What is TramWest?
The leading idea in the TramWest plan has been to plan a regional light rail system that covers most of Southern Espoo and connects it with the city centre of Helsinki and other parts of the region. The system would connect with the Helsinki City Transport (HKL) tram network and the projected Rail-Joker orbital light rail. TramWest would be an extension of existing rail networks, not a new, incompatible system.
The TramWest line network could look like this. Click on the picture to enlarge it.
In the image below the green part is TramWest, blue describes the reginoal tram extension plans of the city of Helsinki and the orange describes the tram tracks in the master plan of the city of Vantaa.
In Southern Espoo, the network covers the regional centres (Tapiola, Matinkylä, Kivenlahti and Leppävaara), important office areas (Keilaniemi, Otaniemi and Niittymaa) and the large residential areas (in addition to the aforementioned, Olari, Kuitinmäki and Iivisniemi). In addition, the network covers Lauttasaari and provides a direct rail connection from Otaniemi via Lehtisaari and Kuusisaari to Munkkiniemi. The Helsinki terminus of TramWest will be Elielinaukio Square next to the central railway station.
The aim of the project has been to research the alternative of direct light rail routes, which was left out of the ”RaideYVA” environmental impact assessment for a rail link between Helsinki and Southern Espoo. The aim is to enable comparison with the metro and light rail alternatives in RaideYVA, which were based on the feeder bus concept and cover only about 15.000 inhabitants within walking distance in Espoo.
The TramWest system covers about 89.000 inhabitants within a 600-metre walking radius of the stops in Tapiola, Matinkylä, Kivenlahti and 20.000 in Lauttasaari, Lehtisaari and Karhusaari in Helsinki. In addition, it covers most of the new development proposed in the projected new master plan for Southern Espoo.
The top speed in the TramWest system varies according to the traffic environment and is between 40 and 80 kph. The system has efficient priorities at intersections, so the trams will stop only at stations.
The planned network is about 53 kilometres long. The investment costs are about 495 million Euros excluding the Rail-Joker-line from Tapiola to Leppävaara. That section is included in the conversion of the recent bus line 550 to a light rail line. To compare the price to the metro based feeder system, TramWest cost 495 million Euros to metro's price of app. 800 million euros for only 14 kms, both prices ex.VAT.
The light rail network and the remaining internal bus lines in Espoo cost considerably less to operate than the current bus network. TramWest offers faster travelling than the metro system. This is based on avoiding the change from buses to the metro trains. TramWest operates on ground, so it offers more stops - 90 stops compared to only 7 with the metro - which do not require spending time in roller stairs from underground platforms to street level. Tops speed of the trams on open air rail is 80 kms/h when metro trains in tunnels are limited to 70 kms/h.
The links on the left provide more info about TramWest (currently only in Finnish). In addition, you can download a brief Finnish brochure of TramWest in PDF format. The brochure can be freely distributed!
The TramWest plan has been made as voluntary work by public transport professionals, students and enthusiasts.
Page created 13.3.2006 / LP. Latest update 29.2.2006 / AA.