Crazy tram junctions of Innsbruck

Innsbruck is one of many Austrian cities with tramways, but the network has one interesting feature – exceedingly complicated junctions.

Peerhofsiedlung terminus has a interleaved scissors crossover on a curve.


Google Street View

As does the terminus at Technik West, which combines a double track dead end with a single track stub.


Google Street View

The track lead to the depot at Duilestraße is another example of an asymmetrical interleaved curved scissors crossover.


Google Street View

While the track that forms the mainline connection swings from right to left using a curved crossover.


Google Street View

That makes the web of tracks leading to the older depot at Pastorstraße look relatively sensible.


Google Street View

But then there is the junction of Museumstrasse and Brunecker Strasse – a pair of doppelkreuzungsweiche (double crossovers) located in the middle of the street.


Google Street View

And this tangle of tram tracks outside Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof that don’t lead anywhere – the third leg is there for future network expansion.

So why are the tram tracks co complicated? My assumption is that 2000s upgrade of the legacy tram network into a modern light rail system were the driver.

The decision of the city authorities in 1999 to retain and expand the tram network triggered an ongoing programme of construction and renovation. This involved a certain amount of disruption during summer months because of extensive upgrade of track beds and tracks, involving much pouring of concrete.

Part of the strategy called for wider tramcars: new trams would be 2.4 m (94 in) wide. Hitherto, tram widths in Innsbruck had been restricted to 2.2 m (87 in). While the track gauge was unaffected, the loading gauge was not, so that twin tracks had to be farther apart and greater clearance was needed for buildings and street furniture. This necessitated the largest re-laying of track since 1911. Some of the depots were also to be renewed, rescaled, and brought up to date.

The new trams strategy was formally adopted by the Innsbruck City Council in September 2001. By 2004, the tram terminus in front of the main station had been reconstructed, with the terminus for the Stubai Valley Railway and other regional meter-gauge mountain railways. In 2005, work was completed on preparing the tracks in Andreas Hofer Street and Anich Street for the wider trams, and the first tram halts were adapted for use with low-floor trams so that, for the first time, passengers would be able to access new trams without having to negotiate one or more steps. The first low-floor tram was delivered on 17 October 2007.

At the end of 2007 the authorities issued the final version of their plan for the reconstruction of the city and regional tram and rail networks, and this was agreed by the city council at the start of 2008. In 2010, work began on tackling further upgrades on the lines at the heart of the old network, with new tracks at the interchange area around Brunecker Street and Museum Street. Brunecker Street again received a second usable track.

Further reading

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