User:Siipikarja/Helsinki tram

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Helsinki tram
Variotram Helsinki 2008-11-24.jpg
Locale Finland Helsinki, Finland
Transit type Tram
Number of lines 12
Daily ridership 200,000 (weekdays)[1]
Began operation 1891
Operator(s) Helsinki City Transport
Number of vehicles 132
System length
110 km (68.4 mi)[2]
Passenger traffic
89.5 km (55.6 mi)[2]
Track gauge 1
Minimum radius of curvature 15 m
System map

Helsinki tram map.png

The Helsinki tram network forms part of the Helsinki public transport system managed by Helsinki City Transport in the Finnish capital city of Helsinki. The trams are the main means of transport within the city centre. 56.6 million trips were made in 2004, which is more than those made with the Helsinki Metro. The Helsinki tram network is one of the oldest electrified tram networks in the world.

Since 1999, new low-floor trams have been gradually introduced to operation, but technical difficulties have slowed down this progress. In 2004, Helsinki City Transport bought old 8-axle trams from Germany for cover during this transitional phase.


There are 12 tram lines in operation as of 30 March 2009.

Museum traffic will be initiated during the summer of 2009 on a counter-clockwise circular route Market SquareKruununhaka—Central railway station—Market Square. During 2009 the traffic will be limited to selected summer weekends, utilising the 1930-built tram number 157 and the 1919-built open trailer 233. More extensive museum traffic will be initiated in 2010. The museum traffic will be jointly operated by Helsinki City Transport and Stadin Ratikat.[3] As of 15 March 2009, no information has been given as to what line number will be assigned to the museum line.

Helsinki Tram Lines as of 30 March 2009
Line number From Via To Service hours[A] Depot
1 Market Square Kallio Käpylä 10:00–15:00 Koskela
1A Eira 06:00–09:30
3B[B] Kaivopuisto Eira, Kallio Eläintarha 06:00–01:30 Koskela
3T[B] Kamppi, Töölö
4 Katajanokka Mannerheimintie Munkkiniemi 06:00–01:30 Töölö
4T[C] Katajanokka ferry terminal 10:00–11:30
6 Hietalahti Hakaniemi Arabia 06:00–23:30 Koskela
7A[D] Senate Square Töölö, Pasila Senate Square 06:00–23:30 Koskela
7B[E] Pasila, Töölö
8 Salmisaari Sörnäinen Arabia 06:00–23:30 Koskela
9 Kolmikulma Kallio Itä-Pasila 06:00–23:30 Koskela
10 Kirurgi Mannerheimintie Pikku Huopalahti 06:00–23:30 Töölö
A Approximate week day figures in 24-hour clock. Accurate times at HKL site.
B Together lines 3B and 3T form a figure-of-eight circular.
C Ferry arrival and departure times only.
D Counter-clockwise circular.
E Clockwise circular.

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, not a light rail one. The tracks have a track gauge of one metre. The network consists almost exclusively of double track. In some parts the tracks are separated from other road traffic, whereas elsewhere tracks lie on lanes that cars and buses may also use.

The trams are powered with electricity that is conveyed by overhead wires. Trams have their own traffic lights, which are 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). [4]


Töölö tram depot.

As of 2008, 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, 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.[5]
  • The Vallila depot houses repair-, paint- and rebuilding facilities, and administrative functions.[6]
  • The Koskela depot is the largest tram depot in Helsinki. It houses approximately two thirds of trams in the city, and contains training facilities.[7] 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.[8]
  • The Pasilan konepaja tram workshop was established in mid-2008 by Bombardier transportation as a repair shop for the Helsinki Variotrams,[9] the maintenance of which became Bombardier's responsibility in May 2008.[10] 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.[9]

Planning process is underway (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.[11][12] The underground depot would partially or completely replace the Koskela depot, which is inconviniently located far from normally operated tram lines and would require a major reconstruction if kept in use.[13] An alternative is rebuilding and expanding the Koskela depot, but this is projected to be more expensive than the planned underground depot.[14]

Rolling stock[edit]

Helsinki City Transport operates the tram network with a total of 132 trams in scheduled passenger service. In addition there are six trams in reserve and eight in charter use. The Valmet Nr I+, Valmet Nr II+ and Variotram series comprise the backbone of the network. Both Finn made and German made vehicles are in use. All of the 42 Nr II+ series trams are undergoing a major modification process in which a 6.5 m (21 ft 4 in) low-floor midsection is fitted to. HKL purchased ten DUEWAG series second-hand trams from the German town of Mannheim to cover for the shortage of rolling stock caused by the problems with the Variotrams.

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

Rolling stock as of April 2009
Tram Type Car # Built Acquired Modified Seats Standees L[F] W[G] H[H] S[I] C[J] R[K]
a Finland   Valmet Nr I+ d 31—70 1973—1975 1973—1975 1993—2003, 2005… 39 106 20.1 2.3 3.7 ×
b Finland   Valmet Nr II+ e   71—112[L] 1983—1987 1983—1987 1996—2005 39 100 20 2.3 3.7 ×
c Finland Germany   MLNRV f 76, 80, 85, 86 1983—1987 1983—1987 2006… 49 120 26.5 2.3 3.7 ×
d Germany   Variotram l 201—240 1998—2003 1998—2003 55 80 24.4 2.3 3.7 ×
e Germany   DUEWAG GT6 i 151—154 1970 2005 52 93 19.1 2.2 3.8 ×
g Germany   DUEWAG GT8N k 161—166 1962, 1964 2007—2008 1991—1992 55 120 25.7 2.2 3.8 ×
j Finland   HRO A7 g 135 1928 1928 1988 21 26 10.2 2.1 3.7 ×
i Finland   HRO A4 j 157 1930 1930 1987 21 26 10.2 2.1 3.7 ×
l Finland   Karia HM IV m 320 1955 1955 1985 29 69 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
h Finland   Valmet RM 1 n 332, 339[M] 1955 1955 1987, 2003—2004 29 69 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
m Finland   Karia HM V c 9-14, 175[N] 1959 1959 2004—2007 31 57 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
f Germany   DUEWAG GT8 h 150 1967 2004 1970, 2004 64 140 25.7 2.2 3.8 ×
k Finland   HRO A9 b BS 1[O] 1917 2007 2007 28 0 11.5 2.2 ×
Totals 146 6387[P] 13519[Q] 132 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 Excluding the cars fitted with a low-floor mid-section.
M Number 339 is owned by Oy Stadin Ratikat Ab.
N Number 175 is a restaurant tram and is counted as charter.
O A replica of Brändö Spårvägs Ab tram number 1 from 1917.
P Of which 5956 is in scheduled service, 245 in charter service and 186 in reserve.
Q Of which 12772 is in scheduled service, 405 in charter service and 342 in reserve.
Reference for the tabular data: Finnish Tramway Society

Future acquisitions[edit]

A CROTRAM TMK 2200 tram in test use on line 6.

HKL are planning to acquire an additional forty trams, to be delivered 2009–2016.[15] €59 million have been allocated for this purpose for the years 2009-2011.[16] In addition to the 40 trams to be initially acquired, the call for bids for the acquisition of new trams also includes three options for a total of 90 additional units that can be utilised within 72 months of the signing of the initial contract.[17]

In preparation for the acquisition of new trams, in 2007–2008 one CROTRAM TMK 2200 type tram built in Croatia was used for test running in Helsinki.[18] Due to the hilly nature of Helsinki's tram network compared to that of Zagreb (for which the TMK 2200 type was designed), the TMK 2200 could only be operated on the relatively flat-terrain lines 6 and 8.[19] The tram performed technically without problems. Passenger feedback was largely negative, but mostly concerned issues—such as the seating arrangements—that would be changed if the type were mass-produced for HKL.[20][21] At least ten different tram manufacturer had reportedly expressed interest in supplying the new trams in the call for bids that was opened in late 2008.[17][22] In addition to CROTRAM, at least Stadler Rail, Heiter Blick (in collaboration with Vossloh), Škoda and Siemens were presumed to be amongst the companies interested in submitting tenders.[23] In the end nine different suppliers submitted tenders.[24]

The HKL have also made designs for a tram concept of their own, which would be optimised for Helsinki's tram network. It is not known if these designs will be realised or which company would build them should they be brought to production.[25][26] The designs drawn up by the HKL are very similar to the VAMOS Helsinki design that Heiter Blick and Vossloh are believed to submit in their tender.[23]

To ease the construction of new tram tracks into Jätkäsaari in 2009-2015 (see below) the acquisition of double-ended trams is also under consideration. No new trams are available to be delivered by the time these are needed, therefore the only option is to acquire these trams second-hand.[27]


Today, Helsinki is the only city in Finland to still have tram traffic. Two other Finnish cities—Turku (see Turku tram) and Vyborg (Finnish: Viipuri, Swedish: Viborg, Russian: Вы́борг; now part of Russia)—have had tram systems. Vyborg abandoned its trams in 1957, after the city had been ceded to the Soviet Union following the result of World War II. Turku stopped its trams in 1972.

1890–1900: Horse-drawn single-track lines[edit]

The first proposals for the construction of a tram system into Helsinki were made in 1870s, but they were at the time unsuccessful.[28] Public transport in Helsinki was initiated in 1988 by Helsingin omnibussiosakeyhtiö, using horse-drawn omnibuses.[29][30] In 1889 Helsingin Omnibussiosakeyhtiö acquired the right to construct tram lines in Helsinki. The following year the company changed its name in Helsingin raitiotie- ja omnibussiosakeyhtiö (abbreviated HRO). Electric traction was considered as a power source for the new system, but due to lack of funds and the city council's negative attitude towards electric trams, the decision was made to use horse-drawn trams instead.[29][31] The new system was built to a rail gauge of one metre. Test traffic started in December 1890, but the network wasn't officially opened for traffic until June 1891. The capacity of the horse tram system soon proved insufficient, but the changeover into electrified trams was postproned while waiting for the price of electrification of the network to drop.[28][31]

The slowness of the electrification process was the source of conflict within the HRO, and during the latter half of the 1890s Julius Tallberg acquired the right to construct an orbital tram system around the city, that would have linked together the existing HRO lines and parts of the city not covered by the HRO lines. Following negotiations Tallberg and his associates transferred the construction permit of the orbital line to the HRO in return for a large number of HRO stocks.[31]

1900–1908: Electric single-track lines[edit]

In 1897 HRO received the right to construct an electrified tramway into Helsinki. A call for bids was sent out the following year, and the contract was awarded to the Germany-based O.L. Kummer. By terms on the agreement Kummer had to construct and electrify the new tram system as well as construct the trams used on it, and the company would be responsible for trafficking the new system for up to three years in order to ensure good quality of construction. Electrification of the network was mostly completed in 1900,[32]with one short horse-drawn line lingering until 1901.[33] Kummer had made notable profits from operating the new electrified system, and already in 1901 HRO assumed responsibility for operating the tram network.[32] Following the electrification the number of lines grew into four, but all lines remained single-track. At the same time colours were taken into use as line identifiers.[34]

Within a few years the single-track lines proved insufficient to meet the passenger demand, but the majority of stock owners were unwilling to fund the conversion into double track, while Julius Tallberg and his associates were strongly for the conversion. In 1906 Tallberg and his supporters acquired a stock majority in the HRO, and during the same year the company applied for and received a permission to convert their track network into double track. The contract also specified certain lines that HRO had to operate, as well as certain extensions that had to be built.[35]

A replica of Brändö Spårvägsaktiebolag's 1917-built tram number 1 at Kauppatori in 2008.


The contract for converting the tram network into double track was awarded to the Swedish ASEA. Conversion work begun in 1908 and was completed in 1910. From 1908 until 1919 ASEA also supplied the HRO with a total of 78 trams and 70 trailers.[35] In 1909 Brändö Villastad Ab, a company constructing a garden city in the island of Kulosaari (then a part of Helsingin maalaiskunta), and HRO reached an agreement for linking Kulosaari into the Helsinki tram network. The track onwards from the existing HRO line in Sörnäinen was built by Brändö Villastad Ab, who was also responsible for the upkeep of the track, as well as the tram ferry required to cross the Kuorekarinsalmi sea area between Sörnäinen and Kulosaari. Traffic on the new connection was operated by HRO, and service begun in 1910 using existing HRO trams.[36] In 1916 Brändö Spårvägsaktiebolag, which had been created as a separate company to take care of the Kulosaari tram tracks, ordered two new trams of its own. Due to World War I these were not delivered until 1919, and even after they had been delivered HRO remained in charge of trafficking the line. In 1919 a bridge between Kulosaari and the mainland was also completed.[37]

In 1913 the HRO begun expanding its tram network for the first time since 1901, when the tracks were expanded from Hakaniemi to Alppila.[35] During the same year the City of Helsinki acquired the stock majority of HRO, but HRO remained an independent company.[38] The following year the network was also expanded into Taka-Töölö and Hermanni. After this the World War I made it impossible to acquire electric wires and points required for construction.[35]

A restored HKL tram from 1928 or 1930.

The construction of non-HRO owned tram lines continued when in 1914 new tram tracks owned by Aktiebolaget M.G. Stenius were opened to traffic, linking the existing HRO tracks in Töölö to Munkkiniemi and Haaga. As with the Kulosaari tramline, HRO was responsible for trafficking on these lines.[8][39] In 1926 HRO acquired Aktiebolaget M.G. Stenius and two years later Brändö Spårvägsaktiebolag also passed under HRO ownership. As a result HRO again became the sole owner and operator of trams in Helsinki.[8] During the same year line numbers and letters were taken into use as line identifiers alongside colours.[40] Lines serving the city were identified with numbers, while suburban lines were identified with letters.

The tram network reached its apex in 1930, when the network covered a larger area than ever before of after (as of 2008), and there were 14 lines in operation.[29]


In the end of 1944 the City of Helsinki had acquired the entirety of HRO, which now became a municipal transport authority under the name Helsingin Kaupungin Liikennelaitos (HKL).[38][41] This had little to no effect in tram operations. In 1950 secondary line identifier letters were taken into use to distinguish rush hour services from the standard routes (for example 1A, KA. The second letter was a capital letter but in a smaller size from the first).[40] In 1953 the usage of letters as the primary line identifier ended, and the following year line colours were also abandoned.[40]

Trams remained the main public transport system until the 1950s and 1960s, when the city rapidly sprawled and private cars became increasingly common; the new suburbs came to be served mainly by buses and commuter trains. During the 1940s and 1950s plans were drawn for a large light rail network incorporating into the tram system, which would have served major suburban centers; in preparation for this the new Kulosaari bridge (built 1956) featured a reserved space for tram tracks, while the new tram depot was built in Koskela next to a planned northeast light rail line—new tracks had to be built linking the depot to the existing network. As of August 2008, this track along Kustaa Vaasan tie has never been used in normal passenger traffic.[8] During the 1950s a total of 105 Finnish-built double-bogie trams (Karia types HM IV and HM V, Valmet types RM 1 and RM 3) were delivered to the HKL.[41]

Tram number 11, type HM V, on Line 2 in September 1999.

During the 1960s all plans for expanding the tram network were put on hold while resources were concentrated on the planning of the metro and additional bus connections. At the same time plans were drawn for the termination of the tram network by the year 2000. In 1969 Helsinki city council made the decision that in the future tramlines would be confined to the inner city, while the metro would serve the suburban areas; the tram system would be terminated, at earliest in the year 2000. This decision required the acquisition of new trams to replace the last two-axle trams, the oldest of which dated from the 1920s. Originally the plan was to acquire fairly new second-hand articulated Düwag GT6 trams from Copenhagen, but the deal fell through and in the end new articulated trams were acquired from Valmet (type Nr I) in 1973–1975. These trams were planned to be the last trams to be acquired for traffic in Helsinki.[8] In a break from tradition the Nr I trams were originally painted in an orange/grey colours scheme instead of the traditional green/yellow, integrating their visual appearance with the Dm 8 and Dm 9 express DMUs of the Finnish State Railways[42], as well as the Helsinki metro, which was in testing phase at the time.[43][44]

1976 onwards[edit]

During the early 1970s the decision to terminate the tram system was reconsidered and eventually reversed. In 1976 the tram network was expanded for the first time since 1955, when the new connection into Itä-Pasila was opened (then line 2, presentline 7). Another expansion was opened in 1980, when tracks in Katajanokka were expanded eastward to a new residential area (then line 5, present line 4). In 1981 another group of articulated trams, based on the Nr I type, were ordered from Valmet. Classified as Nr II, these trams were delivered between 1983 and 1987, allowing the withdrawal of the majority of the 1950s-built trams (types HM IV and RM 1 in their entirety), as well as withdrawal of all trailers. In 1985 the tram network was extended to Länsi-Pasila[8] (line 7). Around the same time the tram lines were radically reorganised.

Düwag GT6 trams were first considered for acquisition into Helsinki in 1968. Trams of this type were finally acquired in 2005 to cover for the tram shortage caused by problems with the Variotrams. A GT6 tram in commercial livery on line 6, September 2006.

The next expansion of the track lineage occurred in 1991, when the connection from Ruskeasuo to Pikku-Huopalahti was opened (line 10). From 1999 onwards, HKL purchased a new fleet of low-floor Variotram trams from ADtranz (Bombardier Transportation since 2001). The new generation trams suffered from persistent technical difficulties and frequent break-downs; the entire batch having been refitted by the manufacturer in Germany.[15] To cover for the missing trams, the city bought ten second-hand trams from Mannheim, Germany. To help pay for the second-hand trams, HKL was allowed to cover six of the extra trams completely in advertising, a sight rarely seen before on the streets of Helsinki.[45] In 2004 the network was expanded again, this time by lengthening the tracks from Arabia into the new residential development area in Arabianranta[46] (lines 6 and 8). On 2008-08-10 the new line number 9 was opened, connecting Kolmikulma in central Helsinki to East-Pasila and replacing bus line number 17. This marked the opening of the first new tramline in Helsinki since the (re-)opening of line 2 in 1976, and the first time that a bus line had been replaced with a tram line.

Route history[edit]

During the history of tram traffic in Helsinki, the routes of various lines have been altered, sometimes radically, and line designations have been changed or swapped between different routes. For instance, the still-existing line 1 (also knows as the green line 1900–1926) has run on 22 different routes/route variants since the line was first opened in 1890.[33][34][47] The following is a simplified list designed to give a basic impression of what the tram network was like during different eras. Various short-lived route changes and rush hour services are ignored to ease reading.

1890–1901: horse-drawn trams[edit]

  • TöölöKaivopuisto. Shortened, then closed down in 1900. Replaced by the Yellow Line in the new electrified tramway.
  • Sörnäinen—Lapinlahdenkatu. Shortened in 1900, closed down in 1901. Replaced by the Green and Red Lines in the new electrified tramway.[33]


  • Green: Eira—Sörnäinen (1900–1901), Katajanokka—Eira—Sörnäinen (1901–1907, combination of green and blue lines), Kauppatori—Sörnäinen (1907–1910).
  • Yellow: Töölö—Kaivopuisto (1900–1908).
  • Blue: Töölö/Mariankatu (present-day Presidential Palace)—Hietalahti (1900–1901). Combined into the Green Line 1901–1907. Katajanokka—Hietalahti (1907–1909).
  • Red: Ylioppilastalo/LapinlahtiKruunuhaka (1900–1907), Lapinlahti—Kallio (1907–1909).[34]


Helsinki tram network in 1920-1922.

In addition to the lines owned by Helsingin Raitiotie- ja Omnibussiosakeyhtiö, one line was owned by Brändö Spårvägsaktiebolag, two lines by Aktiebolaget M.G. Stenius as well as one line owned by Julius Tallberg in Lauttasaari.

  • Green: Eira—Hermanni (1910–1931).[47]
  • Yellow: Töölö—KaivopuistoRautatientori/Hakaniemi (1908–1922), Eira—Kallio—Töölö—Kauppatori—Eira (figure-of-eight circular, 1922–2009)[48]
  • Yellow-White: Katajanokka—Hietalahti (1909–1926), Etu-TöölöKirurgi (1924–1926). Two lines operated under the same colours 1924–1926.[49]
  • Red: Lapinlahti—Hakaniemi/Alppila (1909–1925).[46]
  • White: Sörnäinen/Kauppatori—Kulosaari (1910–1951). Brändö Spårvägsaktiebolag owned the line from Sörnäinen onwards as well as the rolling stock. HRO operated the service. Between 1910 and 1919 the trams were carried across Kuorekarinsalmi sea area by a ferry.[50]
  • Blue-Yellow: Ylioppilastalo/Kauppatori—Haaga (1914–1926). Aktiebolaget M.G. Stenius owned the line from Laakso onwards. HRO operated the service using their own trams.[39][51]
  • Red-Yellow: Ylioppilastalo/Kauppatori—Munkkiniemi (1914–1926). Aktiebolaget M.G. Stenius owned the line from Laakso onwards. HRO operated the service using their own trams.[39][52]
  • Lauttalaituri—Katajaharjunniemi (1913–1917). A Julius Tallberg -owned horse tram line operated on the island of Lauttasaari, using former HRO trams.[33][39][53]


Helsinki tram network in 1946-1949.

In 1926 HRO acquired both Aktiebolaget M.G. Stenius and two years later Brändö Spårvägsaktiebolag, becoming the sole tram operator in Helsinki. During 1926 year numbers and/or letters were taken into use as identifiers of different lines alongside colours.

  • 1 (green): Eira—Hermanni/Arabia (1910–1949), Eira—Vallila—Salmisaari (1949–1953, combination of lines 1 and 8).[47]
  • 2 (green-white): Kauppatori—Hermanni (1926—1928). Not operated 1928–1939. Etu-Töölö—Hakaniemi/Harjutori (1939–1951). Not operated 1951–1976.[54]
  • 3 (yellow): Eira—Kallio—Töölö—Kauppatori—Eira (1922–2009), figure-of-eight circular.[48]
  • 4 (blue): Hietalahti—Töölö/Meilahti (1926–1951).[55]
  • 5 / 5A (yellow-white): Etu-Töölö—Katajanokka (1926–1955; 1929–1939 as 5A).[49]
    • 5B: Etu-Töölö—Kauppatori (1929–1939).[49]
  • 6 (red): Lapinlahti—Hakaniemi/Hermanni/Arabia (1926–1959).[46]
  • 7 (red-white): Kirurgi—Linjat (1926—1949). Not operated 1949–1951. Töölö—Sörnäinen—Rautatientori (circular, 1951–1980).[56]
  • 8 (blue-white): Ruoholahti/Salmisaari—Töölö/Vallila (1929–1949). Not operated 1949–1953 (combined into line 1).[57]
  • 9 (blue-yellow): ErottajaRuskeasuo (1939–1946).[58]
  • 10 (white): EläintarhaLänsi-Pasila (1928–1952).[59]
  • 11 (white): Kauppatori—Hermanni (1944).[60]
  • 12 (white, later red-yellow): Erottaja/Kirurgi—Taka-Töölö/Ruskeasuo (1944–1957).[61]
    • 12S: Arabia—Ruskeasuo (1950–1955), rush hour and night-time service.[61]
  • B/KB (white, later green-yellow): Kauppatori—Kulosaari (1913–1951). Tram traffic to Kulosaari terminated in 1951, in part due to the poor condition of the wooden bridge connecting the island to the mainland.[36][50]
  • H (blue-yellow): Erottaja/Ruskeasuo/Diakonissalaitos—Haaga (1926–1953).[51]
  • K (green-red): Vallila/Kauppatori—Käpylä (1925–1953). Combined into line 1 1953[62]
  • M (red-yellow): Erottaja—Munkkiniemi (1926–1951).[52]
  • W (green-white): Kauppatori—Arabia (1926–1931).[63]


Helsinki tram network in 1976 and 1977.

The usage of letters as the main line identifier ended in 1953. Line colours were abandoned in 1954.

  • 1: Eira/Kauppatori—Käpylä (1954 onwards).[47]
    • 1A: Eira—Käpylä (1954–1976), rush hour service.[47]
  • 2: Kauppatori—Itä-Pasila (1976–1985).[54]
  • 3B, 3T: Eira—Kallio—Töölö—Kauppatori—Eira (1922–2009), figure-of-eight circular.[48]
  • 4: Hietalahti/Kirurgi—Munkkiniemi (1951–1985).[55]
    • 4S: Kauppatori—Munkkiniemi (1951–1981), rush-hour service.[55]
    • 4A: Erottaja—Munkkiniemi (1956–1966), rush-hour and night-time service.[55]
    • 4N: Katajanokka—Munkkiniemi (1973–1985), night-time service.[55]
  • 5: Katajanokka—Töölö (1955–1985).[49]
  • 6: Lapinlahti/Hietalahti—Arabia (1945 onwards).[46]
  • 7: Töölö—Sörnäinen—Rautatientori (circular, 1951–1980), Hakaniemi—Töölö—Harjutori (1980–1984).[56]
  • 8: Salmisaari—Vallila (1953–1984).[57]
    • 8K: Salmisaari—Käpylä (1953–1962), rush-hour service.[57]
  • 9: Kauppatori—Vallila (1953–1976).[58]
  • 10: Erottaja/Kirugi/Linjat—Ruskeasuo (1955–1985).[59]
    • 10A: Käpylä—Ruskeasuo (1955–1958), rush-hour service; Arabia—Ruskeasuo (1959–1964), night-time service.[59]
    • 10S: Kauppatori—Ruskeasuo (1955–1977), rush-hour service.[59]
    • 10N: Erottaja—Ruskeasuo (1957–1959), Arabia—Ruskeasuo (1965–1977), night-time services.[59]
  • 12: Kirurgi/Linjat/Hietalahti—Ruskeasuo (1949–1962).[61]
    • 12S: Arabia—Ruskeasuo (1950–1955), rush hour and night-time service.[61]
  • 15: Linjat—Laakso (1954–1957).[64]

1985 onwards[edit]

Helsinki tram network in 1995-1997
  • 1: Kauppatori—Käpylä (1954 onwards).[47]
    • 1A: Eira—Käpylä (1985 onwards), rush hour service.[47]
  • 2: Kauppatori—Linjat (1985–1992), Katajanokka ferry terminal—Linjat (1992–2005).[54]
  • 3B, 3T: Eira—Kallio—Töölö—Kauppatori—Eira (1922–2009), figure-of-eight circular.[48]
    • 3B: Kaivopuisto—Eira—Kallio—Eläintarha (2009 onwards), forms a figure-of-eight circular together with line 3T.[48]
    • 3T: Kaivopuisto—Kamppi—Töölö—Elaintarha (2009 onwards), forms a figure-of-eight circular together with line 3B.[48]
  • 4: Katajanokka—Munkkiniemi (1985 onwards).[55]
    • 4T: Katajanokka ferry terminal—Munkkiniemi (2004 onwards).[55]
  • 6: Hietalahti—Arabia (1959 onwards).[46]
  • 7A, 7B: Pasila—Töölö—Rautatientori/Senaatintori (1985 onwards).[56]
  • 8: Salmisaari—Sörnäinen—Vallila/Arabia (1984 onwards).[57]
  • 9: Kolmikulma—Kallio—Itä-Pasila (2008 onwards).[58]
  • 10: Kirurgi—Ruskeasuo/Pikku-Huopalahti (1985 onwards).[59]

Planned extension of the network[edit]

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

Helsinki Transport Council have made plans for a radical expansion of the tram network within the next 20-30 years. In addition to the rerouting of lines 3B and 3T in early 2009, the following expansions of the tram network have been proposed:

Jätkäsaari and Munkkisaari[edit]

The freight harbour area in Jätkäsaari will be freed for residential construction in late 2008 when the new freight harbour in Vuosaari is opened. A tram connection tying the new area into the city center is in advanced planning stages. In the most recent proposal, approved by the public transport council on 11 December 2008, line 8 will be expanded into the new area from the north and another line (possibly line 9) from the east via Kamppi. By 2025 line 6 will be rerouted from its current terminus at Hietalahti south to Munkkisaari.[65][66] An earlier proposal featured the extension of lines 6, 8 and 9 into Jätkäsaari, but this was subsequently altered.[67][68] Tracks are planned to be built as housing construction of the area advances, with the first sections to be laid in 2009.[69] Phase 1 of the extension is to be completed in 2010, phase 2 in 2011 and the final third phase after 2015.[16][65] To eliminate the need of building temporary return loops as the construction progresses, the acquisition of second-hand double-ended trams to be used on lines extending into Jätkäsaari is under consideration.[27]


New residential areas are to be constructed to the island of Laajasalo, to the east of Helsinki city center, between 2010 and 2025. Following a recommendation by the public transport council,[70][71] the Helsinki city council decided on 12 November 2008 that the new residential areas would be linked to the Helsinki city center by a tram connection built on bridges from Kruununhaka via Tervasaari, Sompasaari and Korkeasaari across the Kruunuvuorenselkä sea area and into Kruunuvuorenranta.[72] 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.[70]

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.[73][74]

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.[72] 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.[70]

Extensions to line 9[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, particularly due to the fact that the amount of parking space would have decreased along the streets where new tracks would have been laid.[27] The connection to Ilmala is to be completed constructed 2010-2012, and to be opened for traffic in 2013.[16]

Although shortly before the opening of line 9 HKL stated the continuation to Merikatu had been abandoned permanently,[2] 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".[75] 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.[76] In addition to extending line 9 to Merikatu, plans have been made for extending line 9 into Jätkäsaari instead. Should Jätkäsaari be chosen as the southern terminus for line 9, a different line would be routed to Merikatu in its place.[77]

In addition to lengthening the line, moving the line from Kaarlenkatu and Helsinginkatu to Fleminginkatu in Kallio was proposed on 10 October 2008.[16]


Like the harbour area in Jätkäsaari, the freight harbour in Kalasatama will be freed for residential construction in late 2008 when the new freight harbour in Vuosaari is opened. Tram connection is considered as the means of connecting the new residential area with the city center (although there is also an existing metro station in the northern part of the area). Two tram lines are planned to be extended into the Kalasatama area, one from the west via Merihaka and another from the south, utilizing the Tervasaari-Sompasaari bridge that will be built for the Laajasalo tram connection.[70][73][74]

Munkkiniemi–Arabia/Kalasatama line[edit]

In order to improve the public transport connections of Kumpula, considered by many to low and unreliable,[78] a private group consisting of members of the Finnish Tramway Society and students of Helsinki University of Technology drew up plans for for a new tram line linking Arabia to Pasila railway station. The proposed line, provisionally numbered line 5,[79] could either utilise the disused freight railway line in Southern Kumpula[78] or only existing tram tracks, including a on Sturenkatu between Mäkelänkatu and Hämeentie presently only used for depot movements.[79] The proposal gained interest from the public,[80] 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 lenghtening the line to Otaniemi (in Espoo) in the west and Viikki in the east.[81]

Tram 2015 study[edit]

In 2006 a study named Ratikka 2015 ("Tram 2015"), a proposal was made for a tram connection to Jätkäsaari, Munkkisaari, Ilmala and Kalasatama as well as expanding the network to Munkkivuori. Variants proposed in the study also included several possibilities for additional track lineage within the main parts of the city already served by trams, as well as the creation of new lines, or even closing down existing lines.[73][82] Although the HKL are planning on building a tram connection to Jätkäsaari, the route alternatives under consideration are not the same as proposed in the Ratikka 2015 study.[68][82]


In 1990 a plan was made for a circular light rail route connecting Itäkeskus in eastern Helsinki to Leppävaara in western Espoo via various suburbs in eastern and northern Helsinki. The planned line was named Jokeri ("The Joker", after the playing card). Due to small projected passenger numbers the line was eventually realised in 2003 as a bus connection, with an upgrade into a rail service planned to be constructed after 2030. After the line was opened passenger numbers exceeded expectations and available capacity, and the planning process for converting the route to a light rail service was started in 2008.[84] The rail-joker connection is planned to be realised either with a rail gauge of 1, making it compatible with the existing Helsinki tram network, or a gauge of 1524, making it compatible with the Helsinki Metro and the Finnish railway network.[85] A previous study made in 2003 about the integration of a possible light rail system into the existing heavy rail -type Helsinki Metro had come to the conclusion that such an integration would be difficult without implementing large-scale changes to the Metro network, or alternatively would require the utilization of unpractical and expensive solutions for the light rail system.[86]

According to a decision made in 2007, the construction of the rail-joker is to begin in 2016 at earliest.[87] The preliminary project plan is due to be completed in 2009.[88] In February 2009 it was reported that the cities of Helsinki and Espoo are now hoping to have the construction of the Rail-joker completed by 2016.[83]

Other possibilities[edit]

The possibility of extending line 1 (and 1A) to Käpylä railway station (or further to Oulunkylä) in the north and rerouting the same line through the disused tracks on Linjat in Kallio have been brought up as possible future projects to improve passenger numbers on the unpopular line.[89]

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.[73]

A construction of a light rail or tram system has also been proposed as a possible solution of arranging public transport in the 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 spplement or supplant the Metro connection to this area.[90] The annexed area 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 Rail-joker in Itäkeskus.


  1. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  2. ^ a b c Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  3. ^ Stadin Ratikat
  4. ^ Helsinki Urban Traffic Control Centre
  5. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  6. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  7. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  8. ^ a b c d e f
  9. ^ a b Finnish Tramway Society
  10. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  11. ^ Helsingin Kaupunki: Kaupunkisuunnitteluvirasto
  12. ^ Helsingin Kaupunki: Kaupunkisuunnitteluvirasto
  13. ^
  14. ^ Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  15. ^ a b Helsingin Sanomat
  16. ^ a b c d Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  17. ^ a b Hankintailmoitus, erityisalat: Helsingin kaupunki: Raitiovaunujen hankinta
  18. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  19. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  20. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  21. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  22. ^ Marja Salomaa/
  23. ^ a b Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  24. ^ Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  25. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b c Antero Alku
  28. ^ a b Hanna Sirkiä
  29. ^ a b c Antero Alku, pp. 20-21
  30. ^ Timo Herranen, pp. 29-31
  31. ^ a b c Timo Herranen, pp. 37-45
  32. ^ a b Timo Herranen, pp. 46-49
  33. ^ a b c d Finnish Tramway Society
  34. ^ a b c Finnish Tramway Society
  35. ^ a b c d Timo Herranen, pp. 50-54
  36. ^ a b Finnish Tramway Society, p. 1
  37. ^ Finnish Tramway Society, p. 3
  38. ^ a b Finnish Tramway Society
  39. ^ a b c d Finnish Tramway Society
  40. ^ a b c Finnish Tramway Society
  41. ^ a b Finnish Tramway Society
  42. ^ Markku Nummelin, pp. 64–74
  43. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  44. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  45. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  46. ^ a b c d e Finnish Tramway Society
  47. ^ a b c d e f g Finnish Tramway Society
  48. ^ a b c d e f Finnish Tramway Society
  49. ^ a b c d Finnish Tramway Society
  50. ^ a b Finnish Tramway Society
  51. ^ a b Finnish Tramway Society
  52. ^ a b Finnish Tramway Society
  53. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  54. ^ a b c d Finnish Tramway Society
  55. ^ a b c d e f g Finnish Tramway Society
  56. ^ a b c Finnish Tramway Society
  57. ^ a b c d Finnish Tramway Society
  58. ^ a b c Finnish Tramway Society
  59. ^ a b c d e f Finnish Tramway Society
  60. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  61. ^ a b c d Finnish Tramway Society
  62. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  63. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  64. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  65. ^ a b Joukkoliikennelautakunta
  66. ^ Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  67. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  68. ^ a b Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  69. ^ Kaupunkisuunnittelulautakunta
  70. ^ a b c d Helsingin kaupunki: Kaupunkisuunnitteluvirasto
  71. ^ Joukkoliikennelautakunta
  72. ^ a b Helsingin kaupunginvaltuusto
  73. ^ a b c d Finnish Tramway Society
  74. ^ a b Antero Alku
  75. ^ Joukkoliikennelautakunta
  76. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  77. ^ Ylen aikainen
  78. ^ a b Antero Alku
  79. ^ a b Antero Alku, Janne Peltola & Jonas Wahlbeck
  80. ^ Helsingin Uutiset
  81. ^ Kaupunkisuunnittelulautakunta
  82. ^ a b Kaupunkisuunnittelulautakunta
  83. ^ a b Helsingin Sanomat
  84. ^
  85. ^ Kaupunkisuunnittelulautakunta
  86. ^ Antero Alku
  87. ^ Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  88. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  89. ^ Mirva Haltia-Holmberg
  90. ^ Marketta Karjalainen


Helsinki City Transport

Finnish Tramway Society

Helsingin Sanomat


See also[edit]

  • Sporalogy - a humorous alternative to astrology that is based on Helsinki trams.

External links[edit]