Pedestrian tunnel at Marienplatz station in Munich (Photo by Dominik Martin)
Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.
Munich Poised for Major Transit Expansion
Munich’s municipal left-right coalition government has released plans for a program of metro and tram line construction that will expand the Bavarian capital’s rail transit network by 20 percent, the International Railway Journal reports.
The €5.5 billion ($6.83 billion U.S.) plan will add 40 km (24.9 miles) of new metro and tram lines to Munich’s existing network over a span of about 20 years.
The centerpiece of the expansion plan is a new north-south metro line through the city center. Line U9 is being built to relieve congestion on lines that parallel it to its east and west. The new line, which should take 10 years to complete, will run from Nordfriedhof on line U6 south through Munich Main station to Implerstrasse station on lines U3 and U6. A second northern branch will originate at Theresienstrasse on line U2 and run south to connect with the main line north of Munich Main.
Work on a second all-new metro line in the city’s northern reaches, line U26, is slated to begin sometime after line U9 enters service. An eastward extension of line U4 and a second westward one for line U5, which is currently being extended to the west, are also part of the plan.
Two new tram lines already in planning are part of the package as well. Tram line 23 is being extended northward from its current terminus at Schwabing Nord to Heidmannstrasse, which will also be served by line U26; a final alignment for this line will be in place by next year. The North Tangent line will run east from Elizabethplatz on line U9 to Tivolistrasse via Giselastrasse and the English Garden; a final alignment for it will be chosen in the second half of 2019.
The Munich city government plans to seek approval from the Upper Bavarian government this year for a third new tram line, the West Tangent line. This line will form a belt to the west of the city center running from Romanplatz south to Aidenbachstrasse. This line would take three years to build and could be in service by 2026.
Uzbekistan’s Capital Makes Metro Progress
Global Rail News reports that Uzbekistan Railways has issued a progress report on three projects to expand the metro system serving the country’s capital, Tashkent.
Deputy Chair Oybek Khudoyqulov said that work is progressing steadily on two new radial lines serving the districts of Yunusabad and Sergeli. The 2.93-km (1.82-mile) Yunusabad line will open first, in 2019, and the 7.1-km (4.41-mile) Sergeli line will enter service the following year.
The third and largest project is a 52.1-km (32.37-mile), 35-station ring line on track to open in 2021. The line will pass through the districts of Yashnobod, Uchtepa, Olmazor, Yunusabad, Chilanzar and Sergeli and will connect with the other existing and new metro lines.
Two Options for NYC Cross-Harbor Rail Freight
One reason for the decline of New York City as an oceangoing port is its detachment from the national freight rail network. Freight cars bound for terminals in Brooklyn must cross New York Harbor on car floats, adding time and cost to the shipment of goods to and from New York.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is examining ways to improve the flow of rail freight across the harbor. Railway Track and Structures reports that the agency has signed a $23.7-million agreement with Cross Harbor Partners for a Tier II environmental impact study of two options for expanding cross-harbor rail freight capacity.
One would significantly expand the existing car float system while the other would construct a tunnel that would run about four miles under the harbor from Jersey City to Brooklyn. The study will take about three years to complete.
“With a projected 40 percent increase in freight movement by 2035, delays in goods movement will only worsen unless we begin to develop an optimum plan now that will provide the shipping and distribution industry with attractive alternatives to shipping by truck,” says Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Our goal is to explore these alternatives and come up with cost-effective approaches to future freight movement.”
More than one billion tons of freight move through New York annually, most of it on trucks. U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told RT&S that truck shipping adds about $2.5 billion a year to the cost of delivering goods to New Yorkers.
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