Country Profile - Articles and news items

Barcelona’s Line 9/10. The metro of the future has arrived…

Issue 4 2010  •  19 August 2010  •  Dídac Pestaña, Executive Vice President, TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona)

The launch of service of Line 9/10 – the first automatic metro in Spain – is an example of how Barcelona is moving towards automation as a way of providing maximum support and efficiency to the underground public transport system. One of the country’s most relevant technological milestones has thus become a tool in the improvement of the quality of life for the citizens of Barcelona and its metropolitan area.

The longest driverless metro line in Europe – 47.8km-long with 52 stations – is now a tangible reality with its first stretch of 11km, which connects the metropolitan cities of Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Badalona with the La Sagrera interchange in the north of the city of Barcelona, and will be used by thousands of passengers. The Line has a semicircular shape and is forked at both ends. Identification of numbers 9 and 10 with the colours orange and cyan will be operated jointly with the rest of the TMB conventional metro network, the main public transport operator in Catalonia and an international reference in innovation applied to collective mobility.

Geothermal energy as an alternative energy for underground transport

Issue 4 2010  •  19 August 2010  •  Manuel Bravo Puente, Coordinator of Energy Installations in Civil Works, Metro de Madrid

The use of underground geothermal energy, as shown through the practical demonstration in the installations at Pacifico station of the Madrid Metro, makes it possible to heat and cool underground spaces, reducing energy consumption, CO2 emissions and machine maintenance by more than 40%.

We can begin by saying that tunnels, by their very configuration, already act as geothermal exchangers; temperatures in tunnels would remain uniform with small variations year round, if they were not altered by the heat load generated inside them by train traffic, electrical and electronic equipment, lighting, and passengers.

Porto’s new tram-train and the importance of cultural events

Issue 4 2010  •  19 August 2010  •  Teresa Stanislau, Operation Manager, Metro do Porto, Jorge Afonso Morgado, Director of Communication Office, Metro do Porto

The operation of Metro do Porto’s network is a huge challenge – combining the Red and Green suburban lines with the urban service of all the other lines. We intend to provide a different service for long and short distance clients that still offers both comfort and ease of access for all. Our tram-train vehicle made this possible with the segregation of seating areas and the benefits of being a partial low floor vechile.

Our long distance passengers can now comfortably travel on one of the 100 seats watching TV, while at the same time 148 short distance travellers can easily get in and out of the vehicle, even during peak hours when the maximum capacity is required (248 passengers).

A clear strategy for the development of public transport in Helsinki

Issue 3 2010, Past issues  •  30 June 2010  •  Matti Lahdenranta, Managing Director, Helsinki City Transport (HKL)

The Helsinki region ranks high in international benchmarking on public transport. It is well-known that an efficient public transport system is a major success factor in large urban regions. People need to get to work, have meetings to attend, go shopping and visit people. Also, corporate and retail transport should flow smoothly, without any unnecessary delays. In order to maintain a good situation in Helsinki, the organising authority and tram and metro service provider – Helsinki City Transport (HKL) – created, in 2004, a public transport vision for 2012 and strategic actions to achieve the goals for 2005-2012. The question is; how has HKL succeeded to make its vision come true?

The Environmental Impact Assessment for Stage One of the Aarhus LRT

Issue 3 2010, Past issues  •  30 June 2010  •  Ole Sørensen, Light Rail Project Manager, Midttrafik and Lisa Bak Jensen, EIA-Coordinator, COWI A/S

As a consequence of the continual increasing load on the entire traffic system, the city of Aarhus has for some years being working to establish a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. The first stage of the LRT encompasses a connection of the two existing railways (Odderbanen and Grenaabanen) and the construction of approximately 12km of new light rails. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) together with the local authority plan supplement for the first stage of the LRT system has recently been through the second public hearing, and the project has been well received by the public. Therefore, planning for the future work will soon be in place.

Bergen to open its new light rail system – Bybanen

Issue 3 2010, Past issues  •  30 June 2010  •  Thomas J. Potter, Chief Engineer, Bybanen AS

Forty-five years after trams disappeared from the streets of Bergen, 20 years after serious planning began, 10 years after financing was secured through the continuation of the city’s toll ring, five years after design started and two and a half years after the start of construction, Bybanen, the new light rail system in Bergen will be opened by Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway on 22 June 2010. A 20km-long line between the city centre and the Bergen airport at Flesland was approved by the Bergen City Council in March 2000 and a project office, ‘Bybanekontoret’, was established in August 2001 to coordinate the planning and design activities for the system. Due to budgetary constraints, the northern half of the line, from the city centre to Nesttun with a length of 10km, was built with construction starting in January 2008. This article will describe the background for the planned system, details about the political process, the financing scheme, the initial section which will open on 22 June 2010, as well as approved future extensions and planning activities.

Creating a new bus for 21st century London

Issue 2 2010, Past issues  •  11 May 2010  •  Mike Weston, Operations Director of London Buses, Transport for London (TfL)

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, made a manifesto commitment to introduce a new bus catering for the needs and tastes of 21st century London. The new bus will draw some inspiration from the iconic Routemaster, including an open platform at the back. The design will also make use of the latest Green technologies and will satisfy the needs of London and Londoners.

A competition inviting people to submit designs for the bus ran in summer 2008. The competition was open to everyone, from individuals, community groups, school children, through to transport specialists, design studios, industrial and commercial organisations.

The Stratford International extension: Building for the future

Issue 2 2010, Past issues  •  11 May 2010  •  Jonathan Fox, Director, Docklands Light Railway Limited

Transport for London’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is in the final stage of construction of its newest extension, northwards from London’s Canning Town station to Stratford International, the new High Speed 1 station, which is situated in what will be the heart of the Olympic Park. For Eurotransport, DLR Director, Jonathan Fox, tells us some of the key information about the new extension.

“The DLR extension to Stratford International, planned to open in late summer 2010, will meet the growing demand of public transport in the local area and provide a vital connection for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” states Jonathan.

On track for delivering a world class underground network

Issue 2 2010, Past issues  •  11 May 2010  •  Keith Sibley, Stations Delivery Manager, Tube Lines

Over the last seven years the London Underground has been undergoing a major transformation to improve its performance, safety and reliability, thereby improving journeys for millions of passengers. One of the largest capital infrastructure projects in the world, Tube Lines is helping to deliver that vision through a 30 year Public Private Project (PPP) project with London Underground to upgrade the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

The PPP contracts Tube Lines Ltd. to a partnership with London Underground until 2032, with London Underground responsible for time­tabling, staffing and actual operation of the lines and Tube Lines having long-term responsibility for maintenance, renewal and replacement of assets. The extent of the upgrade planned for these assets is extensive, involving some 255 trains, 100 stations, 330 facilities locations, 320km of track and tunnels, 227 escalators, and 112 lifts. However, the multi-billion pound upgrade project also includes improvements to other parts of the network, including bridges, ventilation shafts, lighting, fire protection systems, staff facilities, the Public Address system, the CCTV system, passenger help points, passenger information systems via electronic Visual Information Display signs, right down to the pumps and drains. All of these assets are being maintained and/or upgraded by Tube Lines.

Tough terrain does not stop Stuttgart’s success

Issue 1 2010, Past issues  •  22 February 2010  •  Reinhold Bauer, Member of the Board of Management, Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB)

Stuttgart is a city built on many hills and this results in countless stairs and slopes. Organising public transport in a place like this means you have to be careful not to end up running a network like a rollercoaster! Providing safe, fast and reliable public transport for the people of Stuttgart means a network of bus lines and rail lines winding their way through valleys, up and down slopes and even right through the rock if necessary.

A success story of an innovative concept

Issue 1 2010, Past issues  •  22 February 2010  •  Dr. Walter Casazza, CEO, Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund GmbH (KVV)

In Karlsruhe, a fully developed tram-system has been operating since 1900, and there is also an important railway junction where many main lines and branch lines meet. This situation creates the idea of a track sharing network – connecting the tram and rail network. Using existing infra­structure should help to avoid big investments in new railway or tramlines and a direct connection between the city centre and the countryside makes creating interchanges unnecessary.

The tram-train: perfect in form and function for the city and the region

Issue 1 2010, Past issues  •  22 February 2010  •  Bombardier

The project

On 18 September 2009, the transport auth­orities Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft mbH (AVG) and Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe GmbH (VBK) ordered 30 FLEXITY Swift type dual-system tram-trains from Bombardier Transportation. These ultra-modern and comfortable vehicles, valued at approximately €129 million ($190 million US), will be delivered between August 2011 and September 2013. An option for up to another 45 vehicles has also been agreed.

Implementing Germany’s first large-scale electronic ticketing system

Issue 1 2010, Past issues  •  22 February 2010  •  Prof. Knut Ringat, Managing Director and CEO, Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund GmbH

The Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) passenger transport association is one of the biggest in Europe, and has recently made plans to implement Germany’s first large-scale electronic ticketing system. Specifically for Eurotransport, RMV’s Managing Director and CEO, Prof. Knut Ringat, explains the details behind this new ticketing system and what the future holds, but first is a small overview of RMV.

Keeping Cologne moving

Issue 1 2010, Past issues  •  22 February 2010  •  Jürgen Fenske, CEO, Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe AG

On a daily basis, more than 200,000 people come to Cologne to work, shop and to experience all that the city has to offer. Cologne is a metropolis in the west of Germany and is a big city with an importance for commuters and tourists alike. Public life in a big city means action and motion, i.e. mobility – and the Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe (KVB) provides this mobility with its buses and light-rail vehicles. The KVB is an absolutely essential part of public life – it is the drive and pulse of the city – not least for the approximate one million people living in this city.

RATB’s important modernisation projects

Issue 6 2009, Past issues  •  22 December 2009  •  Gheorghe Aron, General Manager, RATB

RATB is the main surface public transport operator in Romania. From the point of view of density, our public transport network is the fourth largest in Europe with 164 routes (118 bus lines, 26 tramway lines and 20 trolleybus lines), with an overall length of 1,929km double-way. The routes are uniformly distributed, providing convenient transport links and the number of daily trips is approximately 2.3 million.