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Statistics roundup

filed on: 20.01.2009 (20th Jan 2009)

In the wake of various statistic misinformation and exaggeration (including in a recent article in Tramways & Urban Transit), I will attempt to clarify to the best of my information the size of the Zürich tram system.

Route length: 113.1 km (route length is the sum of the individual lengths of all routes, this means that track sections traversed by several routes are counted multiple times, whereas tracks not used by any route are not counted).
System length: 69.6 km (this figure is similar to route length only that sections used by multiple routes are counted once only).
Track length: 166.3 km (this figure is the physical length of all track, double track lines are thus counted twice, the figure is more than double the system length due to depot tracks, sidings and depots access lines).

The above figures are taken from the VBZ website and are for 2007. Since then, the Glattalbahn connecting line in Oerlikon has opened (450m) so I suppose the latter two figures should be increased to 70.1 and 170.5 km respectively.

Glattalbahn construction at airport To consider the total length of the Zürich system as opposed to the strictly VBZ part thereof, the figures for the connected systems should be added. These are Forchbahn (13.1 km) and Glattalbahn (phases 1 and 2: 7.5 km, 12.7 km when phase 3 is completed). The total system length of the interconnected Zürich system is therefore at present 90.7 km — of course within the accuracy of the original figures, rounding errors and possibly a little bit of double counting. With further projects being completed in the coming years, the total figure will edge towards and ultimately pass the 100 km mark. Sources placing the present VBZ figure alone well in excess of 100 km are clearly exaggerated.

Trolleybus: The route length of the trolleybus system is 54.0 km. The VBZ website does not specify the system length, but I guess this is about 52 km as the only significant shared section is the 2 km between Albisriederplatz and Rosengartenstrasse (shared by routes 33 and 72).

Ridership: To add some more statistics, 2007 saw 197.3 milion people use VBZ tram services, 53.2 million use the trolleybus services and 310.0 use total VBZ services. The accumulated distance travelled by all passengers was 360.2 million km (trams) 116.9 million km (trolleybus) and 617.3 million km (total).

Maps can be found on this website in the maps section of the photo gallery, and on the Swiss tram maps section of the www.tundria.com webiste.

This news item is from the 2009 newslog.


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