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Jokeri Light Rail testing expanded to Espoo

Tests on the new Jokeri Light Rail project have started at the western section in Espoo. The full line is due to open to passengers in 2024. Raide-Jokeri Light Rail

Trials of Finland’s Jokeri Light Rail (JLR) line have been expanded, following initial tests in November/December. Covering the section from Pitäjänmäki in Helsinki to Alberganesplanadi in Leppävaara, the latest test runs began on 1 February and are designed to validate the performance of traffic light priority and operation at all times of day, including in low-light conditions.

The programme is to be extended in March from Alberganesplanadi to the eventual terminus in Keilaniemi in the south-west and expanded to include running at commercial service speeds.

Planning for the light rail line began in 2012, with work on the EUR455.5m project (EUR386 for main infrastructure and an additional EUR69.5m for the depot at Roihupelto, next to the existing metro facility) starting in June 2019 under an alliance model. EUR84m of the finance has been provided by the Finnish Government, with the cities of Helsinki and Espoo sharing the balance in a 65%/35% split.

Running from Keilaniemi in Espoo westward to Itäkeskus in Helsinki, the 25km (16-mile) JLR will replace current express bus line 550 and connect Espoo’s technology campuses in Keilaniemi, Otaniemi and Leppävaaraas well as Aalto University.

Bus line 550 carried 40 000 passengers/day in 2019 and continues to operate while the JLR is under construction as it is on a separate alignment. It is estimated that around 91 000 passengers/day will use the new light rail line by 2030.

Škoda has supplied 29 five-section ForCity Smart Artic X54 trams under a EUR95.2m contract with Helsinki operator HKL. The first arrived in April 2021.

Originally planned to open in the summer of 2024, it is now hoped that passenger service can begin at the start of the new year.

> A detailed article on the Jokeri Light Rail project appeared in TAUT 983. Click here to request a copy.