GERMANY: The third phase of the Nord-Süd Stadtbahn project in Köln was inaugurated on December 12 at a ceremony attended by around 450 invited guests. Regular services began the following day.

The 2·4 km section forms a branch off Route 16 at Schönhauser Straße, running north to Bonner Wall, Chlodwigplatz, Kartäuser Hof and Severinstraße. It is almost entirely in 30 m deep twin-bore tunnels.

Services operate as Route 17 on the new section, continuing beyond Schönhauser Straße on the existing Route 16 to Rodenkirchen. On weekdays between 07.00 and 08.00 Route 17 runs to Sürth. Services operate between 06.00 and 23.00 (01.15 on Fridays and Saturdays), every 10 min until 20.00 on weekdays, and at frequencies of 15 min or 30 min at other times.

Interchange is provided with routes 15 and 16 at Chlodwigplatz, and with routes 3 and 4 at Severinstraße. Ridership on Route 17 is forecast at 11 000 passengers per weekday.

Construction of the Nord-Süd Stadtbahn project to connect the high-floor north-south light rail routes through a tunnel under the old town started in 2004 but has been delayed by a ground collapse in March 2009. The first two phases opened in 2012 and 2013; the final stage between Severinstraße and Heumarkt is still to open. The total cost of the project is €1·15bn.