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Work begins on the Limmattalbahn

Politicians, including Swiss President Doris Leuthard (fourth from left) and officials at the Limmattalbahn ground-breaking on 28 August. Kanton Zürich

A ground-breaking ceremony was held for the metre-gauge Limmattalbahn tramway at Schlieren on 28 August. The first phase of the Swiss line between Altstetten in Zürich and Geissweid in Schlieren is due to open in the autumn of 2019. A second phase will take the line from Schlieren to Killwangen-Spreitenbach via Dietikon in 2022.

The 13.4km (8.3-mile) line is being built by Limmattalbahn AG, a company jointly owned by the cantons of Aargau and Zürich, with co-financing and a CHF755m (EUR661.4m) grant from the federal government (covering one third of project costs).

The first phase will be covered by extending VBZ tramline 2 from Altstetten Farbhof to Geissweid, providing a 7.5-minute peak service. This section will be electrified at 600V dc, with the remainder at 1200V dc to permit compatibility with S-Bahn line S17 (Dietikon – Wohlen), which will share tracks between Dietikon and Wohlen.

BDWM (formed in 2000 from the merger of the Bremgartern – Dietkon and Wohlen – Mesiterschwanden railway companies), which operates line S17, will also operate the Limmattalbahn for ten years, providing a 15-minute headway with service 05.30-00.30.

Fourteen double-ended 45m cars will be ordered to provide the through service, with a depot next to the SBB marshalling yard on the border of the two cantons.