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IJtram upgrading, Netherlands

The IJtram in Amsterdam will reach its maximum capacity in the next few years while traffic demand is expected to grow due to housing developments in IJburg 2 and Zeeburgereiland. We were tasked with studying the most cost effective approach to meet demand, including the feasibility of a major upgrade to the metro.

Mott MacDonald developed this feasibility study with our strategic partner Zwarts & Jansma architecten for operating company, Almere Amsterdam.

The IJtram is a vital transport link within the Amsterdam tram and metro network. The current peak service level is 12 trams an hour in each direction, with tram operator GVB using short 29m Combino vehicles. It is the only access by public transport to IJburg. Plans have been issued to extend the tram line when IJburg 2 is developed. New bus links will be opened to feed the IJtram.

In 2025 a metro line is planned to open in IJburg 2. The National government is considering whether this IJmeerlijn will pass through IJburg below ground level or above. IJtram stops at IJburg Centrumeiland, when the IJmeerlijn is built below ground level
The feasibility concluded that upgrading the IJtram to a metro system is not advisable. The traffic forecast figures are too low for a metro system and the tram has a key local function in IJburg. Its many stops and easy access to the tram system within IJburg are very important for the locals.

As an alternative solution, we recommended improving the quality of the existing system to increase capacity by more than 100%. A new terminus at Amsterdam Central Station and a few grade separated junctions combined with longer tram vehicles will improve journey times and line capacity. The design team developed a feasibility design and also calculated the investment costs.

The capital expenditure is estimated at about €130 to €190 million. The latter value also includes a new stabling yard with quick service maintenance facilities. This excludes rolling stock - it is expected that for the IJtram upgrade 16 new light rail vehicles are needed with a maximum length of 75m. Our proposed solution costs significantly less than upgrading the IJtram to a metro - estimated at €480 million.
Following the feasibility study the client recommended our solution to the government. Construction activities is likely to be completed between 2020 and 2025.
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