CONSTRUCTION of a 7·4 km western extension to the Bern tram network is expected to begin shortly, following the award of a concession for the project by the Swiss government in mid-January.

Städtichen Verkehrsbetriebe Bern expects to complete Tram West by 2007.

The line will start from a junction with the present Bernmobil network in the city centre and run along Effingerstrasse to Auserholligen, where it would split into two branches serving Brünnen and Bümpliz. The tram line will replace SVB’s existing trolleybus routes 13 and 14, which are currently handling around 40000 passengers/day.

Total cost is put at SFr122m, of which the state will contribute 42%. The remaining 58% will be shared by Bern’s city and canton governments. The city approved its share in November, but a referendum is needed to authorise the cantonal funding.

H The government has also approved a concession for VBZ to build a 450m link with the planned Glatttal light rail network in Oerlikon. To be completed by 2008, it will permit Glatttal Line A services from Zürich Airport to continue over VBZ Line 10 tracks as far as Zürich Hauptbahnhof.