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European public transit discussion


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I'm starting this topic for all of you to share and comment on photos/pictures of European transit vehicles from your hometowns and travels. You are also free to discuss ideas done by transit authorities that struck you as really wise or cool. Pretty much any discussion is welcome here, but please limit your posts to strictly Europe (including the UK). Enjoy!


Here are a few pictures you might enjoy of the sexiest transit bus model I have ever ridden:


Front view. Double rear-axle model.


Rear view. Shorter single rear-axle model.

These are buses running in my old city of Tampere, Finland. The chassis is usually built by either Scania or Volvo, and the body is built by Ab Lahden Autokori Oy of Lahti, Finland. The specific model name is Scala. To my knowledge, these buses haven't made it outside of Finland. These buses are stylish and modern both inside and out. I especially love the circular headlights and the oval rear window, which really give this bus some character. A suburban model is also available, as are dual front doors. It is no wonder these buses have become the new standard for city buses across Finland, with such great styling and amenities! Photos courtesy of Kari Paavola.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This year I'm going to Italy and want to discuss Rome's public transit system called Roma Metropolitane. The rapid transit system was opened in 1955 and has two lines for subway and one for suburban rail (total:3) which serves the other parts of Rome incl. the Vatican. According to UrbanRail.Net, the third and fourth lines are getting built for expansion of rapid transit. Hopefully, I'll stay in Rome long enough to experience this system. Later on, I'll (or someone else will) get to tell you more about it when they visit.

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  • 12 years later...

(Note to mods: If there is a more appropriate thread, please feel free to move my post there.)

Greetings and happy holidays to everyone! Sorry to re-open a thread I started 12 years ago, but I've been wanting to share this LRT project with you all for a long time, and figured now would be the appropriate time to post since construction is wrapping up, testing is beginning, and enough videos have been posted online. This project is very near and dear to me since it's happening in my hometown, and today I'd like to briefly showcase what has been built there. I find it very interesting to compare this city with Waterloo, Ontario as both: 1) experienced major growth thanks to a cell phone company, 2) both are major university centres, 3) both are midsize cities in their respective nations, 4) both built Phase 1 of their LRT networks, and 5) both had trolleybuses.

Tampere, Finland is located about two hours north of Helsinki, and is the second largest city with a population of about 240 000. Known as the "Manchester" of Finland, Tampere was a major industrial centre. All that remains of that past now are several preserved historic buildings. During the late 90s and early 2000s, Tampere experienced rapid growth thanks to the success of Nokia. Nokia, where the mobile phone company got its' start is the neighbouring city west of Tampere. As a result, Tampere became a major tech and university centre. Historically, Tampere had been a trolleybus city (until 1976) - Helsinki, Turku, and Viipuri (Vyborg) having been the tram cities. As early as the 1900s, plans had existed for a tram network, but were eventually shelved mainly due to cost and war.

Enter the 2000s. Hervanta, a new suburb in the south end had been designed as a "student suburb", and was rapidly expanding thanks to high density zoning and several university facilities. Two bus lines running mostly along a motorway to the city centre serve as the primary connection. Even with articulated buses, these two routes were struggling to meet demand. In 2016, to encourage further growth and be able to meet future demand, the controversial decision was made to build an LRT ("pikaraitiotie" in Finnish, directly translated: "express tramway") mostly parallel to the motorway in the suburbs, and centre-of/side-of-road ROW in and near the centre.

Phase 1 consists of two LRT lines. Line 3 originates on the western edge of the city centre and runs eastward along the main shopping street. Line 4 originates at the shopping centre/bus station. Both lines meet west of the railroad station, run through a tunnel under the train tracks, and split again shortly after. Line 4 continues east to the main hospital, and line 3 runs south mostly along the motorway. Phase 2 consists of a western extension from where line 3 terminates to Lentävänniemi. Phase 1 is expected to be in service in August, while completion of phase 2 is projected for 2024. From Wiki, phase 1 will run 16km (9.9mi) and have 24 stops (4 overlapping). The depot is in Hervanta.

In this map you can see the LRT routing through Tampere. Red is phase 1, blue is phase 2. This is the official route map that will be posted in the trams.

The three-section vehicles are built by Škoda Transtech and are based on the original Helsinki Artic design (aka. ForCity Smart), but adapted for light rail (wider, bi-directional, doors on both sides.) Worth noting is that this network has been exceptionally built to standard gauge - Finnish gauge is 1 524mm. I haven't been able to find a reason for this, but it did allow Tampere to purchase a second-hand German tram to begin testing before the prototype unit was ready. The trams from Helsinki are incompatible due to the much narrower 1 000mm gauge.

Finally, for all you transit geeks out there, I'll include some transit porn courtesy of Metrobug on Youtube. What is shown here is testing over the entire route with the prototype and a production unit, including high-speed (70km/h / ~45mph) testing along the off-street ROWs.

Tampere Tramway, part 1 – Škoda ForCity prototype tram on test run

Tampere Tramway, part 2 – Prototype tram on new sections

Tampere Tramway, part 3 – First trams in city centre

Tampere Tramway, part 4 – Prototype’s Final Run (+ more test runs)

Tampere Tramway, part 5 – Goodbye Prototype

Tampere Tramway, part 6 – Christmas Tram

Official tour of the tram (English subtitles available)

Thank you for reading. For further information, please consult the project's official website (in English). Happy New Years to everyone!

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  • 7 months later...

^ I'd just like to update everyone about this project. As of today, Monday, August 9, revenue service has officially started on the Tampere Tramway.

Tampere Tramway - Start of service 8/9/2021 (Official)

Official NYSSE system map (pdf, tram lines in red)

* I'd also like to make a correction to my previous post - I had mistakenly referred to line 1 as line 4.

I'll include some more testing videos below. I'll try to update this post as further videos become available. Thanks for reading!

Tampere Tramway - Škoda ForCity trams in city centre

Tampere Tramway - First Passengers + Tram Ride

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On 11/5/2022 at 6:12 PM, JK-from-YYC said:

I have heard that as of this week, Budapest’s Ikarus 200-series fleet is no more. Can anyone else confirm?

The rigid Ikarus 260 will be ending its tenure on Friday along with the 435 class. The articulated 280s should still have a couple more weeks before them.

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  • 11 months later...


As of 1:35AM EST, October 21, Helsinki’s orbital light rail line (15) will begin revenue service, eventually replacing trunk bus line 550. The line is ~25km long, has 34 stops, is built to 1000mm gauge, and attains a top speed of 70km/h in sections. Initial frequency will be every 12mins. To mark the opening, I wanted to share two cab-ride videos made by separate operators.

Eastbound, full ride + depot:

Westbound, full ride:

Map showing network connectivity:

Turquoise: Line 15
Purple: Suburban Trains
Orange: Metro

Track diagram (with existing network):

Green: Own ROW/Side-of-road
Yellow: In-median of road
Blue: Shared road with buses
Red: Shared with all traffic
Grey: Existing tram network

There are a few shortcomings however… The line was initially supposed to go further west (to Tapiola), a second depot was cut (although the land is still protected), a connecting track to the existing network was cut, and the platforms weren’t built to handle double-consists. Also, the eastern terminus is only built as a temporary stop (akin to NAIT in Edmonton).

Regardless, this is a major milestone for the whole network.

Ps. The placement of the new Conduent fare readers is ridiculous:

Source (at 1:55)

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