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28 September 2011

M55 consortium submits feasibility study for 20km rail connection in eastern Amsterdam, Netherlands

The M55 consortium led by Mott MacDonald and including Baca Architects has submitted a feasibility study on behalf of the operating company Werkmaatschappij Almere-Amsterdam (WAA). The study was to assess the viability of a railway connection between Amsterdam-South and Almere-South Centre through the IJmeer Lake in the Netherlands.

Planned to support urban growth in eastern Amsterdam and in Almere, where over 25,000 new homes are planned, the new line will provide a fast and efficient connection between major developments planned for IJburg, phase 2 and Almere Pampus.

As part of its proposal, the M55 consortium has designed a 20 km long connection from Diemen-Zuid to Almere Centrum, including a 9km tunnel under IJburg and IJmeer. This will include five new stations, two underground and three above ground, with potential for further stations along the line. One of the underground stations, planned within IJburg phase 2, is set within a new canal and will provide facilities for boats to moor alongside to create the world’s first sail-and-ride station.

The material excavated from the construction of the new tunnel will be used to create a new island north of Pampus and a series of sand dunes and 'shallows' on the coast of Pampus for recreation and wildlife. The new development of Pampus has been planned around green and blue infrastructure, with the M55 line passing through a beautiful linear park in the centre of Almere.

The new island ‘Pampus IJland’ will include 3,000 homes, each one with a fantastic view over the lake or cove. The island will be formed around a sheltered cove - the ’eye’ - containing a new beach and moorings for yachts and floating homes. The island will be car free and instead, a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system has been suggested to provide high speed travel between the island and the facilities of the urban centre in Pampus. The island will be a pilot for sustainability off grid and off mains water supply, renewable power and rain water harvesting and recycling will provide for the inhabitants’ needs.

Martijn Donders, Mott MacDonald project manager commented: “From our initial innovative alternative outline design, to our now completed feasibility study, we have developed a strong business case for the new rail link. The project is attracting intense public and political interest and our proposal is extremely strong on crucial issues such as environmental impact, ease of use and integration into the urban landscape, and the economic benefit. Our solution also provides for phased implementation.”

Robert Barker, project architect at Baca Architect’s commented: “We have developed integrated landscape, architecture and public realm proposals along various sensitive waterside settings and tunnel portals. In addition we have developed spatial concepts for new homes in Almere Pampus and Pampus Island, and provided the designs for the sail and ride station.”

Ends


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