ITALY: Construction work has started for the 16·5 km Red Line tram route in Bologna, with events marking the occasion held at the site of the future depot in Borgo Panigale and the northern terminus at Michelino-Fiera.
The first of four routes in a planned 57 km network, the Red Line will connect Emilio Lepido in the west to Bologna Centrale station and then turn north, with two branches serving Parcheggio Michelino and Facoltà di Agraria/CAAB. Most of the route will run on a segregated alignment.
The line is to be operated with battery powered trams to avoid the need for catenary in the historic city centre. Completion is envisaged for 2026.
Ridership on the Red Line is projected at 80 000 passengers per weekday, rising to 105 000 passengers when the entire network has been completed.
Plans for the four-line network were announced in March 2019. The Green Line is expected to be the second route to be developed, with the first section connecting the Red Line with the municipalities of Corticella and Castel Maggiore to the north. The second stage would run east to Due Madonne.
The Yellow Line would link Casteldebole in the west to Rastignano in the southeast, while the Blue Line would run from Casalecchio Garibaldi in the southwest to San Lazzaro di Sevenna in the east.
When completed, the four-line network is forecast to carry around 300 000 passengers/day, accounting for 21% share of all public transport journeys. Bologna once had an extensive tram network developed from 1880, but this was abandoned in 1963.