Aarhus rail carries first passengers

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photo by Villy Fink Isaksen, own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Long-awaited light rail opens for normal service today

The new long-awaited light rail system in and around Aarhus will open for normal service today, writes the Danish news agency Ritzau, just in time for Christmas.

The new Letbane transport system will initially connect 12 stops between Aarhus Rail Station and the city’s Skejby University Hospital, with passengers travelling for free on the first day.

The Danish Transport Authority together with Aarhus Letbane and Aarhus Municipality only announced the opening late on Wednesday, when it gave the green light to operating with passengers, as long as certain safety requirements were met.

Eventually, the first phase of the track will be 110 kilometres long when completed, and expansion plans then include a branch to Lisbjerg West.

Long delays
With construction starting in September 2013, the railway had been scheduled to start operating in May 2017 with the rest opening in September. But that was cancelled when the Danish Transport Authority said safety procedures were insufficient.

After that, Aarhus Letbane worked to secure the needed safety approvals and achieve requirements for rules for technical maintenance.

Aarhus Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard had previously criticised the authority for the delays, calling it “arrogant on power”.

But on Wednesday the mayor was in a more positive mood, saying: “A lot has been said and written about the light rail, but today I’m just happy.”

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