BERGEN city council’s light rail project office, Bybanekontoret, expects to start prequalification next month for supply of vehicles to operate a projected two-line network in Norway’s second city. Subject to approval of funding by the national parliament, a contract should be awarded at the beginning of 2005.

Plans for four of the five sections of the 9·8 km initial route were approved by the city council on September 29, and the fifth on October 13. Line 1 will run south from Starvhusgaten in the city centre to Nesttun. Construction is expected to begin in 2005, for opening by the end of 2007.

A significant portion of the funding will be provided by enlarging the city’s road toll zone as approved in December 2002. In addition there will be contributions from the national, county and city governments.

The initial line will require 12 bidirectional low-floor LRVs to carry 26000 passengers a day. Services would run every 10min off peak, and at 5min headways in the peaks.

Bybanekontoret hopes to complete a 40 km network by 2014. Line 1 would be continued southwest for another 10·7 km to Rådal and the city’s airport at Flesland, requiring a further nine LRVs. Line 2 would start with a central section linking Sandviken and the city centre with Oasen in Fyllingsdalen. This would later be extended north to Åsane and west to Loddefjord and Storevatnet.