Tram extension opens in Mannheim
GERMANY: A day of celebrations on June 11 marked the opening of two tram branches in northern Mannheim, with the official start of passenger services the following day.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Stadtbahn Mannheim Nord extension took place on December 3 2012. Serving an area with 32 000 inhabitants, the new route is expected to add an extra 1 million passengers a year to the Rhein-Neckar regional network.
Branching off from the existing route at Bonifatiuskirche (formerly Grenadierstraße), the extension runs north along Ulmenweg and Hessische Straße to Hermann-Gutzmann-Schule. The western branch, designated Route 4, runs to Waldfriedhof, while the eastern branch, Route 4A, runs to Käfertaler Wald. There are 13 stops on the 6·4 km alignment.
Services on routes 4 and 4A run through the centre of Mannheim and then across the Rhine to Oggersheim in Ludwigshafen, where interchange is provided with the Rhein-Haardtbahn to Bad Dürkheim.
Modernisation of the RHB started in 2014 and was completed this year. Part of the project was to make the stops more accessible, with the introduction of tactile paving and level boarding, as well as ‘modern and user friendly’ ticket machines and real-time running information.
Upgrades to the track, overhead electrification and substations are due to be completed by the end of the year, allowing the maximum speed on the line to be raised from 70 km/h to 80 km/h. By 2018 several pedestrian crossings are to be modified to increase safety.
From this month operator RNV has added one extra service per hour in the peaks, to give a frequency of 20 min between Bad Dürkheim and Mannheim Hauptbahnhof. This operates as a limited stop service designated Route 9.