22.–23.05.2024 #polismobility

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Kiel decides in favor of a new tramway

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Plans for a new tram network are taking shape in Kiel. After the previous tram-train plan was terminated in 2015 and the Ramboll office drew up a rough operating concept, a large majority in the council voted in favor of implementation.

One of the planned terminal stops at Rungholtplatz in Kiel-Suchsdorf. The grass tracks were one of the decisive plus points for the tram. © Landeshauptstadt Kiel

Since November 17, 2022, the course has been set in the direction of the tram in Schleswig-Holstein's state capital. The council there decided almost unanimously to build a completely new citywide tram network. The Ramboll office had been working on the route concept with a total length of 35.8 km, three lines and a repeater since October 2020. The decision was whether to build a tram or a bus rapid transit system (BRT) with trolleybuses. In the end, the expert opinion was followed, which assessed the tram as more economical and emphasized the subsidies from the federal government. Another argument against the BRT system, which would have enabled a denser frequency with more and smaller vehicles, was the greater need for sealed surfaces in the street space. The impetus for the plans came from the mobility and climate protection master plans, according to which the share of public transport in the modal split is to be significantly increased from the current 10% of trips. Completion of the first section is not expected until 2033 at the earliest.

Overall, this makes Kiel the first city in Germany for a long time to opt for a new tram system: The Regiotram in Saarland, which opened in 1997, is currently the youngest network in Germany; most recently, plans in Aachen in 2013 and Wiesbaden in 2020 were prevented by referendums. In Kiel, however, there is broad support in the city's society: virtually since the old tram network was discontinued in 1985, there have been plans to reintroduce electric local transport in Kiel. A tram-train project called "Stadtregionalbahn" failed in 2015 because the neighboring district of Rendsburg-Eckernförde did not want to participate. Now, for the time being, it is to be a classic citywide tram network that can be extended into the surrounding countryside if necessary.


Jan Klein