On 9 January a new tramline was opened in the German city of Bochum by operator BOGESTRA to serve the urban development zone MARK 51o7, and in particular the O-Werk innovation building on the site of the former Opel car factory. About 70 hectares are dedicated to technology companies, start-ups, institutes and research facilities with 3000 employees likely to be located here.
The new line is a 600m grass-track alignment, branching off the Witten line to a stub terminus with one intermediate stop at Max Planck Institute. It is served by line 302 every 15 minutes, providing a link to the city centre and on to Gelsenkirchen-Buer.
The opening also marks the completion of deliveries of 95 Stadler Variobahn low-floor trams since 2008 for the metre-gauge network, replacing high-floor Stadtbahn-M cars of the previous generation.