The Norwegian capital’s Italian-made trams are too destructive and noisy. High maintenance costs now mean Ruter is considering doing away with them.
“We now need to embark on a major drive if we’re going to continue to have trams in Oslo in the future, by both upgrading infrastructure and replacing” Ruter development director Hanne Bertnes Norli tells website osloby.no.
Oslo has 32 SL95-type trams. 30 are taken out of service and undergoing inspection after some of them were shown to have suffered major rust damage earlier this week.
The Aftenposten-run site reports the trams could, at worst, break in two and the matter as "a blunder".
And whilst faults are found with the 14 Ansaldo-produced ones seen so far, public transport company Sporveien’s Oslotrikken is looking into renting in replacements. Buses are currently serving the trams’ routes.
“This is one of the things that are being considered. But this is no "quick fix". They must be adapted to local conditions in Oslo, there’s an approval process, and drivers must trained,” Cato Asperud, the company’s head of communications says.
The capital’s 40 SL79s are also ageing. Ruter’s new report recommends several measures, one of them scrapping the Italians completely and spending NOK 2.3 billion (about EUR 303.3 million) on 98 ‘off-the shelf’ replacements. This is Ruter’s recommendation, according to the website.
At the same time, the foreigners are still in the game. The report also lists the possibility of keeping the SL95s, and ‘just’ replacing the SL79s.
This would either be with off-the-shelf ones, or trams custom-made suitable for the streets and infrastructure of Oslo.
Ruter expects passenger numbers to increase from 45 million to 88 million towards 2030. If all things go to plan, the first new trams will be ready for service in 2018, with a complete new fleet on the rails three years later, according to the report.