Metro extension company says April start date possible

Länsimetro, the private company in charge of the problem-plagued westward expansion of the capital city region’s metro line, announced on Friday that service to the first five stations up to Espoo’s Tapiola station could begin in April, while service to the final Matinkylä destination of the expansion’s first phase might be ready for a June launch. Helsinki Region Transport still has to confirm the start date, however.

Keilaniemen metroaseman uloskäynti.
The new metro station entrance in Espoo’s Keilaniemi. Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

After extended delays and massive increments to the project budget, the metro extension supplier Länsimetro announced on Friday that all of the prerequisites have been satisfied for an April launch of the first five stations of its 13-station extension to the west of Helsinki.

The company says all of the prerequisites have been met for operations to begin in April at the first five stations in its first-phase western expansion: the Lauttasaari and Koivusaari stations in Helsinki, and the Espoo-based stations of Keilaniemi, Otaniemi (Aalto University) and Tapiola.

It also estimates that metro traffic to the first phase’s final destination of Matinkylä, including the next five stations of Finnoo, Kaitaa, Soukka, Espoonlahti and Kivenlahti, will be ready for operation in June.

Länsimetro announced the status update to the media Friday morning.

Tests almost completed

The new CEO of Länsimetro, Ville Saksi, says it now looks as if testing on the entire track should be finished by the end of March.

The official start date, however, must first be confirmed by the Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) organization that administers the operation of the capital city region’s public transport network. HSL director Suvi Rihtiniemi comments yet on Friday that a decision on a possible starting date would only be made after the details of the metro project's implementation become clear.

Länsimetro says the final joint test runs at the Aalto University station in Otaniemi and the Espoo stations of Keilaniemi and Tapiola were acceptably completed earlier this month.

Testing of the different systems, such as building technology, safety automation, power supply monitoring, physical access control, fire-extinguishing systems, reserve power and smoke ventilation, will continue at the Helsinki stations of Koivusaari and Lauttasaari, and from there it will move to the later stops in Urheilupuisto, Niittykumpu and Matinkylä.

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