A light rail for the Limmattal, in Switzerland

The Limmattal is one of the most dynamic regions in Switzerland. A further expansion of public transport is necessary to enable cities and municipalities to develop with an efficient quality. From the end of 2022, the Limmattalbahn (the new light rail for the Limmattal region) will link the municipalities of Zürich-Altstetten, Schlieren, Urdorf, Dietikon, Spreitenbach and Killwangen, and it will connect the cantons of Zürich and Aargau.

At the beginning of this April, Switzerland’s Federal Transport Office (BAV) confirmed that it has issued a construction permit for the Limmattalbahn.
The Limmattalbahn will permanently solve the traffic problems in the Limmattal and ensure the necessary capacity in public transport. It connects the municipalities to each other and to the city of Zurich and, on the other hand, becomes the most important shuttle to the S-Bahn in the Limmattal. On its 13.4-kilometer route, it serves a total of 27 stops. It offers space for around 250 people per trip and travels over 90% independently of the road traffic on its own track. Services will operate at 15-minute intervals with a commercial speed of 22 km/h and an end-to-end journey time of 37 minutes.
The Limmattalbahn is built in two stages: the first stage includes the section from the station Altstetten to Schlieren Geissweid (about Höhenbachstrasse). The area station Altstetten to Farbhof will be realized however only in the course of the second stage. The second stage leads from Schlieren Geissweid to Killwangen-Spreitenbach station. The construction of the first stage is scheduled for September 2017. The first stage will be put into operation in 2019 as an extension of Tramlinie 2. From 2022 the Limmattalbahn can travel between the railway stations Zurich Altstetten and Killwangen-Spreitenbach.
The project will cost CHF 715 million (EUR 660 million) excluding rolling stock and is being funded jointly by the Swiss Federation and the cantons of Zürich and Aargau.
The Limmattalbahn is designed as a two-lane metro track. Two-wheeled vehicles will be running on the future route. These are similar to the tram in Zürich, but can travel in both directions without turning. They score first and foremost in the event of malfunctions and flexibility in the organisation of the offer. Since there is no need for maneuvering, space can also be saved. The vehicles of the Limmattalbahn can also travel on the network of the transport companies in Zürich and of the Bremgarten-Dietikon rail network.
The Limmattalbahn is, however, much more than a public transport project: it is a significant part of the way to support the economic development and the development of settlements and to strengthen the quality of life in the Limmattal valley. Important future settlements such as the Niderfeld, Schlieren-West or Kreuzäcker are opened up by the Limmattalbahn. The project offers a great opportunity for an increase in the attractiveness of the entire region.
The Limmattal is one of the fastest growing regions in the Greater Zürich / Aargau area. There will also be an increase in population and workplace numbers over the next 20 years, the authorities say. The cantons of Zürich and Aargau support the development of the Limmattal as an urban settlement belt.

by Elena Ilie

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