Latest on the Tram project for Skopje City
Based on the report of Mr. David Spencer (World News / Republic of Macedonia)
7th May 2012
Announcements were made in February 2012 about a tender to be awarded to a contractor for construction, maintenance and operation of a single line route light rail system in Skopje. This is an item which has been developing slowly and the feasibility study conducted by Vialto Consulting (Hungary) has expedited matters with favourable conclusions.
The very latest news is as follows:
- Skopje will now get its Line 1 tram.
- Indeed a concessionaire should be decided by the end of May (expectation).
- The line will be 12 kms long (24kms round trip).
- The western terminus will now be Bazaar Gjorce Petrov and the eastern terminus will be Novo Lisiche.
- The line will be equipped with double track.
- Peak period operation requirement is specified at 4 minute tram intervals.
- Off peak intervals are required to be every 6 minutes except 22.00h to 23.00h when trams will operate every 10 minutes.
- The actual tram configuration and design is unclear at present. The requirement seems to be for a capacity of 200 passengers per vehicle with a fleet of 22 vehicles + a single heritage tram. Heritage trams are used very effectively in Prague and Zurich to perform special nostalgic trips or special party tours. Vienna and Zagreb do still have heritage trams also.
- It seems certain that cars will be at least 1 extended car long (however new single car construction is not the normal thing these days for full light rail systems). It is highly likely that the additional cars will be joined together by an articulated arrangement. Due to expected loadings however the possibility of 5 car trams is not dismissed. 5 car trams are readily supplied from Bombardier in Vienna (a fleet of 16 having just arrived in Blackpool UK). However Stadler of Berlin also supply 5 car vehicles (a large number having recently been supplied to London UK).
Estimated dates for construction & procurement up to first public tram based on experience suggest:
- Begin diversions (re-route electric, water, gas and telephone + streets) Dec 2012 (accommodation works).
- Finish diversion works Nov 2013.
- Procurement of trams from manufacturer Jan 2014 and build tram depot Jan 2014.
- Start laying tram lines (double track) and build tram stations April 2014.
- Install electricity supply including transformers/feed equipment and OLE July 2014.
- Arrival trams in Skopje March 2015.
- Testing May 2015.
- First tram taking passengers July 2015.
Mr. Kristijan Gjorgjievski from Vialto has also confirmed the following;
(a) Tram stops and vehicles will comply with disability guidelines and tram stops are likely to have platforms for step free and wheelchair boarding.
(b) The tramline Nr 1 will serve the central railway station. The line and tram stops will be under the station structure.
(c) The City of Skopje authority is hoping to finalise a tender for smart ticketing on the bus system very shortly and Vialto share my expectation that this smart technology will extend over to the trams in time.
The concessionaires (whoever they will be) are likely to be under contract for some time. I believe 30 to 35 years. This is a long time and costs could rise significantly in that period of time.
The cost of the project construction plus tramcars is reported as US$ 239 million (Euro 180 million). These prices suggest European constructors and European tramcar manufacture.
Should You be interested, please find additional details about the Skopje Tram project here.