Amsterdam: IJburg’s Long Term Transit Solution – Part 2

20 Mar

I posted before about IJburg in Amsterdam and the transit situation on the man made island. I suggested, rather optimistically, that a new tram service could be instigated for IJburg and outlined the route. It attracted a fair bit of attention, with some people even asking when it would start, which was a good thing to read and gave validation to the proposal from the world at large. The original post and the route I proposed can be found here and would link the area to South East Amsterdam across the Amsterdamsebrug and finish at Zuid/WTC railway station.

I’ve finally uploaded some pictures to support the idea and to give fresh perspective to what’s needed to make this happen, so here goes…

Picture 1 – The Piet Hein Tunnel from Zuiderzeeweg Tramhalte –

This is the part of the Tramlijn 26 route that causes most of the disruption to the service. The tunnel is roughly 1.75km long and takes about 45 seconds to pass through. The tram tunnel is effectively a bottleneck for 2 reasons. Firstly only one tram per direction is allowed to pass through at any time. The green signal you can see at the end of the platform regulates passages. Unlike regular tram and streetcar services where you can occasionally see two or three trams in a row, the Zuiderzeeweg station and tunnel give the route what is known as an “Operating Headway”. This term defines the shortest amount of time between services and on tramlijn 26 it is effectively 3 minutes. This is a problem at rush hour. Secondly, the tunnel seems to be prone to some kind of electrical or safety procedure fault which can suspend the service at very short notice.

 

Picture 2 – The tram line crossing Zuiderzeeweg –

The junction of IJburglaan and Zuiderzeeweg would be the area requiring the most intensive remodelling to provide the new service. Here new tracks would be laid that bring arriving trams from the far left of the photo and enable them to do a left turn, leaving toward Flevopark in the direction of the cars heading off to the right of the photo. Platforms will also need to be provided for passengers joining/leaving the service as it would not enter the current station. As we’ll see in Picture 3 there is plenty of space and half of it has already been built.


 

Picture 3 – The current emergency tram stop at Zuiderzeeweg depot –

In this picture you can see the tram stop set up so that when the tunnel is closed trams can circle around and return to IJburg. This stop is also used when there are public holidays or street parties in Amsterdam, such as Queen’s Day or the Uitmarkt, when the GVB decide on safety grounds not to run the tram to Centraal Station. I propose that it would be this stop which is altered to allow tramlijn 27 services to continue to call at Zuiderzeeweg.

 

Picture 4 – Entry to the Amsterdamsebrug

Tramlijn 27 would then join Zuiderzeeweg towards the Flevopark and head off in the direction of the Amsterdamsebrug.

 

Picture 5 – Crossing the Amsterdamsebrug

As you can see there is plenty of space on the bridge for the tracks to be laid into the road. The bridge could also be remodelled to have the road on one side and the tram tracks through the centre and the cycle path on the other side. Currently there is a cycle path / footpath on both sides of the road. I don’t think that this is necessary though, there are plenty of bridges in Amsterdam where the tram is in the centre of the road.

 

Picture 6 – The Amsterdamsebrug Bridge Span

This is the part of the bridge that crosses the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. As you can see there is again plenty of space for the tram lines and the height clearance is certainly generous even taking into account the need for the tram’s power lines. The bridge clearance is so high that I don’t even think a height restriction signpost is needed.


 

Picture 7 – Insulindeweg Tramhalte

At Insulindeweg Tramlijn 27 would join the existing tram line network. As you can see the car traffic is already separated from the buses through the junction and tram lines 14 and 7 pass through on their way to the last stop at Flevopark. The tracks to IJburg would branch off and carry on in the direction of the traffic that can be seen coming off the bridge.

 

Summary

From my perspective there are plenty of options that can be taken to realise this project. The bridge itself is wide enough to allow remodelling thus allowing all modes of traffic to continue using it. I’m still unsure of the weight restrictions on the bridge but it looks like it has quite a beefy construction and the trams the new Siemens Combino trams are reasonably light in weight. Worst case the trams could be pro-actively signalled to limit the weight on the bridge such as is done on the Severinsbrucke in Cologne.

The length of the new track is less than 2km and street lighting and the design of the bridge allow for the power cabling to be installed reasonably easily. Zuiderzeeweg junction needs remodelling but for the size of the work and the potential gain for the population in the South East of Amsterdam I believe this would represent a good return on investment and relieve the over dependence on Tram 26 and the overcrowding on the Jan Hoek File.

Please feel free to leave feedback on this plan or join me at @richlenthall on Twitter!

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