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Helsinki tram network

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The Helsinki tram network forms part of the Helsinki public transport system organised by Helsinki Regional Transport Authority and operated by Helsinki City Transport (Finnish: Helsingin kaupungin liikenne, Swedish: Helsingfors stads trafikverk) in the Finnish capital city of Helsinki. The trams are the main means of transport in the city centre. 56.7 million trips were made in 2013.[7] The Helsinki system is one of the oldest electrified tram networks in the world.

Helsinki tram
MLNRV Hakaniemi 2010-05-03.JPG
Valmet MLNRV in Hakaniemi
Artic (tram) in Helsinki.jpg
Transtech Artic
LocaleHelsinki, Finland
Transit typeTram
Number of lines11[1]
Daily ridership200,000 (weekdays)[2]
Began operation1891
Number of vehicles132
System lengthRoute length: 96 km (60 mi)[3]
Line length: 91.2 km (56.7 mi) (2010[4]
Track length: 38 km (23.6 mi)[5] or 71 km (44 mi)
Track gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
Minimum radius of curvature15 m (49.2 ft)
Electrification600 V DC
overhead lines[6]


In 2017, approximately 39 km (24.2 mi) of double track was in operation with 11 routes.

Helsinki tram lines as of 14 January 2018
Designation From Via To Service hours[A] Depot
  1 Eira Töölö, Sörnäinen Käpylä 05:00–21:00 Koskela
2[B] Olympia Terminal Lasipalatsi, Töölö West-Pasila 06:00–01:30 Koskela
3[B] Eira, Kallio Meilahti 05:00-01:30 Koskela
4 Katajanokka Mannerheimintie Munkkiniemi 05:00–01:30 Töölö
5[C] Katajanokka ferry terminal Aleksanterinkatu Central Railway Station 10:00-11:30
Töölö / Koskela
6 Hietalahti Hakaniemi Arabia 06:00–21:30 Koskela
6T West Harbour Hietalahti, Hakaniemi 12:00–24:00 Koskela
7[B] Kruununhaka, Sörnäinen West-Pasila 05:30–00:30 Koskela
8 Jätkäsaari Töölö, Sörnäinen Arabia 05:30–23:30 Koskela
9 Kallio Pasila railway station 06:00–01:30 Koskela
Kirurgi Mannerheimintie Pikku Huopalahti 05:30–23:30 Töölö

Additional linesEdit

In addition to the 11 regular lines two special ones exist: the museum line operated by Helsinki City Transport in collaboration with Oy Stadin Ratikat Ab[8] and the Spårakoff pub tram, both of which run during the summer months. These lines do not appear in the route map included with this article.

Additional tram lines as of summer 2012
Designation From Via To Service hours[A] Depot
-[F] Market Square Kruunuhaka, Rautatientori Market Square 10:00–17:00[H]
PUB[G] Rautatientori Kallio, Töölö, Market Square Rautatientori 14:00–21:00[I]
  • A Approximate week day figures in 24-hour clock. Accurate times at HSL site.
  • B Trams on lines 7, 2 and 3 do not turn around at their shared terminuses (West-Pasila between 7 and 2, and Olympia terminal between 2 and 3), but change their line signs.
  • C Ferry arrival and departure times only.
  • D Sundays only.
  • E Weekdays and Saturdays only.
  • F Non-numbered museum line.
  • G Counter-clockwise circular.
  • H Summer weekends only.
  • I Summers only.

Technology and infrastructureEdit

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 rather than light rail. The track gauge is one metre. The network consists almost entirely of double track rail. In some parts the tracks are separated from other road traffic; elsewhere they share road space with cars and buses.

The trams are powered with electricity conveyed by overhead wires. Trams have their own traffic lights, 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). [9]


Töölö tram depot.

As of 2010, 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, as well as some of those on line 5, 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.[10]
  • The Vallila depot houses repair-, paint- and rebuilding facilities, and administrative functions.[11]
  • The Koskela depot is the largest tram depot in Helsinki. It houses approximately two thirds of trams in the city, and contains training facilities.[12] 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.[13]
  • The Pasilan konepaja tram workshop was established in mid-2008 by Bombardier transportation as a repair shop for the Helsinki Variotrams,[14] the maintenance of which became Bombardier's responsibility in May 2008.[15] 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.[14]

Planning process is under way (as of November 2017) for a new tram depot in Ruskeasuo region next to current bus depot and to reconstruct the Koskela depot. There were plans earlier to excavate an underground tram depot in the base rock below the existing Vallila depot and adjacent city blocks, but this was calculated to be too expensive.

Rolling stockEdit

As of February 2015, HKL has up to 124 tram units that can be used in scheduled passenger service. HKL reported that it used 97 trams to operate peak-time scheduled traffic in the spring of 2013.[7] Additionally, there are six trams in reserve and eight in charter use. The MLNRV I and II series (rebuilt Valmet Nr I and Valmet Nr II units), MLRV Variotram, and Valmet NrI series comprise the current backbone of the fleet, but HKL is in the process of receiving 40 new Transtech Artic units.

In 2006–12, all Valmet Nr II+ vehicles underwent a major modification process in which a 6.5 m (21 ft 4 in) low-floor midsection was added to the tram. The type designation was changed from Nr II+ to MLNRV to reflect the modifications made, and the longer trams were re-introduced in traffic gradually as the modification works were completed. During the process, HKL decided to also rebuild ten of the older Nr I trams in the same way, which brought the total number of MLNRV trams to 52 upon completion in mid-2014.

The fully low-floor Variotram units, acquired in 1998–2003 from Adtranz (later Bombardier) and built by Transtech Oy in Otanmäki, proved to be unreliable, causing a shortage of operable trams. Starting in 2004, HKL purchased ten DUEWAG series second-hand trams from Mannheim in Germany to cover for the shortage. Eventually arrangements were made with Bombardier to keep a sufficient number of the units in operation. All of the DUEWAG units were either withdrawn or relegated to charter service by the end of 2014.

HKL is now in the process of acquiring 40 new low-floor Artic trams from Transtech. They have a double-articulated, eight-axle design, are 27.3 m (89 ft 7 in) long and have 74 fixed seats, 14 foldable seats and space for 75 standing passengers.[16] The design has a 100% low floor and conventional, turning bogies designed to run without problems on Helsinki's challenging old-fashioned track network.[17] Two prototype units were delivered in 2013, and each entered passenger service approximately two months after delivery. The first unit of the production series, no. 403, arrived in Helsinki in January 2016 and 18 units in total were delivered in 2016. The order is worth €113 million and it includes an option for a further 90 trams.

To ease the construction of new tram tracks into Jätkäsaari beginning in 2009, HKL considered using bi-directional trams on the new line.[18] However, HKL decided to build the Jätkäsaari extensions with conventional return loops and to use the existing uni-directional rolling stock. Bi-directional rolling stock will be used on the conversion of the orbital trunk bus line 550 into light rail (Raide-Jokeri) and the Crown Bridges bridge connection to Laajasalo.

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

Rolling stock as of February 2015
Tram Type No. of units Car # Built Acquired Modified Seats Standees L[J] W[K] H[L] S[M] C[N] R[O]
d MLNRV III Transtech Artic 24 l 401–440 2012– 2013– 88 125 27.6 2.4 3.8 ×
c MLNRV II (Valmet Nr II) 42 f71–112 1983–87 1983–87 1996–2006, 2008–12 49 120 26.5 2.3 3.7 ×
c MLNRV I (Valmet Nr I) 10 f113–122 1973–75 1973–75 1993–2003, 2005, 2012–14 49 120 26.5 2.3 3.7 ×
d MLRV Bombardier Variotram 40 l 201–240 1998–2003 1998–2003 55 80 24.4 2.3 3.7 ×
a NRV (Valmet Nr I) 30 d 31–70 1973–75 1973–75 1993–2003, 2005 39 106 20.1 2.3 3.7 ×
g DUEWAG GT8N 1 k 166 1962, 1964 2007–08 1991–92 55 120 25.7 2.2 3.8 ×
f DUEWAG GT8 1 h 150 1967 2004 1970, 2004 64 140 25.7 2.2 3.8 ×
j HRO A7 1 g 135 1928 1928 1988 21 26 10.2 2.1 3.7 ×
i HRO A4 1 j 157 1930 1930 1987 21 26 10.2 2.1 3.7 ×
l Karia HM IV 1 m 320 1955 1955 1985 29 69 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
h Valmet RM 1 2 n 332, 339[P] 1955 1955 1987, 2003–04 29 69 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
m Karia HM V 6 c 9–14, 175[Q] 1959 1959 2004–07 31 57 13.5 2.3 3.6 ×
k HRO A9 1 b BS 1[R] 1917 2007 2007 28 0 11.5 2.2 ×
Totals 140 6,270[S] 13,020[T] 124 8 6

J Car length in meters
K Car width in meters
L Car height in meters with pantograph
M Scheduled service
N Charter service
O Reserve units

P Number 339 is owned by Oy Stadin Ratikat Ab.
Q Number 175 is a restaurant tram and is counted as charter.
R A replica of Brändö Spårvägs Ab tram number 1 from 1917.
S 6,346 seats in scheduled service; 245 seats in charter service; 186 seats in reserve.
T 13,552 standees in scheduled service; 405 standees in charter service; 342 standees in reserve.
Reference for the tabular data: Finnish Tramway Society


Planned extension of the networkEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  3. ^
  4. ^[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Helsinki City Transport - HKL Tracks and Depots". Helsinki City Transport. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  6. ^ "HKL Tram Traffic". SRS. Archived from the original on 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  7. ^ a b Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  8. ^ Stadin Ratikat
  9. ^ Helsinki Urban Traffic Control Centre
  10. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  11. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  12. ^ Finnish Tramway Society
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Finnish Tramway Society
  15. ^ Helsingin Sanomat
  16. ^ Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos
  17. ^ Transtech Oy
  18. ^ Antero Alku


Helsinki City Transport

Finnish Tramway Society

Helsingin Sanomat


External linksEdit