0 1.6 3.6
Vartiosaari island 0.4 0.4 4.0 4.8
Munkkivuori 0.5 1.5 2.0

Notes:

  • The Kruunuvuorenranta bridge is planned to be a future landmark in Helsinki, a 1 km long cable-stayed bridge for trams, pedestrians and bicyclists. It is planned to provide a quick connection to the city center from the new district of Kruunuvuorenranta (under construction as of May 2015) as well as existing suburbs on the island of Laajasalo.
  • Trunk line 550 ("Jokeri") extends to the Espoo municipality. This plan only covers HKL's investment for part within the borders of Helsinki.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.yleiskaava.fi/en/city-plan/
  2. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  3. ^ Helsingin Kaupungin Liikennelaitos
  4. ^ Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  5. ^ "Raitioliikenteen linjastosuunnitelma". HSL. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  6. ^ "Raitioliikenteen linjastosuunnitelma, kokonaiskartta, tilanne 2024" (PDF). HSL. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  7. ^ "Reijolankatu". City of Helsinki. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  8. ^ a b Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  9. ^ a b c d Finnish Tramway Society
  10. ^ Kaupunkisuunnittelulautakunta
  11. ^ a b Antero Alku
  12. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  13. ^ a b Joukkoliikennelautakunta
  14. ^ Kaupunkisuunnittelulautakunta
  15. ^ a b c Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  16. ^ Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  17. ^ a b c d Helsingin kaupunki: Kaupunkisuunnitteluvirasto
  18. ^ a b Antero Alku
  19. ^ Joukkoliikennelautakunta
  20. ^ a b Helsingin kaupunginvaltuusto
  21. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  22. ^ Joukkoliikennelautakunta
  23. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  24. ^ Ylen aikainen
  25. ^ "Munkkivuoren raitiotietä suunnitellaan keväällä 2012". HRT. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  26. ^ "Selvitys Raide-Jokerin linjausvaihtoehdoista Espoossa" (PDF). City of Espoo. Retrieved 2015-05-07. 
  27. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  28. ^ http://www.espoo.fi/fi-FI/Asuminen_ja_ymparisto/Valtuuston_paatoksia_1362016(94196)
  29. ^ http://www.hel.fi/static/public/hela/Kaupunginvaltuusto/Suomi/Paatostiedote/2016/Kanslia_2016-06-15_Kvsto_12_Pt/index.html
  30. ^ http://raidejokeri.info/?page_id=47
  31. ^ "Raide-Jokeri, hankesuunnitelma 2015" (PDF). Cities of Espoo and Helsinki. Retrieved 2016-06-16. 
  32. ^ www.kaupunkiliikenne.net
  33. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  34. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  35. ^ www.raidejokeri.info
  36. ^ Antero Alku
  37. ^ a b Antero Alku
  38. ^ a b Antero Alku, Janne Peltola & Jonas Wahlbeck
  39. ^ Helsingin Uutiset
  40. ^ Kaupunkisuunnittelulautakunta
  41. ^ Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  42. ^ Marketta Karjalainen
  43. ^ a b YLE
  44. ^ "Liikenneinvestointien talousarvioehdotus vuodeksi 2016 sekä investointiohjelmaehdotus v. 2017-2025" (PDF). City of Helsinki. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  45. ^ "Liikenneinvestointien talousarvioehdotusvuodeksi 2013 sekäinvestointiohjelmaehdotus vuosiksi 2014-17" (PDF). City of Helsinki. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 

Bibliography[edit]

Helsinki City Transport

Finnish Tramway Society

Helsingin Sanomat

Miscellaneous

External links[edit]