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Extending Bergen’s light-rail network for future demand

Posted: 3 July 2013 | Thomas J. Potter, previous Chief Engineer of Bybanen AS, now Senior Transport Engineer at Norconsult AS | No comments yet

Like many other cities in the world, the City of Bergen closed its tram system in the 1960s which originally opened in 1897. In 2000, Bergen decided to build a new light-rail system. After 20 years of heated discussion, a determined search for resources, visits to many other successful light-rail and tram projects, planning and finally construction, the first phase of the project – a 9.8km-long section with 15 stops – opened in June 2010.

Like many other cities in the world, the City of Bergen closed its tram system in the 1960s which originally opened in 1897. In 2000, Bergen decided to build a new light-rail system. After 20 years of heated discussion, a determined search for resources, visits to many other successful light-rail and tram projects, planning and finally construction, the first phase of the project – a 9.8km-long section with 15 stops – opened in June 2010.

Like many other cities in the world, the City of Bergen closed its tram system in the 1960s which originally opened in 1897. In 2000, Bergen decided to build a new light-rail system. After 20 years of heated discussion, a determined search for resources, visits to many other successful light-rail and tram projects, planning and finally construction, the first phase of the project – a 9.8km-long section with 15 stops – opened in June 2010.

Many of the fears concerning lack of riders, cost overruns and delays in construction have proved to be unfounded. Ridership has far exceeded expectations with 35,000 passengers on weekdays compared to an estimate of approximately 24,000.

Construction and operating costs have been as predicted. The first phase was built around 8% under budget; the second phase is now approximately 15% under budget. Both phases have been delivered on-time. Other concerns such as a slow operating speed, noise and safety have also proved to be without merit. The system is fast, quiet, reliable and safe. There have been some collisions with road vehicles and pedestrians, but to date there have been no serious injuries.

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