News roundup, new tram lines
filed on: 25.05.2009 (25th May 2009)
According to reports on Bahnhofplatz.net, planning of the tram line on Rosengartenstrasse is making positive progress, with the company, Ernst Basler + Partner AG, now entrusted with the evaluation of the project. Variants being considered are (1) a tram on the present road (which would involve some major interventions to create a gradient that trams can manage), (2) use of a parallel road, (3) or a tunnel. This tram line was included in VBZ's Vision 2025 (published in 2006), which envisaged its completion by 2010 to permit an orbital link from Milchbuck to Albisriederplatz.
Although I generally welcome new tram projects, this is one case where I feel the present trolleybus (maybe with additional priorities and reserved rights of way) could do the job better. At present normal articulated trolleybuses appear to be coping well, but even if traffic were to increase significantly, double articulated units should provide an adequate solution for the forseeable future. A tram would require significant investments and modifications without necessarily balancing these with similar advantages.
The 5/2009 edition of Schweizer Eisenbahn Revue features multiple articles on trams. Besides covering the Tango's demonstration run in Zürich, an article is also devoted to Stadtbahn Limmattal (or Limmattalbahn), the light rail line projected from the western edge of Zürich to Killwangen Bahnhof. Work on this could begin in 2016 for an opening in 2019 and cost 600 to 700 million Franks. The previous option of phasing the project is not mentioned. Besides the options of using uni or bi-directional rail vehicles, a rubber tyred system is also under consideration. In contrast to earlier descriptions of the line, present planning sees it extended at the Zürich end from Farbhof to Bahnhof Altstetten, so linking into the S-Bahn as well as the urban tram systems here. Such an extension would make through running more difficult however (unless the priority of Tram Route 1 were increased to be completed in time, or the railway lines could be crossed at Bahnhof Altstetten).
There are plans to extend the line at the Western end also, with a continuation into Wettingen and Baden being envisaged. This certainly makes sense as the currently proposed Killwangen terminus is short of the important built up areas around Baden. Baden's conurbation has grown rather assymetrically in favour of Wettingen, and routing an extension through this area would make sense in my opinion. However it would involve crossing the river and the motorway. Finding a route through Wettingen and into central Baden would not be without challenges of its own. Avoiding central Wettingen might be easier, but this would miss a lot of the area's population.
Limmatlbahn now has a webiste of its own. It is rather minimal at present but will hopfeully grow as the project progresses: www.limmattalbahn.ch .
The third tram contribution in the magazine covers the planned Biel tram.
This news item is from the 2009 newslog.
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