Test runs on the Jokeri Light Rail line start in Espoo on 1 February. The light rail is an important new means of transport in Espoo and supports the city’s goal of carbon neutrality.
Running from Keilaniemi in Espoo to Itäkeskus in Helsinki, the Jokeri Light Rail will improve rail transport connections and increase the punctuality, capacity and comfort of cross-town transport services. The new rail line will connect Espoo’s most significant tech job clusters in Keilaniemi, Otaniemi and Leppävaara.
In Leppävaara, the light rail will provide easy access to the railway line and its future extension, the City Rail Link, as well as the long-distance train network. Leppävaara is a commercially appealing area and, thanks to the new light rail, its services will be even easier to reach. In Otaniemi and Keilaniemi, the Jokeri Light Rail will stop close to the metro stations.
New residential buildings and workplaces have already been built and more are being planned along the light rail line. The Jokeri Light Rail has, for example, accelerated the construction of the Vermonniitty area in Perkkaa. It has also had an impact on the development of Keilaniemi. Known for the headquarters of major public companies, Keilaniemi will develop into a unique seaside area with residential, office and hotel buildings. Aalto University plays a key role in the fact that the Jokeri Light Rail runs through Otaniemi.
“The Jokeri Light Rail supports Espoo’s network-like urban structure and promotes the city’s sustainable development and growth, as housing, jobs and services are located along good public transport connections,” says Olli Isotalo, Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment.
Rail transport supports Espoo’s goal of being carbon-neutral by 2030.
Test runs to be completed during the spring
Test runs on the Jokeri Light Rail line start in Espoo on Wednesday 1 February. At this point, the light rail will run from Pitäjänmäki in Helsinki to Alberganesplanadi in Leppävaara. Test runs will continue on this section until the end of February. In March, the test run area will extend from Alberganesplanadi all the way to the last stop in Keilaniemi. Test runs will then continue in Helsinki.
In each area, testing starts with a slow-speed test to see how the tram moves on the tracks. The next step is to test the functionality of the traffic light and switch control systems and carry out test runs in low-light conditions. The process will end with test runs at full operating speed.
The construction of the Jokeri Light Rail started in the summer of 2019. The project has progressed ahead of schedule.
The test runs will be completed during the spring, after which it will be known if the schedule-related risk reserves can be removed. The Jokeri Light Rail will start operating, at the latest, in early 2024, but preparations are being made as part of the construction project and in terms of tram deliveries and driver training to enable an earlier start in the autumn of 2023. It is expected that the decision on the start of operation will be made during the summer.
The length of the Jokeri Light Rail line is about 25 kilometres, of which 16 are in Helsinki and 9 in Espoo. The Jokeri Light Rail will replace the current bus line 550, which does not have enough capacity to handle the increasing number of passengers.