CEREMONIES will be held on August 20 to mark the opening of the first stage of Oslo Sporveier’s metro ring line, although revenue services are scheduled to start on August 17. The 2·9 km section from Ullevål Stadion to Storo will be served by an extension of Line 5 which currently terminates at Blindern. Under construction since June 2000, the 5 km ring is expected to be completed in 2006 at a total cost of NKr1·3bn.

Diverging from the Sogsvann line north of Ullevål Stadion, the first phase runs in bored rock tunnel to an underground station at Nydalen, serving a former industrial suburb now being rejuvenated as a high-tech zone. The line surfaces at Storo, where the temporary terminus provides interchange with the city’s tram network, but not yet with the nearby Grefsen station on NSB’s Gjøvik line. Phase 2 will see the route continue on the surface, paralleling the railway as far as Sinsen, after which it will run in tunnel to a junction with the Vestli line at Carl Berners Plass.

Completion of the ring will coincide with the arrival of 99 new metro cars which OS ordered from Siemens on June 26 at a cost of NKr1·6bn. The 33 three-car trainsets will be built in Wien to Siemens’ MoMo modular design, and will feature full-width gangways between all cars. All axles will be motored to cope with Oslo’s steep gradients, and each unit will accommodate up to 500 people. The first units are scheduled for delivery at the end of 2005 for testing in winter conditions, with the final units arriving in 2008.