Crown Bridges Light Rail – Helsinki

In the Finnish capital city, the Crown Bridges Light Rail is a new, attractive public transport connection.  by Bernhard Votsmeier

Not far from Helsinki city centre, the Hakaniemi area is located in the Kallio district. Hakaniemi is an up-coming and developing area with jobs, culture and housing. There, the route begins with a junction from the existing tram route of lines 3, 6, 7 and 9 immediately before the Hakaniemi tram stop.

The rest of the route leads south-east over a total of three bridges. The architectural highlight is the 1.2 km long Kruunuvuorensilta bridge, which leads from the island of Korkeasaari to the district of Laajasalo, which is located on an island. This makes it the longest bridge in Finland. In addition to the LRT, only cyclists and pedestrians will be allowed on the bridge. Two double track changes on both sides will make it possible to route tram traffic over the bridge on a single track to the left or right in emergencies.

The total length of the route is approx. 8 km and will be mostly 2-lane. For the most part, the trains will run on a special track independently of road traffic. 

Two new lines will be introduced. One line from Hakaniemi to the Haakoninlahti turning loop in the residential area of Kruunuvuorenranta and the second line to the terminus at Laajasalontie.

The journey time from Hakaniemi to the final stop Laajasalontie should be 17 minutes. 

HANNING & KAHL has been awarded the contract for the signalling system for this project. A total of 8 control areas will be equipped with point controls, signalling systems, point drives and accessories. Reliable vehicle detection is carried out via blocking circuits or wheel sensors. For control commands and route requirements, the bidirectional message transmission system HCS-V is used.

All point controllers and signalling systems are connected to a central server via fibre optic cables. ConnAct Operation with the software modules Map, Operation & Observation as well as the Event Viewer is used for the visualization of the site areas and for diagnostic purposes. Existing systems will be integrated into this process. 

The first test phase is planned for the 3rd quarter of 2025, with the complete test over the entire route scheduled to start in November 2025. The line is scheduled to open for regular service at the beginning of 2027.

The Crown Bridges link will ensure smooth and effective traffic both in and out of Laajasalo and into and out of the city. It is an attractive connection at a time when the population of the district will more than double due to the completion of a completely new residential district Kruunuvuorenranta. The project will also provide significantly improved transport links to and from Korkeasaari, where Helsinki Zoo is located. With more than 500,000 visitors per year, Korkeasaari is one of Helsinki‘s most popular attractions.

We are pleased to be part of this challenging project and thus contribute to making public transport in Helsinki even more attractive and efficient. We will certainly report back after completion! I, for one, am already looking forward to  a tram ride over the Kruunuvuorensilta bridge.