TENDERS are to be called shortly for the construction of three ’high-quality’ light rail lines in Rotterdam, following the allocation of more than 400m guilders for the scheme by the Netherlands transport ministry. Local operator RET says the grant is not enough to cover all three routes, but the success of the prototype ’Tram-Plus’ route to Beverwaard launched two years ago means that it can carry the risk on the remainder of the cost. Traffic on Route 20 has been growing by 6% a year since the line was upgraded.

First line to be completed in 2003 will run 8·5 km from the western node of Schiedam to Vlaardingen. An initial section of this line was built to serve the Fayenoord football stadium in time for the Euro 2000 championships, and RET currently runs charter services for match traffic.

The second line will run to Ijsselmonde, and will be ready by September 2004. It will be followed within a year by the third line from Barendrecht to a new suburb known as Carnisselande. In the longer term, RET Director General Drs R J A Clayden hopes to extend the Ijsselmonde line by a further 8 km as the eastern suburbs continue to grow.