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The M55 Consortium, led by Mott MacDonald, conducted a feasibility study on behalf of the Operating Company Amsterdam Almere The total length of the M55-IJmeerlijn between Diemen-Zuid and Almere Centrum is 20 kilometers, of which 9 km is in a tunnel under the IJmeer and reclaimed islands of IJburg.

IJmeer metro link, Netherlands

The M55 Consortium, led by Mott MacDonald, conducted a feasibility study on behalf of the Operating Company Amsterdam Almere (WAA). The solution, the M55-IJmeerlijn, is a metro connection between Amsterdam and the outlying city of Almere via an immersed tunnel under a large lake, the ‘IJmeer’.

The new M55 metro represents a 40% saving on projected construction cost compared to the reference design while enabling a higher frequency service.

total length of metro line
in tunnel
new stations
world's first 'sail and ride' station
saving compared to projected construction cost of reference design
metros per hour in each direction in rush hour

The feasibility design for the new M55 metro utilises the existing metro infrastructure in Amsterdam including spare capacity, follows the shortest possible route, uses lightweight rolling stock and is therefore highly efficient and cost effective. It represents a 40% saving on projected construction cost compared to the reference design while enabling a higher frequency service – 16 metros per hour in each direction in the rush hour; a fast, attractive and reliable public transport system.

Mott MacDonald has been supported in the M55 Consortium by MNO Vervat, HTM Consultancy, Project & Process Consultancy, EconoVision, Balancia, BACA Architects and Zwarts & Jansma Architects.

Of the 20km M55-IJmeerlijn between Diemen-Zuid and Almere Centrum, 9km is in a tunnel under the IJmeer and reclaimed islands of IJburg. Within the urban area of Almere the line is designed on an elevated structure. The main features of the M55 solution are summarised as:

Improving service

As well as utilising existing infrastructure in Amsterdam and taking the shortest route, the design builds on existing proposals for segregating the Amsterdam metro lines. Segregation increases the reliability of every metro line as each line will have its own dedicated infrastructure. This allows for a significant increase in frequency and improved metro service for all passengers with shorter waiting times.

Connecting urban areas

Two new underground stations are proposed at IJburg and three new overground stations in Almere. The design of the track alignment allows for additional stations in the future, when sufficient demand has been established in these areas. The M55-IJmeerlijn is characterised by its local attractiveness, with many stops. The line is complementary to and not in competition with the train connection over the Hollandse Brug, which also links these urban areas.

The proposed tunnel under the IJmeer leads to an improvement of the local ecology in the long term. The design retains the open character of the IJmeer and will not restrict the strong growth in recreation. The UNESCO heritage site Fort Pampus will not be affected.

Spatial integration

In Diemen, the metro line is bundled with the railway tracks and a new cycle link between IJburg and DiemerTrekvaart will be created.

The M55-IJmeerlijn in IJburg passes underground, making the quality of living in this new area very attractive.

The line runs above ground in Almere through a green corridor away from houses. This will limit the visual and noise impact.

Apart from Almere Pampus where 22,000 houses will be built, the proposal includes a small island, called Almere IJland, which totals an additional 3,000 houses. The island is characterised by exclusive residential environments, in maximum contact with the water, and is a pilot for sustainable urban development and for applying the Almere Principles.

First ‘sail and ride’ station

The new underground station at IJburg Middeneiland is located in an urban area with many canals and positioned in the centre of the reclaimed land. As well as normal metro station facilities, it will be transformed into the world’s first ‘sail and ride’ station – where customers can moor their boat or arrive by water taxi and continue their journey using the frequent metro service.

Catalyst for Almere

The expansion of Almere Pampus requires a different identity. Almere should become more part of the Amsterdam Metropolis. Amsterdam and Almere must complement and supplement each other. The development area of Almere Pampus will include a beautiful urban environment, a wide range of facilities and events and is only minutes away from Amsterdam city centre. A metro fits within this picture and will contribute to an attractive business climate. Therefore the M55-IJmeerlijn functions as a catalyst for this change of scale and identity in Almere.

Low risk option

  • Phasing and flexibility – the M55-IJmeerlijn can be built in phases, with a first phase to IJburg and a second phase to Almere.
  • Independence – construction is independent of other projects in the area. There is no dependency with the housing development of Almere IJland, neither the North/South line metro extention or the extension and modifications to the main rail network.
  • High social acceptability – through optimal access and the low noise and visual impact.
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