Bergen Light Rail
On March 13th 2000, the City Council of Bergen, Norway selected the alignment for the construction of a light-rail transit line between the centre of the city and the airport at Flesland.
The project however required a financial package based on cooperation between the national and local governments: this package is known as the Bergen Program for transportation, urban development and the environment. Local funding for this program is based on a 20-year extension of the city's toll ring which has been collecting tolls from motorists since 1986 and which was initially approved in December 2002.
A revised budget for this funding scheme, including a final budget for the light rail project, was approved by the Norwegian Parliament ("Stortinget") on 28th February 2006.
First phase: City centre - Nesttun
The first phase, to build the line from the city centre to Nesttun, a distance of approximately 10 kilometres, is now underway. The remainder of the line, between Nesttun and the Bergen airport at Flesland, will be completed during the next budget period for the Bergen program.
The entire line will directly serve about 25% of the region's population and will be integrated with existing bus services throughout the corridor of operation. Stations will be integrated with the local transportation facilities for pedestrians and bicylces; many stations will also include parking spaces for commuters.
Topographically, Bergen is ideal for public transit. Because of the mountains, the population is concentrated in valleys which are under 2 kilometers wide and radiate from the city centre. A light-rail transit line will help improve the efficiency of the existing transit system, offer substantial capacity along the busiest corridor in the region, provide an attractive alternative to the private automobile with frequent and reliable service, and will stimulate higher density development within the served corridor.
Estimates of ridership show that between 40,000 and 50,000 passengers on a normal weekday are expected to use the system when it is completed to the airport. The first phase to Nesttun will transport 26,000 passengers per day.
On May 29th 2007, the City of Bergen and Stadler Pankow signed a development contract for twelve modern low-floor light-rail vehicles. This contract includes technical and cosmetic design of the vehicles, as well as planning of the homologation process with the Norwegian Railway Inspectorate. It is expected that the production contract for the delivery of the twelve vehicles in 2009-2010 will be signed later this year and will also include maintenance of the vehicle fleet for an 8-year period.
An average operating speed of 25-30 km/hr is planned for the system. This is possible because of the priority given to light rail operations, short station dwell times, limited operation at slow speed in the town centre and an average spacing between stations of about 800 meters. In addition, express service is planned during peak periods to provide an even faster service between major stations and terminals.
This first line is part of a long-range plan for public transit in Bergen. Plans are already being developed for future extensions to other sections of the city, including Fyllingsdalen and Loddefjord to the west, and Sandviken/Åsane to the north. A link connecting the main regional hospital to the city centre using an existing rail line is also under study.
Rune Haugsdal, Project Director
Thomas J. Potter, Chief Engineer
Bergen Light Rail Project Officeinfo@bybanen.no
Øvre Dreggsallmenningen 6 (3rd floor)
Telephone: +47 5556 9298 (Thomas Potter)
Telefax: +47 5556 9575