INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1328 11 MAY 2019
BRANCH LINE NEWS
This newsletter covers the World outside the British Isles from information
supplied by members.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS TEAM:-
International Editor (to whom all email and postal contributions should be sent):
Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ
Email: [email protected]
Deputy International Editor: Derek Woodward, 68 Church Street, Matlock, DERBY, DE4 3BY
The Easter start of the 2019 season on the Museumseisenbahn Minden was marked by a ‘re-enactment’ of the
Prussian era featuring local people in period costumes on the ‘Prussian train’.
The train represents the time around the turn of the 20th century, with authentic carriages from that era. Coach 2815
is painted brown, which was the colour of third class coaches. Our member shared a bay with several of the costumed
re-enactors, and as the train pulled away from Minden Oberstadt, bound for Kleinenbremen, a barrel organ was
playing on the train. Sadly, the Prussian steam engine T13 "Szczecin 7906" was failed before departure and a diesel
 Austria - Reutte to Kempten electrification to finally be completed up to the border
The only railway in Tirol that is not electrified is the 14.4 km line between Reutte and Schönbichl on the
German border. Now ÖBB-Infrastruktur has announced that it will electrify Reutte to Schönbichl by the
end of 2019. Two blockades will be needed, so do not plan on travelling the line from 16 March to 26
April and 14 September to 3 November.
 Belgium - The Kusttram, Gent and Brussel tram observations
The Kusttram (coast tram in English) connects the cities and towns along the entire Belgian coast from
De Panne near the French border to Knokke-Heist. At 68 km it is the longest tram line in the world, as
well as one of the few interurban tramways in the world to remain in operation. The line is metre gauge
and electrified at 600 V DC. An interesting feature is the two alternative routes that exist around both
ends of the Leopoldkanaal locks, just east of Zeebrugge, and the similar single track diversion around
the inland end of the Boudewijnkanaal lock. This avoids delays when the road bridge that the tram line
normally follows is raised for boats to pass. There is a similar feature at the southern end of Ostend
station around the lock entrance to the Vlotdok.
The Kusttram is being presently being rerouted at Nieuwpoort cutting out Lombardsidje. A member
passing though saw that at the eastern end track and overhead has been erected, but failed to observe
the western end. Opening of the deviation is expected in the latter half of 2019. At Ostend single line
working is in operation from Leopold III-Laan through a new station sharing the overall roof of the SNCB
station, the De Lijn station having been demolished.
The poster explains the current split of route 4 into two parts
In Gent depot workings off Gent route 4 run via route 1 from St. Pieters. This involves a complete circuit
of Koningin Maria Hendrikaplein and calls at both stops 20 and 18 - rather to our members surprise two
ladies were waiting to join at stop 18 which is only served by these journeys. They also use the rare south
to east curve at Korenmarkt . It is not immediately obvious why they don't just use route 2 - presumably
to keep the equipment working. Route 4 itself currently is split into two parts.
Despite the date on the poster there is no sign of any imminent re-opening. Trams from UZ do an empty
shunt, while passengers from Gentbrugge (Mouscou is also currently closed due to the state of the
track) are deposited in the road before the tram runs empty into the temporary platform, just beyond
which about a metre of track is missing. It appears to be normal practice in Gent to lock trams up while
the driver changes ends/has a cigarette. UZ itself is interesting, not only for what must surely be the
shortest destination display on any public transport, but also the road crossing just short of the two
platform terminus has level crossing style indicators for road traffic - presumably because trams cross
on both lines in either direction as the scissors is on the opposite side of the road. Short lengths of track
from the Korenmarkt into Botermarkt and a shorter section into Sint-Michielshelling are in place for the
future tram operation of the erstwhile trolley bus 3.
In Brussels the Metro test track at Haren depot, which is not connected to the Metro was clearly disused
and partially lifted - presumably all work can now be done at either Jaques Brel or Delta depots.
 Czech Republic – Brno trams
A member visited the Brno tram system in March taking advantage of a 24 hr ticket for trams and buses
costing 90 Kc. and found two new sections of track worth recording in EGTRE.
The timetable shows a few depot runs to Vozovna Pisárky which are the only services using the
Mendlovo Namesti east to west curve. The timetable clearly showed these advertised in service to the
depot so as the plan at http://www.doprava.unas.cz/schemata/kolejova/cz/brno_ed.pdf does not show
any public stop at the depot he went to find out…
The depot access line is on the right, and is the route taken by the tram service travelled by our member. Note also the crane
Which marks the location of construction for a new tunnel from Pisárky to Bráfova under the depot. The reason is road widening
on Zabovreska street from two lanes to four. The new tram section will be 1800 metres long, the length of a new tram tunnel will
be 500 metres and it should open during autumn 2020. Until then route 1 will be single track.
His tram took the second depot access line and continued parallel at ground level to the passing route
1 which drops into a cutting. It terminated at a platform on the curve behind the smaller shed shown on
the doprava map, about 300 metres off route in total. The Pisárky tram stop is nearby reached by a
sloping footpath, and some ordinary passengers obviously knew this as he had company for the walk.
There are three current route closures.
Route 4 beyond Úvoz towards Náměstí Míru is being reconstructed, a temporary crossover is used out
of service beyond the set down/pick up stop. Secondly, the Stará Osada branch is closed with no track
at the junction. And finally the Komárov branch is closed. A local contact advises it is being rebuilt in
„Plotni“ street and should open approx. September 2020. Track is lifted near Úzká .
 Denmark/Germany – Much of the Vogelfluglinie closing shortly
At present transport on the Kobenhavn to Hamburg corridor is by the ‘Vogelfluglinie’ which is train
Kobenhavn to Rødby Færge, train ferry to Puttgarden, then train to Lübeck and Hamburg.
The train ferry section is to be replaced c. 2027 by the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link, which is a planned
immersed tunnel that will connect the Danish island of Lolland with the German island of Fehmarn. In
connection with this the Danish section from Ringsted to Rødby Færge is to be electrified and upgraded
with the Næstved - Nykøbing Falster section closed with bus replacement from 24 March to 28
September 2019 From 29 September 2019 the closed section will be shortened to Ørehoved (temporary
station) - Nykøbing Falster. All EC trains between Kobenhavn and Hamburg will in future run via Odense
and Padborg. And if you want to travel on the train ferry you have until 14 December 2019 according to
the latest information, though the ferry itself will probably continue for cars and foot passengers.
On the German side of the ‘Vogelfluglinie’ a double-track electrified line on a largely new alignment is
to be built between Lübeck and Puttgarden to serve the Fehmarn Belt tunnel. When the new line is
completed, the redundant single-track sections will be decommissioned, enabling rail traffic to be
routed away from the centre of several small towns along the route, including Ratekau, Grossenbrode
and Sierksdorf. Oldenburg (Holstein) will get a new ‘out of town’ station. The route of the new railway
is shown in red on the plan below (e-BLNI only).
Based on news reports from the regional press DB are planning to close the Lübeck to Puttgarden line
for rebuilding and electrification to double track from the 2020 timetable - which probably means this
December in reality. Closure is for at least four years with bus replacement. Whether the train ferry
operation will revive in 2024/25 is not clear as by then construction of the new Fehmarnbelt tunnel will
be well under way.
 France – Nîmes Pont du Gard and Montpellier Sud de France increased services confirmed
Opening of the TGV station under construction on the CNM near Nîmes, has been confirmed for
December 2019. Passengers arriving by TGV at the new station will be able to change to a local train. 44
regional trains, daily, will stop at Nîmes Pont du Gard (TER) from next December. The journey time to
the centre of Nîmes will be 8 minutes. This solution is much better than that proposed at the bypass
station outside Montpellier. At present only 4 TGV's and 4 intercité trains operate to/from Montpellier
Sud de France. From next December;
- the intercité trains will be transferred back to Montpellier Saint Roch and the splendid new station
outside the city will be reserved for TGV's.
- It has been announced that 24 TGV's (12 return services) will use the bypass from December 2019,
stopping at Nîmes Pont du Gard and Montpellier Sud de France. Unfortunately, the public transport
access to the new station at Montpellier is complicated - see below.
- 28 TGV's (14 return services) will continue to use Montpellier Saint Roch city centre station.
Montpellier. The city has one of the larger tramway networks in France; 4 lines, 84 stops, 56 km. In
March 2019, the city council voted to create a 5th line that will open in 2022 - 2025. An urgent need is
an extension of Tram Line 1 from the current terminus at Odysseum to the TGV station "Sud de France",
a distance of 1.3 km. It is reported that the line 1 extension would cost 45 million euros. Work is expected
to start next year and be finished at the end of 2021. In the absence of a direct connection by tram to
the centre, there is a shuttle bus ("Navette") between the new TGV station Montpellier Sud de France
and the tram stop "Place de France" (Line 1).
If transferring between the centre of Montpellier and the new TGV station by public transport (TàM),
travel time is at least 40 minutes to cross between Montpellier Saint Roch Gare SNCF and Montpellier
Sud de France TGV station. Take tram line 1 from Saint Roch to Place de France. Each of the four tram
lines in Montpellier has a different livery on its trams, look for the blue tram with white seagulls in the
direction "Odysseum". There are 10 stops in 18 minutes. At "Place de France", look for the navette to
the Gare TGV (10 minute journey) The shuttle stop is a short distance from the station building. Follow
the stickers on the ground ! Compost (validate) your ticket on the tram and the shuttle bus. The ticket
is valid one hour. In the direction of Montpellier centre, the Line 1 trams indicate Mosson. [Walking from
Odysseum to Gare TGV takes about 15 minutes, and is straightforward once you have found the right
way out of the shopping complex. Ed]. Courtesy of the French Railways Society
 Germany - Factory to close but main branch remains open
Neuburxdorf is between Falkenberg (Elster) and Riesa. There is no passenger station, but line 6827 runs
west, then south to Mühlberg Kieswerk at km 6.8. At km 4.3 a short branch runs to the Südzucker sugar
factory in Brottewitz. The factory will close next year along with the short branch of about 500 metres.
Gravel traffic from Mühlberg Kieswerk will continue, and there is even a plan for further track to a new
gravel pit south of Neuburxdorf.
 Germany - Monsheim to Kaiserslautern not ready yet
KBS 662.1 Although the DB timetable shows trains running on timetable 662.1 (Monsheim - Langmeil (-
Kaiserslautern)) with three train pairs on Sundays and public holidays from 1 May until 27 October 2019,
the trains will probably not run this year as the upgrading of the route is not finished. Completion is
expected by 2020.
 Germany – Kohlebahnen Haselbach faces problems
The 14km, 900 mm gauge line from Meuselwitz to Regis-Breitingen (on the S-bahn between Leipzig and
Altenburg) is the remainder of the extensive network of lignite railways in this area and was used to
transport lignite to the briquette factories at Haselbach and Regis-Breitingen. Since 1998 it has been a
heritage railway operating in the summer months, but it faces problems at Meuselwitz with subsidence,
or ‘cavities under the track bed’ as google translate puts it. The heritage operation last operated in
autumn 2018. The German mining management company (LMBV) are responsible for restoration and
made a start in November 2018 with the objective of completion by April 2019 – the start of the new
season. However further problems with groundwater levels have been found, and at the present rate of
progress it may be two years before trains can run again. This is all the more ironic because, in December
2017, plans were announced to extend the route from Regis-Breitingen to the Haselbacher See.
 Germany - Regio Infra wants to close Parchim to Malchow and Plau am See to Güstrow
This article in Lok-Report says that current infrastructure owner RIG (Regio Infra GmbH) wish to close
the lines between Parchim and Malchow (Mecklenbirgische Südbahn) and Plau am See to Güstrow,
which cross each other at Karow (Meckl.), owing to lack of traffic and hence revenue, in 'the next (few)
months'. It remains to be seen if the Land and/or districts step in to save either or both routes.
 Germany - Reopening of line 5952 finally completed
Line 5952 runs from Nürnberg Rbf then alongside the Treuchtlingen to Nürnberg line before diving under
the lines from Nürnberg to Fürth. It joins line 5900 at Abzw. Jansenbrücke. The line originally closed on
26 September 1999, but the southern part was retained as a siding, covered by the IBSE tour of Nürnberg
in May 2016. Through operation resumed 7 April 2019. The line is about 4km long, single track and newly
electrified with a line speed of 40km/h. It will only be used by freight trains from Nürnberg Rbf running
towards Fürth, useful operationally because it does not require other tracks to be crossed before passing
through Fürth station towards Bamberg.
 Italy – Just one ticket to get from Roma Termini to Roma Ciampino Airport now
Trenitalia have introduced a service to link Rome Ciampino Airport with Roma Termini station. There is
a frequent bus service between the airport and Ciampino station, journey time of between 10 and 15
minutes depending on traffic. The combined single bus + train fare is 2.70 Euros. The Airlink ticket can
be purchased on all Trenitalia sales channels and importantly is valid for 4 hours from the time of the
selected departure. More detailed information including the bus timetable is shown on the Trenitalia
 Italy – Bergamo rail link in Lombardy plan
A €14.6bn plan for investment in rail infrastructure in Lombardy from 2019-25 was presented on 20
February 2019. Funding will be from infrastructure manager RFI and the regional authority.
The plans for 2019-25 include the construction of a line to Bergamo’s Caravaggio International Airport,
Italy’s third biggest. ETCS is to be deployed to increase capacity in the Milano area by 2022, with ACC-M
computerised interlockings to be installed on the Bergamo – Rovato (2019, 32 km), Voghera – Piacenza
(2020, 58 km), Carnate-Usmate – Ponte San Pietro (2020, 18 km), Romano – Brescia (2020, 37 km),
Milano - Domodossola (2022, 106 km) and Milano - Tortona (2024, 70 km) routes.
The Chiasso – Monza (39 km) and Carnate-Usmate – Monza (12 km) lines would be resignalled in 2021,
along with the Gallarate, Milano Lambrate and Milan Porta Garibaldi station areas in 2022.
The Ponte San Pietro – Bergamo – Montello-Gorlago (19 km), Milano – Mortara (44 km) and Gallarate –
Rho (25 km) lines are to be modernised, the Codogno – Cremona – Mantova (90 km) route double
tracked and the Tortona – Voghera (16 km) and Milano Rogoredo – Pavia (29 km) sections of the Milano
– Genova line quadrupled. A total of 110 level crossings are to be eliminated, and a €150m programme
of station modernisation works will focus on improving accessibility for passengers with reduced
 Italy – Messina tramway saved from closure
The Messina tram system seemed likely to close when the Mayor announced in September 2018 that
services would be replaced by buses from June 2019. Tram services make a loss and a lack of spares
meant only half the trams were available for the weekday service, which was reduced accordingly.
Ridership on the tramway is currently around 10,000 passengers a day, which forms around one-third
of transport operator ATM’s total ridership. However the plans for bus replacement faltered when the
Ministry of Infrastructure & Transport refused to provide funding earlier than 2033, 30 years after the
start of tram operations in 2003. Now the Ministry has allocated €100m for a northern extension from
Annunziata to serve the university and an upgrade of the existing Messina tram line. Other planned
improvements include a realignment of the route near the Palazzo Reale stop to free up road space next
to the port and refurbishment of the trams.
 Lithuania/Latvia – rail link to be reinstated
This saga, reported several times in BLNI, seems to be coming to a conclusion. In 2008 Lithuanian
Railways (Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai, LG) illegally removed the railway line connecting Mažeikiai to Rengė in
Latvia, thereby forcing Orlen, a major freight customer, to continue using its services. Orlen had been
considering using the line to export via Latvia using another operator. In October 2017 the European
Commission fined LG €27.9m and required it to ‘bring the infringement to an end and refrain from any
measure that has the same or an equivalent object or effect’. They went on to say this could best be
accomplished by reinstating the line. Following a competitive tender, LG has awarded a contract to
rebuild or repair 19 km of track, five level crossings and six bridges. Completion is planned by the end of
2019. It remains to be seen whether it will be used.
 Serbia – Smederevo New Port branch almost completed
The present Danube port in Smederovo is near the medieval fortress, a UNESCO protected monument,
and serves only for the handling of goods, with railway sidings full of liquefied gas constituting an
explosion hazard. This means that the estimated 3,000 tourist ships passing by on the Danube each year
do not call at Smederovo, a major loss of income to the city.
A New Port, Smederevo Luka, is under construction north east of the city, and a 5.5km branch, claimed
to be the first railway in Serbia built exclusively for freight traffic, was completed in early January 2019.
The new line starts by the railway works (Fabrika železničkih vozila "Želvoz") to the south of Smederevo
station, as an extension of a track built to serve the works station. Study of OpenRailwayMap suggests
some use may have been made of a previous industrial branch. The ‘new’ branch is currently being
electrified, with completion and formal opening expected in May 2019. As well as the port, a 64.38 ha
industrial area will also be served. From mid-2021, it is expected that more than 5 million tonnes of
freight will be handled annually.
 Serbia – Lapovo to Kraljevo and Niš to Zaječar under renovation
On 8 March 2019 renovation of the section from Lapovo – Kragujevac started, and from November
Kragujevac to Kraljevo will follow with completion in September 2020. The Lapovo - Kraljevo line is
important for freight traffic as it serves important industrial enterprises in Kragujevac (FCA Srbija,
Energetika, TRZ Kragujevac, Batočina, Teko Mining kamenolom), in Kraljevo (Magnohrom, FVK,
Stilimpeks) and at Guberevac and Vitanovac installations of the Serbian army
After three freight train accidents occurred in just over a month, during which freight wagons with
ammonia and phosphoric acid derailed, the Serbian railway infrastructure company Infrastruktura
Železnice Srbije (IŽS) closed the Niš - Zaječar line on 25 February pending renovation of the route. Well
overdue as nothing has been done for six decades. The tender documentation for the renovation was
changed at short notice for complete reconstruction from Donji Matejevac to Knjaževac and not to
Svrljig as originally planned. From Knjaževac to Zaječar will be only partially renovated.
 Slovakia – Gemerský expres will do freight lines in May and June
Midway between Košice and Zvolen is Plešivec, from where two freight lines head north into the middle
Tatra. The line to Slavošovce lost its passenger service in 2003, and the line to Muráň in 2011.
This year the "Gemerský expres" will depart from Košice at 08:00 every Saturday in May and June. The
train divides at Plešivec with portions going up the two branches. So you will need to decide which one
you are doing, or try and find a bus or taxi if you want to do both.
 Spain - The end nearing for the CT Andorra branch
This 25 km branch runs south from Samper de Calanda (on the RENFE line Zaragoza to Barcelona) to the
Central térmica de Andorra coal-fired power station which is owned by the privatised energy company
ENDESA S.A. The coal trains are electrically hauled from the port of Tarragona to Samper, where they ae
taken over by class 333 diesels. In November 2018 ENDESA announced the decommissioning of coal
powered plants in Spain and the closure of the Andorra and Compostilla II plants by June 2020. Flue gas
emission standards make continued operation uneconomic.
Courtesy of europeanrailwayatlas.com
 Turkey (European) - Istanbul Sirkeci not opening yet
Invitations to tender were issued for rebuilding the line from Kazliçeşme to the former terminus station
of Sirkeci. Unfortunately this was cancelled in August as only two companies bid and the quotes were
deemed too expensive. Part of the line will be used for stabling Marmaray stock but there is no prospect
of passenger services at the moment.
 Ukraine – The narrow gauge railway at Vynohradiv
Our informant left his overnight train at Vynohradiv where a troop train hauled by ChME3-5612 was
being unloaded – tanks and soldiers everywhere – but no hassle. He had booked a B&B in the town with
the intention of covering what’s left of the narrow gauge line from Vynohradiv to Khmil’nyk which runs
MO, ThO and SuO. The narrow gauge lines are adjacent to the mainline station and these had been
transformed into a marketplace with the last train arrival from Khmil’nyk stood in the middle! As the
13:30 departure time neared the driver fired up the class Tu2 loco to run round, with stall holders rapidly
clearing their wares out of the way. The train set off a few minutes late as the locomotive had to wait
for a transit van to be moved. Track condition was pretty bad and the train barely got above 10 mph.
The 2-coach train was full and standing but slowly emptied out at each station. The single fare to
Khmil’nyk is 8 hryvnia (22p). A few photographs at Khmil’nyk then a bumpy ride back to Vynohradiv on
the near empty train.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Gulf States - GCC countries are committed to complete the railway network
“We are working on a unified law and the needed requirements for rail passenger and freight transport
in the GCC. This will develop the railway system and will allow a smoothly transformation of GCC’s
transport system. The railway transport increased, and we are committed to invest in developing GCC’s
railway network. For this plan, the technical requirements and the design are completed. We will
implement the second phase of the railway strategy and we will soon establish the timeline,” said Khalifa
Bin Saeed Al-Abri, Assistant Secretary General for Economic and Development Affairs, at the GCC
General Secretariat, at the Middle East Rail 2019, held in Dubai.
Under the GCC railway plan, a 2200-km railway network will link the six countries, from Muscat, in Oman,
to Kuwait and will develop region’s economy and transport sector.
By 2023, the GCC countries will be connected by the railway network. According to estimations, by 2021
the first phase which links Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Oman and United Arab Emirates will be completed
and in 2023 Bahrain and Kuwait will have railway connection with the other countries. Currently, the
consultancy plans with Bahrain are completed and the study on freight and passenger demand will be
soon released. In Bahrain, the 70-km rail line will connect the proposed Bahrain passenger terminal at
Salmabad and freight facilities at Khalifa bin Salman Port to the existing railway line in the region
between Dammam and Al Houfuf. The rail connection will form Bahrain’s link to the GCC railway project
and wider GCC rail network. In Bahrain, around 8 million passengers per year are estimated to use the
rail connection by 2050.
 India - A problem not faced on the European railway system
 India - Noida metro Aqua Line inaugurated
The first phase of the Noida – Greater Noida metro Aqua Line was inaugurated on 25 January 2019 by
the chief minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The 29.7km line from Sector 51 in Noida to Depot
station in Greater Noida serves 21 stations, including 15 in Noida and six in Greater Noida. All stations
are equipped with platform screen doors and offer passenger amenities including toilets and drinking
water. In December, the Uttar Pradesh government approved the second phase of the project, which
will extend the Aqua Line 15km from Noida Sector 71 to Knowledge Park 5 in Greater Noida. The
extension of the Delhi metro Blue Line to Noida Electronic City will provide an interchange between the
two systems when Phase 2 of the Aqua Line opens. There is currently no through ticketing between the
 Mauritius – First phase of Light Rail system to open this year
Construction of the 13km phase 1 between the capital Port Louis and Rose Hill is apparently 70%-
complete with a September opening scheduled. The Phase 2A section from Rose Hill to Quatre Bornes
will open next year, with phase 2A to Curepipe due for completion by September 2021. There will be 19
 Nigeria - Free rides for two months on new standard gauge line while testing
On 8 February 2019 the Nigerian Railway Corporation launched free rides on three train pairs on the
first section of the new 156km standard-gauge railway from Lagos to Ibadan between Iju, on the
northern outskirts of Lagos, and Abeokuta. The line is being constructed by the China Civil Engineering
Construction Corporation and follows the alignment of the existing 1067mm-gauge Lagos to Kano main
line. The stations are as yet incomplete, but should be ready by the end of the year. Delivery of passenger
trains, locomotives and 200 freight wagons was expected by the end of March. Lagos to Ibadan services
should have started at the end of April.
 USA – South Coast Rail Project gets go ahead
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Massachusetts Bay
Transportation Authority (MBTA) have secured funding from the state and received the necessary
permits from the federal government.
Phase 1 of the South Coast Rail Project will use the existing Middleborough/Lakeville Commuter Rail Line
to provide service from Boston’s South Station to Taunton, New Bedford and Fall River.
The route then continues south and splits into two legs at Myricks Junction: one leg bound for Fall River
following the Fall River Secondary and one leg bound for New Bedford following the New Bedford Main
Line. The Stoughton Electric (Full Build), the current preferred alternative, starts at Stoughton station
and follows the new Stoughton Line to Cotley Junction.
Construction work planned for the project includes six new stations, reconstructing 17.3 miles of the
New Bedford Main Line and 11.7 miles of the Fall River Secondary and upgrading the existing
Middleborough Secondary track from Pilgrim Junction to Cotley Junction, (a distance of 7.1 miles).
The State Governor has already said that full service over the lines will be delayed a year to 2023.
 USA – Light rail line in Silicon Valley to close and more under threat
Faced with a declining ridership and a large operating deficit the Santa Clara Valley Transportation
Authority (VTA) is rationalising its light rail system in Silicon Valley. First in line is the Almaden Shuttle
which runs along the 3.5km Ohlone/Chynoweth – Almaden branch in south San Jose. It opened in 1991
but has not been a success. The branch survived closure threats 2003 and again in 2009. Bus
replacement is likely, subject to approval at a Board Meeting in the near future.
As part of the New Transit Service Plan, Blue Line services from Santa Teresa to Alum Rock via San Jose
city centre will be cut back to Baypointe and a new Orange Line will be created linking Alum Rock with
the Caltrain commuter rail interchange at Downtown Mountain View.