Linz Cityrunner tram at Doblerholz (Photo: H Hondius).

AUSTRIA: The Linz city authorities confirmed on March 5 that the planned southwestern extension of the 900 mm gauge tram Line 3 from Leonding to Pasching and Traun is to go ahead next year.

The StadtRegio-Tram project will add a further 4·4 km and eight stops to the 5·3 km Leonding branch of Line 3, which opened between Linz Hbf and Doblerholz in August 2011. At that stage, the tracks leading from the interim terminus to the Leonding depot were laid out to make provision for the Traun extension.

Having received building permits and environmental approval for its preferred route and stop locations in February, the city hopes to begin construction in 2014 for opening in early 2016. The first section as far as the PlusCity shopping centre in Pasching with three stops is expected to be ready for revenue service in mid-2015.

Beyond PlusCity, the line would serve a park-and-ride facility at Trauner Kreuzung, where interchange would also be provided with an extension of Linz AG’s trolleybus route 43. Line 3 would then run through the town centre to terminate at Schloss Traun.

Total cost of the work is put at around €70m. The communities of Traun, Parsching and Leonding are expected to contribute 20%, with the remainder coming from Linz and the Oberösterreich region.

At present Linz AG operates a 7½ min interval service on Line 3, using its latest batch of Bombardier Cityrunner low-floor cars. This service frequency would continue as far as Plus City, but current plans envisage that alternate trams would turn back at that point, giving Traun a basic 15 min off-peak service, compared to a 10 min interval on the southern branches of Lines 1 and 2. Journey time from Linz Hbf to Schloss Traun is projected at 22 min.