Tuesday, May 17

Now everyone can get on board. This is how the new tram has adapted to the city and the city has adapted to it.

Signs and trees have had to give way, and some stops are too short. The new tram has offered several challenges for Oslo, but now most have been solved.

Tram manager in Sporveien, Birte Sjule, admits that she felt nerves on Monday morning. The new trams have been through an extensive test program, but there was still extra excitement when passengers were to come on board.

Tram driver Erik Asbjørnsen can not help but smile. In fact, it is not just bus drivers who are in a good mood. Tram manager in Sporveien, Birte Sjule, believes Asbjørnsen and his colleagues are now moving from “driving the old Lada to a new Tesla”.

– It is new and nice and delicious. You just have to get used to it being a slightly different way of driving. It is completely gold, Asbjørnsen thinks.

On Monday, he drove the first passengers on the maiden voyage from Holtet to Jernbanetorget. During the 15-minute long trip, several spectators stop and take pictures.

To get there, there has been an extensive process where the tram had to be adapted to the city, and the city adapted to the tram.

– It’s quiet and nice … but now we almost have to drive, says tram driver Erik Asbjørnsen and sets course for Jernbanetorget. The new trams are quieter than the old trams. It is also noticeable from the driver’s seat.

Wider, longer, lower

To start with the latter first: The new tram is wider, longer and lower than the old carriages. Thus, the number of possible passengers on the tram can double when everyone is in place during 2024.

But it’s not just about putting a bigger tram on the rails and dure off. Aftenposten has previously written about how the tram has for months slipped out in the shelter of the night with Styrofoam plates on the sides.

And it is not always the Styrofoam plates have returned home intact.

Several signs have been moved and adjusted to make room. Trees and shrubs have also had to give way. Especially on the Lilleaker line, a lot of vegetation has been cleared.

But it’s not just wider. It is also longer. Line 13 passengers will notice this. For several of the city’s stops are simply too short. This includes the Ekebergparken stop.

According to Transport Agency Councilor Sirin Stav, Sporveien and Ruter are working on and making a plan for improvements at the stops that are too short. But so far it will not be possible to use the rear doors at some stops.

Sporveien CEO Cato Hellesjø, Samferdselsbyråd Sirin Stav (MDG) and Mayor Marianne Borgen (SV) had a separate trip by tram just minutes before it opened its doors to passengers.

A completely unique look

But it is not just the city that has to adapt to the tram. The tram has also adapted to the city. In fact, so much so that there is no other tram in the world that is quite like Oslo’s latest addition.

This is especially seen in the front and on the sides of the tram. The old trams are more or less flat in the front. The new ones have a round shape in the front.

Why? The most important reason is security.

Oslo is one of the cities in Europe where the tram runs mostly in mixed traffic. Every year there are several collisions with the tram and other road users. A round shape in the front is safer if there is to be a collision. Then it is more likely that what you collide with is pushed to the side, than for example under it.

The new tram has a round snout. This is to make it safer in traffic.

Another detail that is unique to Oslo is the curved shape on the sides. This is done in order to be able to go as close to the stops as possible so that the “gap” is minimal.

Project manager for the new trams, Bjørn Bjune, can tell that trams elsewhere in the world are more square than those made for Oslo.

Bjune also says that the new trams have extra “sanding”. There is sand that is sprayed out of the tram to get a grip on the rails. Other European tram cities do not have as many steep climbs as Oslo, for example up to Ekeberg.

– It will be slippery there, and then we have to have sand. We have adapted the carriage especially to that, he says.

Not finished testing

Although the tram is now carrying passengers, the comprehensive test program is not yet over. For five months, it is defined as a “test with passengers”.

Among other things, Sporveien will now look at whether the cleaning works properly. If people get on and off easily. Whether people find a seat as needed and how passengers experience the travel information on board.

– We will continue to work on some minor things in the coming years, says tram manager Sjule.


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