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Helsinki's long-delayed Metro extension to open 18 November

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority HSL has announced that its western Metro extension into neighbouring city Espoo will finally open to the public on Saturday 18 November. The project was originally to have been ready by 2013.

Matinkylän metroasema.
The Metro's Matinkylä station. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority HSL announced on Friday that the Metro extension into the western suburb of Espoo will open to the public on Saturday 18 November. The costly project was plagued with delays and false starts for years and was originally supposed to be ready four years ago.

Metro workers were still testing the new stretch of tracks at eight new stations, from Helsinki's current end station of Ruoholahti to the new Matinkylä station in Espoo.

The project was due to open in 2016, but the opening was cancelled at the last minute.

Tests are considered successful once 90 percent of the tested departures arrive on time or at the most one minute late, and if no trains are more than two minutes late, HSL said.

Even though the Metro will be up and running on 18 November, the replacement buses which have been shuttling commuters in place of the underground train will continue to run until the end of the year.

From Ruoholahti, the Metro's western extension will continue on to:  Lauttasaari and Koivusaari in Helsinki, to Keilaniemi, Aalto University, Tapiola, Urheilupuisto, Niittykumpu and Matinkylä in Espoo.

Story continues after photo

Uusi metrokartta.
Helsinki Metro's updated station map. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Acknowledging that passengers have heard similar opening announcements before, CEO of Helsinki City Transport Ville Lehmuskoski said he promised that the Metro would open on 18 November.

"There are some minor system maintenance and installation jobs to be done until Saturday, but they are entirely planned so that we will meet that deadline," he said.

"The new western Metro line is based on entirely new technology than the old one and of course that poses maintenance challenges," Lehmuskoski said.

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