CEREMONIES were held on June 23 to mark the start of work on an 18 km northern extension of the Saarbrücken tram-train network. Mayor Lothar Ringle joined the Managing Director of Stadtbahn Saar GmbH Prof Dr-Ing Franz Heinrich for the event in Riegelsberg.

Construction of the initial 4·8 km of Line 1 North from Reigelsberg Süd to Etzenhofen is expected to get underway in September, and take about 18 months. This street-running section will have seven stops. The next 12·5 km from Etzenhofen to Lebach will follow an existing rail alignment, before the trams diverge again onto a new 700m spur to reach their terminus at Lebach-Janach. Work on the second phase is expected to start in mid-2005.

The start of construction follows an announcement by the Minister of the Economy for Saarland Dr Hanspeter Georgi in April that the Land government had approved funding for the Saarbahn expansion programme. Design work is getting underway on the 1·7 km initial section of east-west Line 2 between R