In 1978, Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta was the first city on the American continent to reverse the decades-long trend of abolishing trams and light rail and open a modern light rail system, which has since grown to two lines. For further expansion, however, those responsible in Edmonton decided several years ago in favour of a modern low-floor design solution, following the example of so many other new systems worldwide.
With some delay, but all the greater expectations, the new Valley Line Southeast started operation on Saturday, 4 November 2023. The first train departed early in the morning at 5.15 am. The new trains serve 12 stations on their 13.2 km journey between 102 Street in the city centre and Mill Woods in the south-east of the Canadian metropolis. At the Churchill stop in the city centre there is a direct connection to the existing light rail lines. In future, it is foreseen to extend the new low-floor line even further from 102 Street to Lewis Farms in the west via a further 16 stations. However, it will be several years until then, with an opening date of 2027/28 on the cards. The construction work is already quite advanced, but the rhythm of completion and commissioning naturally also depends here on the provision of all funds on time, as foreseen in the budget. The previous south-east section of the Vally Line already cost around 1.8 billion Canadian dollars (= approx. 1.25 billion euros).
Line extensions in Edmonton affect the existing high-floor light rail network, too. In 2024, the service on the red line is to be extended by 1.5 km beyond their current terminus at NAIT to the site of the former airport in an urban development area. Further extensions to the north-west are planned.
26 new Bombardier low-floor trains operate on the Valley Line with the numbers 1001-1026: they are seven-car, 42 metres long and offer 78 seats with a total capacity of 275 passengers. The new trams had already started their first test runs at the beginning of 202, as we reported here: https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/first-test-rides-on-the-new-light-rail-line-in-edmonton/.
An network sketch of Edmonton’s light rail lines can be found at: