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Lund: Sweden’s newest tramway city

The first of the Lund CAF Urbos 100 trams approaches the city terminus at Clemenstorget during the training period in August 2020. Image courtesy of L. Jorcher / CC BY-SA 3.0

In the southern Swedish province of Skåne lies the city of Lund, an attractive city with a population of 94 000, just 15km (9.3 miles) from Malmö.

Lund’s population doubled in the second half of the 20th Century, driven by the growth of its university – the country’s second-oldest, founded in 1666 – and high-tech industry. The centre retains its medieval layout, surrounded by modern suburbs, with the university’s engineering faculty and associated institutions dominating the north-east.

On 12 December the city’s first modern tramline – linking Lund C railway station on Clemenstorget and the hospital, university and science park – was launched, five years after the 5.8km (3.6-mile) project was approved in December 2015.

The line marks the first new Swedish tramway since 1911 (when the never-opened sanatorium line in Ulricehamn was completed). The SEK1.47bn (EUR143m) scheme was jointly funded by the national Government (SEK388m/EUR37.8m), Skåne province (SEK567m/EUR55.3m) and the city (SEK512m/EUR50m). The opening was necessarily low-key due to coronavirus restrictions, with no major public ceremony.

The double-track standard-gauge line, built by Skanska between 2017 and 2020, runs on street track in the city centre (though other traffic has been diverted away from Sankt Laurentiigatan), but mostly on non-signalled reserved route, with 40 000m2 of grass reservation; 300 new trees were planted along the line. Most stops feature 45m platforms (Lund C is 35m and Universitetssjukhuset is 80m) and the outer terminus at Brunnshög, site of the depot and workshop, serves the ESS scientific research facility.

Five 33m double-ended, 2.65m-wide five-section low-floor trams had been delivered by CAF for the opening, with the first arriving on 29 July 2020. Two more are due by the middle of January. The manufacturer’s contract includes ten years of maintenance and spares.

After free rides on 12 December, regular service commenced the following day, but to a truncated timetable with 20-minute headways Monday-Friday and 30 minutes at weekends. It is hoped to bring in the planned seven-and-a-half minute peak frequency (06.00-09.00 and 14.00-18.00) from 1 February.

Lund did not have a first-generation tramway. City bus operations began in 1927 and today there are seven lines, operated on behalf of Skånetrafiken by Vy buss. The tramway has replaced Lundalänken line 20 and is part of the municipality’s plans to meet the challenge of climate change; the city aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.