Tampere Tramway traffic to Santalahti began on Monday 7 August – more than 23 million journeys have been made during a two-year period
The Tampere Tramway route expanded on Monday 7 August when traffic on tramway section 2A from Pyynikintori to Santalahti begins. Work on the new section was completed on schedule. Section 2 from Pyynikintori via Hiedanranta to Lentävänniemi is being built in two parts. Section 2B will be completed at the end of 2024, and traffic to Lentävänniemi is scheduled to begin on 7 January 2025. Tramway passenger numbers have been continuously increasing, with more than 23 million journeys made during the first two years of operation.
Construction work on section 2 of Tampere Tramway began in autumn 2020 and traffic on part A from Pyynikintori to Santalahti is starting as planned. Traffic on the first section of Tampere Tramway (Pyynikintori-Hervanta, Tampere University Hospital-Sorin aukio) also began on schedule two years ago on 9 August.
– Tampere is known as a city that turns words into reality and has the ability and courage to take action. This is also the case with the tramway: the project has been implemented smoothly and on time. Tampere residents have embraced the tramway, its popularity continues to grow and it has become an outstanding part of our city’s transport system. The tramway is more than just rails and tram cars: it also reflects the modern Tampere of the future, summarises Kalervo Kummola, Mayor of Tampere.
– We’ve taken another big step on the Tampere Tramway journey: a new district is now accessible by tram. I’m proud of the employees in our tramway family who have once again given their all to ensure that we achieved our shared goal on time. I want to thank residents and actors in the area for their patience during the construction period. A Tampere Region Public Transport (Nysse) survey shows that tramway lines are among the most popular routes in the Nysse region, and I hope that the tramway and the newly completed tramline and related street areas will make everyday life smoother and more pleasant for everyone moving around in the area, says Pekka Sirviö, CEO of Tampere Tramway Ltd.
The tramway has been built to make life easier for residents and people moving around here. It is part of the development and change in Tampere that aims to slow climate change and increase the share of sustainable modes of transport.
– The tramway has been and will continue to be a strong urban development project. The number of people living along the tramway route has already clearly increased. Land use, and residential construction in particular, has clearly been implemented faster than expected on section 1. More than 50% of land use for the 30-year review period estimated in 2016 was already realised during the first 6 years. Construction during recent years has also been very active otherwise. However, the appeal of the tramway route has been exceptionally good, explains Mikko Nurminen, Director of Tampere’s Urban Environment and Infrastructure service unit.
Two kilometres of new tramway, three new stops
The Pyynikintori-Santalahti tramway section being taken into use on Monday 7 August is two kilometres long. It has three stops: Särkänniemi on Sepänkatu and Tikkutehdas and Santalahti on Rantatie.
Construction on the tramway section began in November 2020, immediately after Tampere City Council approved construction of section 2 of Tampere Tramway in October. The Council decided that the tramway would be implemented in phases, with the section from Pyynikintori to Santalahti being completed first. After permit questions related to Näsisaari were resolved, work on the Santalahti-Hiedanranta-Lentävänniemi section started in March 2022.
In addition to building the tramway track and its systems, all street areas associated with the tramway were renewed.
– The Pyynikintori-Santalahti section was completed on schedule and test runs were very successful, so we’re extremely satisfied with the end result. A large amount of municipal engineering work – the water and sewer network, stormwater systems, electrical and heating network and telecommunications cabling – were also renewed in conjunction with construction of the track and street structures. We want to thank the residents and stakeholders for being so cooperative during construction, and we wish everyone very pleasant tramway journeys, says Project Manager Sari Valjus.
The objective cost for the construction phase of the Tramway Alliance’s section 2 implementation plan approved by Tampere City Council was 99.49 million euros. At this time, 64% of project time has been used and 62% of the construction phase has been invoiced. More than 200 people are working on the construction project.
The Tramway Alliance planners and builders have done more than 650,000 hours of work so far during section 2. This means over 400 person-years. The Tramway Alliance signed subcontracting agreements worth over 10,000 euros with more than 200 different companies. In terms of euros, two-thirds of the subcontracting went to companies in the Pirkanmaa region.
The entire section 2 of Tampere Tramway includes 6.7 kilometres of double track, 9 tram stop pairs, 4 electricity supply stations as well as 7 new bridges and 7 support walls. The second part from Santalahti to Lentävänniemi is scheduled for completion at the end of 2024.
Tampere Tram on Sepänkatu
More than 23 million tramway journeys have already been made – traffic to Lentävänniemi will begin on 7 January 2025
Tampere Tramway has become a very popular mode of public transport. According to Tampere Tramway’s annual consumer survey, up to 87% of Tampere residents have a positive attitude towards the tramway. Nysse performs continuous customer satisfaction research on public transport in the Tampere region in order to monitor people’s willingness to recommend Nysse routes. This research shows that the overall grades in the Nysse region in 2023 (January-June) were 4.4 for tramway routes, 4.1 for bus routes and 4.3 for bus feeder lines.Overall customer satisfaction with tramway traffic is also measured monthly by asking passengers about driver activities, tramway safety, cleanliness and compliance with timetables, and tram stop cleanliness. This research shows that passengers are very satisfied with the level of service on the tramway: the average customer satisfaction grade for 2023 is 4.6 out of 5.
The popularity of the tramway is also visible in passenger numbers, which are constantly increasing. Nearly 10 million journeys were made on the tramway during its first year of operation, and the number of passengers in the second year is over 13 million. The milestone of 50,000 passengers in a single day was reached for the first time in November 2022. The highest number of passengers so far was on 31 March 2023, when a total of 53,353 journeys were made.
Tramway construction spurred a renewal of the entire public transport route system in 2021, and regional residents now have more opportunities to use Nysse transport. As tramway traffic expands to Lentävänniemi, the next route changes will be implemented in phases during 2024 and 2025. The objective of the route changes is to combine Nysse’s bus and tramway traffic in the western region into a smooth entity and update service in the area to the planned service level. Not all of the changes are directly related to the new tramway route, and some of them are designed to develop regional bus service.
– Passenger numbers have been growing rapidly for trams and buses in the Nysse area. At this time, the annual number of passengers in Nysse traffic is 48.3 million journeys, which is more than 15% higher than before the pandemic in 2019. The tramway currently accounts for approximately 28% of all Nysse journeys, and this will increase slightly when tramway traffic to Lentävänniemi begins on 7 January 2025 as part of the western route renewal, says Mika Periviita, Director of Public Transport at Nysse.
Tampere Tramway Ltd has ordered eight new tram cars to ensure sufficient capacity for traffic on section 2. The new tram cars will be delivered to Tampere between July 2024 and April 2025.
– Tampere currently has 20 ForCity Smart Artic tram cars manufactured by Škoda Group at its Otanmäki factory in Kajaani. A total of 15 cars have previously been in use at any given time, and this will increase to 16 once traffic to Santalahti begins. Tampere Tramway operates on two routes: line 1 from the Tampere University Hospital area to Sorin aukio and line 3 from Hervanta to Santalahti, explains Sirviö.
Tramway implementation planning to Pirkkala and Linnainmaa is in progress
Over the years, Tampere has accumulated a huge amount of knowledge related to tramway planning and construction and running Tampere Tramway’s operative activities. The Tampere region is well on its way to having Europe’s most modern public transport system.
Construction work on section 2B of the tramway is in progress and regional expansion of the system is moving ahead
On 24 April, the city councils in the City of Tampere and Municipality of Pirkkala made positive decisions on starting the development phase for the Pirkkala-Linnainmaa tramline. Following these decisions, a tramline implementation plan will be prepared for the area from Linnainmaa in Tampere to Suuppa in Pirkkala. The aim is for the city councils of Tampere and Pirkkala to be able to use the results of implementation planning to make decisions on construction, its scope and possible implementation in phases in October 2024.
The City of Tampere and Municipality of Pirkkala have authorised Tampere Tramway Ltd to make procurements in accordance with the Pirkkala-Linnainmaa tramway project plan. Based on this, the company has launched competitive tendering for Tampere Tramway’s new Pirkkala-Linnainmaa alliance. The target is for Tampere Tramway Ltd’s board to make a decision on service providers for the new alliance in mid-September 2023.
– Implementation of sections 1 and 2A and daily tramway operation have provided us with a lot of good experience that we can utilise when planning and building possible new lines. Along the way, we’ve developed technical and traffic safety solutions for the tramway and succeeded in streamlining operating methods, communications and stakeholder cooperation into a very smooth process, explains Development Manager Ville-Mikael Tuominen from Tampere Tramway Ltd.
Tampere Tramway’s new Pirkkala-Linnainmaa Alliance is scheduled to start work in October 2023. The local detailed plans and street plans required for the tramline will be prepared during the development phase that begins at the same time. The objective is for the municipalities to be able to approve the local detailed plans and street plans needed for tramline implementation by the end of September 2024.
– Based on increasing passenger numbers and outstanding consumer survey results, I feel confident in saying that Tampere residents have embraced the tramway. Land use numbers also show that the tramway is perceived as a sustainable solution and investors have confidence in its stability and development. Furthermore, our successful start has an impact on positive expectations in the surrounding municipalities. We want to do our part to ensure that we keep our promises in the future as well, states Sirviö.
Continuation for the Tramway Art Programme
Tampere Tramway has also made art a part of the passenger experience. Tampere’s Tramway Art Programme was launched in summer 2018 and it has added new landmarks, art stops and a large amount of diverse art to the Tampere cityscape, for example, on electric boxes, tramway bridges and in the actual tram cars.
– The aim of the Tramway Art Programme is to create a high-quality art entity that improves the pleasantness of the city environment. Art was already a strong element in the cityscape during tramway construction. Nearly 90 artists have participated in the programme so far, and a total of nearly 60 new art projects have been implemented. The art programme has been very positively received and continuation is planned for future tramway sections, says Sirviö.
Section 2 of Tampere Tramway will bring new art to two tram stops and five other sites. Artwork has been completed at the Tikkutehdas stop, the protective walls of Sepänkatu bridge, the Ollinoja bridge railing and Niemenrannan aukio, where Hannu Siren’s “Now” work of art is now located after being transferred from the Tampere Art Museum collection.
Tampere also has an art tram, which was made possible by Tampere Tramway Ltd in cooperation with the City of Tampere, Lumme Energia, OP Tampere, and Vincit Oy. The sides of the tram car are covered by works of art that change every six months. This autumn, the art tram will also have pop-up performances that are being produced in cooperation with Pirkanmaan Festivaalit ry.
– The art tram has been operating in Tampere since December 2021, and one more changing work of art will be displayed on it. The artwork has attracted a lot of positive attention and, for example, the cat tram quickly became one of our most photographed tram cars. Continuation of the programme is planned and we’ll be launching the search for new works and partners in the autumn, says Sirviö.