Tampere light rail
|Tampere light rail planned route map|
The Tampere light rail system is a proposed rail-based public transport system to be built in Tampere, Finland. Studies on the viability of a light rail system in Tampere has been studied since 2001 as parts of regional plans for public transport alongside heavy rail and bus solutions. The current regional public transport plan, TASE 2025, is projected to be complete by the end of 2009, after which the city countil will make the decision on whether or not the proposed system will be realised.
Unlike Turku, another Finnish city that is planning a new light rail system (see Turku light rail), Tampere has not had a previously existing tram or light rail system. The construction of a tram system in Tampere was seriously studied between the years 1907 and 1929, but left unrealised due to the high price of constructing such a system.
TASE 2025 light rail plan
The intermediary TASE 2025 report published in 2007 recommended the creation of a light rail system running alongside major roads linking central Tampere to the suburbs of Vuores and Hervanta in phase 1 (by 2015), Lielahti and Lentävänniemi in phase 2 (2015–2025), with links to Koilliskeskus, Ojala[disambiguation needed]-Lamminrahka and Pirkkala in phase 3 (after 2025). In addition to the light rail system the study recommended the creation of a commuter rail line utilising pre-existing railroad lines as well as improvements into pre-existing bus connections in areas not covered by either rail option. According to these recommendations the initial parts of the light rail system would be opened in 2015. Although technically a light rail system, the system proposed in the TASE 2025 is referred to in Finnish as katuraitiotie, "street tramway", as opposed to the term pikaraitiotie, literally "rapid tramway", which is a commonly used word for all kinds of light rail systems in Finnish, but which has been used almost exclusively for TramTrain-esque systems with a tunnel in the city centre in Tampere.
The length of the proposed light rail system would be 17.6 kilometres (10.9 mi) in phase 1, 24.2 km (15.0 mi) in phase 2 and 43 km (27 mi) in phase 3. The total cost of the system would be 298 million €. The light rail system is projected to make approximately 10 million € of yearly profit, whereas the current all-bus based system generates average losses of 10 million € every year. A subsequent intermediary report submitted on 5 March 2009 proposed four different alternatives for the future development of public transport in Tampere, all of which included the realisation of a light rail system. The initial phase in all four alternatives was the same, but the precise routes and lengths of the subsequent extensions were different. The map in this article is based on the first alternative presented in the 5 March 2009 report.
The city of Tampere asked for tenders from consultants with experience in designing light rail/tram systems during the summer of 2010. The deadline for submitting tenders is on 16 August 2010, after which a consultant is chosen. The plan is that the consultant's report should be ready by the end of April 2011, after which the city council will make the decision on whether or not to proceed with the construction of a light rail system.
1907–1929: tram system
The first official plans for a tram system in Tampere were made in 1907, when a committee was formed to study the construction of the tram system. The study completed in 1909 found the construction of a tram system relatively expensive, but during the first years of the next decade it seemed that Tampere would get a tram system. Eventually the plans were shelved due to World War I. Around the same time plans for tram systems were also made in other Finnish cities: Turku tram was opened in 1908, Vyborg tram in 1912, while Lahti (1907–1917) and Riihimäki (1922) also made serious studies into the matter though their systems too were left unbuilt. After the war, subsequent plans for a tram system in Tampere were made as late as 1929, but these again were not realised.
The construction of a light rail system for Tampere had been discussed since the 1970s, but the decision-makers of the city were hesitant to make any decisions without collaboration with other cities in Finland to keep down costs. In 2001 the city took the initiative in planning a light rail network for when a rail traffic project group was formed to study the construction of such a system by the Finnish Ministry of Traffic and Communication, VR Group and various cities in the Greater Tampere area. The group completed its work in 2004, recommending a tram-train system utising pre-existing railroad sections, newly built track and a tunnel section under central Tampere to avoid traffic jams. The proposed system was named TamTrain as a pun on Tram-Train.
The TamTrain proposal created some criticism as existing urban areas in the region are around major roads, not railroads, and the proposed system would have in fact worsened public transport connections in many areas. The tunnel under the center of the city was also found problematic: constructing the tunnel would have forced the light rail lines to completely bypass important traffic hubs such as TAYS (Tampere University Hospital). Additionally the 1.5 km (0.93 mi) tunnel section, which would have included only three stops, would have constituted 29% of the total price of the 83 km (52 mi) system.
- "Rakennemallivaihtoehdot ja niiden vaikutusten arviointi" (PDF). TASE 2025 (in Finnish). City of Tampere. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
- "Joukkoliikennejärjestelmävaihtoehdot - Vaikutusten arviointi ja suositus Tampereen kaupunkiseudun joukkoliikennejärjestelmäksi" (PDF). TASE 2025 (in Finnish). City of Tampere. March 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
- Alku, Antero (18 April 2004). "Pikaraitiotie kannattava Tampereella". Kaupunkiliikenne.net (in Finnish). Retrieved 28 February 2009.
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- "Tampereen kaupunkiseudun joukkoliikennejärjestelmävaihtoehtojen vertailu" (PDF). TASE 2025 (in Finnish). City of Tampere. March 2007. pp. 62–68. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
- Alku, Antero (12 September 2006). "Pikaraitiotie etenee Tampereella". Kaupunkiliikenne.net (in Finnish). Retrieved 28 February 2009.
- Niemelä, Jari (8 August 2010). "Ratikasta päätös keväällä" (in Finnish). Tamperelainen. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- Hirvonen, Sauli (17 March 2008). "Suomen raitioteiden alkutaival". Pikaraitiotie (in Finnish). Lahen Lehti. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
- Alku, Antero (2002). Raitiovaunu tulee taas (in Finnish). Jyväskylä: Kustantaja Laaksonen. pp. 95–96. ISBN 951-98475-3-7.
- Hirvonen, Sauli (17 March 2008). "Pikaraitiotiesuunnitelmat Suomessa". Pikaraitiotie (in Finnish). Lahen Lehti. Retrieved 28 February 2009.