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Finland looks to light rail

With the Helsinki tramway system modernising and expanding, Finland's second and third cities have staked their claim for funding for light rail in the run-up to the country's March elections.

Tampere (city population 195 000, regional population 295 000) has a consultants study recommending four dual-mode tram-train lines connecting towns to the west and east and suburbs to the west and south with the city centre in a 56.7-km network that would involve 37 km of running on existing rail lines, 16.9 km of new suburban tramway and a 2.7-km city centre subway. The EUR 342 million scheme would involve dual-system (25kV ac/750 V dc) LRVs built to 1524-mm gauge, and the first phase could be completed by 2008.

Turku (city population 173 000, regional population 290 000) is recommending a 42-km light rail system estimated to cost EUR 321 million. The LRVs would be to 1524-mm gauge to permit use of 3 km of local rail tracks, which would be electrified at 750 V dc to match the rest of the system. Local municipalities are supporting the project, which could qualify for some EU funding.

20 January 2003

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