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Inauguration in Mannheim: The Franklin Line starts passenger service

Opening ceremony | © rnv GmbH/Haubner

The metre-gauge route network of Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (rnv) grew by 1.8 kilometres on 17 December 2023: Since then, the new tram line 16 has been providing access to the new Franklin district in the north of Mannheim, which currently has 6,500 inhabitants but is set to grow to more than 10,000. It branches off from the existing tram line from Mannheim to Weinheim-Heidelberg at the Bensheimer Straße stop and runs via the Franklinschule and Franklin Mitte stops to the terminal loop “Sullivan”. The new section is double-track throughout and uses its own right-of-way. It will initially be operated as a shuttle service – the new line 16 therefore only has four stops, travel time is just 4 minutes. From 2027, there will also be a direct connection via the city centre and the new route through Glückstein to Mannheim-Rheinau as soon as the section of the former OEG line 5 in and around Käfertal Bahnhof has been upgraded.

© Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH
© Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH
A network scheme is available at: https://www.urbanrail.net/eu/de/ma/mannheim.htm

Line 16 runs every 20 minutes (every 30 minutes in the evening and on Sundays) and replaces the existing bus service in the Franklin district to a large extent. There will still be rush hour journeys on bus route 67 and the RABus project with autonomous shuttles in the district. With the completion of the planned capacity expansion of the Käfertal Bahnhof stop, line 16 will have a transfer-free connection via the city centre and the new route through Glückstein to Mannheim-Rheinau from 2027 onwards.

An official opening took place the day before the start of scheduled operations, and all interested parties were able to test the new connection from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – rnv’s new Skoda low-floor tram was of course also in service on the new route.

The total costs of EUR 33 million are funded in part by the federal government with EUR 16.2 million and the federal state of Baden-Württemberg with EUR 3.7 million.

Direct connection at Bensheimer Str. | © Stadt Mannheim