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Two times Tramlink – two new openings in Switzerland: 2) Limmattal Bahn

© Aargau Verkehr AG (AVA)

The second new opening in Switzerland took place in Geater Zurich area: Comparable to the Waldenburgerbahn to some extent, however, but built entirely new, the metre-gauge Limmattal Bahnwas under construction for more than five years. The 13.4 km long line, , with reserve double-track throughout – provides a new, attractive public transport service on rail infrastructure in the densely populated north-west of the Zurich conurbation.

Operating as line 20 of the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (ZVV – Zurich Public Transport Association), it connects to the city’s tram network at the Farbhof stop. Zurich’s city tram line 2 shares track as far as Schlieren Geissweid, and this section had actually started  passenger service already three years ago (see: https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/first-part-of-the-limmattalbahn-starts-operation/ ). The line 20 goes beyond Schlieren via Dietikon to Killwangen-Spreitenbach SBB and and began revenue service on 11 December 2022. The day before, various events had taken place to celebrate the opening of the new tram. Now, trains run every 15 minutes during the day from the SBB Altstetten station via a short branch section – opened, too, on 11 December – to Farbhof and then continue to Killwangen-Spreitenbach. Eight seven-section low-floor Stadler TRAMLINK had been procured after a joint tender together with ten very similar vehicles for Waldenburgerbahn – Stadler manufactured all of them in its factory in Valencia, Spain.

We have already reported in detail on the test runs on the line here: https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/alles-vorbereitet-die-neue-limmattalbahn-im-test/

The new service is operated by Aargau Verkehr AG (AVA), which also operates various other lines in the region. These include the Bremgarten-Dietikon Bahn, which a metre gauge line which shares a short section of common track with the new Limmattal Bahn in Dietikon. It is integrated into the ZVV as line S17 from Wohlen via Bremgarten to Dietikon, but is served by EMUs of a different design – supplied by Stadler. In addition, there are direct connections to SBB S-Bahn services at Altstetten, Schlieren Detikon, and Killwangen-Spreitenbach.

© Aargau Verkehr AG (AVA)

The entire planning of the Limmattalbahn had the aim to meet the completion date 11 December 2022. Daniel Issler, managing director and project manager of Limmattalbahn AG, was pleased that this deadline could be met and that the costs were actually lower than expected – something which is not quite common these days: “Even though the final bill is not yet known in detail, the Limmattalbahn will cost a maximum of 600 million instead of the budgeted 755 million Swiss francs. Reasons for this include the fact that planned, built-inreserves did not have to be drawn on and that several large construction contracts could be awarded more cheaply.”

A further extension of the new Limmattalbahn beyond the terminus Killwangen-Spreitenbach further to the northwest is being considered, but has not yet progressed beyond the preliminary planning stage.

The first part of this report with information on the reopening of the Waldenburgerbahn can be found here: https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/two-times-tramlink-two-new-openings-in-switzerland-1-waldenburgerbahn/