Munich: SWM Submits Tram Line Planning Application

Stadtwerke München (SWM) submitted the planning application for the ‘Westtangente’ tram line to the government of Bavaria.

The start of the approval process marks the next important milestone towards achieving the 8.3km tram line that will connect the five districts of Neuhausen-Nymphenburg, Laim, Hadern, Sendling-Westpark and Thalkirchen-Obersendling-Forstenried-Fürstenried-Solln. According to the current plans, the construction period should run from 2023 to 2026 and hopefully become operational in time for the new timetable in December 2026. This infrastructure project is a central building block of the urban public transport offensive, SWM said.

SWM has made an additional request to be able to use the tram tracks in Parzivalstrasse for regular tram operations in the future. This requires some changes to the current land use plan. At the moment the tracks in Parzivalstrasse can only be used for trams operating on Line 23. An approval here would make a new direct connection between Parkstadt Schwabing, Scheideplatz and the city centre.

Siemens Avenio tram in Munich (cropped)
A Siemens Avenio tram in Munich: the city was the first where the new generation of Siemens trams was deployed

Tram Westtangente Overview

The Westtangente project will provide relief for the transport situation in Munich’s north. In 2018 122 million passengers bought tram tickets, a rise of one million compared to the previous year. Population growth will further drive up demand for public transport in Bavaria’s capital. It is Munich’s goal to get more people to forego car journeys and use the more environmentally friendly public transport instead. This will reduce congestion while also improve air quality.

Overall, the city opted for a tram solution because trams have their dedicated tracks. Unlike buses they are therefore more punctual. At the same time they can carry more people that cars or buses while requiring less space.

The current cost estimates for the project are in the region of 168 million euros.

In total the line will measure 8.25km and will likely have 17 stops, connecting the underground lines U3, U5, and U6, the tram lines 12, 16/17, 18, and 19, and the S-Bahn stop Laim. The entire tram route will run centrally down the middle of existing roads. In some instances the tram will run on the roadway in order to make more space for walkways, cycle paths and new trees.

At the Laim S-Bahn station the Westtangente tram line will run below the railway tracks through a tunnel that will only be accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, buses and trams. Deutsche Bahn will build this tunnel as part of the second S-Bahn trunk route.

Urban public transport routes can often suffer from the problem that passengers always have to go through the city centre to get from one suburb to another. Fortunately, this project will allow people to travel between Munich’s suburbs without detouring to the centre.

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