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A top team is planning the City Rail Loop

The next top project in Helsinki public transport is being designed by top experts in railway design. Sito is in charge of compiling the railway plan.

The planning of the City Rail Loop has now reached the phase where a detailed cost estimate can be submitted to Parliament for decision-making. The draft town plans will be submitted to the City of Helsinki City Planning Department for review in November 2014. If a building decision is made, excavation on the service tunnels could already begin in 2016. Traffic on the new railway line would begin in 2023.

The City Rail Loop is a planned urban railway line for commuter trains under the Helsinki city center. The 8 kilometer long loop-shaped railway runs in a tunnel from Pasila via Töölö, Helsinki city center, and Hakaniemi back to Pasila

The two main commuter lines will run on the City Rail Loop, and trains will depart from the stations in each direction at five-minute intervals. Up to 80,000 passengers will use the Hakaniemi station daily. The platforms of the city center station will be located 50 meters underground, at a depth of about 17 floors.

Everything affects everything else

Jussi Lindberg, Project Manager of the City Rail Loop, is clearly excited about his job. Lindberg has been involved in the commissioning of several railway projects at the Finnish Rail Administration, but City Rail Loop is in a league of its own. “Its planning is a large entity in which everything affects everything else. It has been particularly rewarding to cooperate with the top designers in their respective fields,” he says. “We have the top team in the country at work!”

SITO acted as the principal consultant in charge of the City Rail Loop general plan and environmental impact assessment, completed in 2011, with responsibility for railway, geotechnical, and structural design, as well as the EIA. Sito was also responsible for project management and stakeholder relations. Seppo Veijovuori, M.Sc. (Tech) acted as project manager.

In the railway engineering design phase, Sito is responsible for railway engineering design and foundation engineering design for the open track section of the line. In addition, Sito is responsible for compiling the overall railway engineering plan. Around six Sito employees have been involved in the project from the rail department, five from the geotechnical department, and two from the structures department.

Even Lindberg himself has worked for Sito; he completed his master’s thesis at the company in 2000.

The tunnel solution for the City Rail Loop is the first of its kind in Finland. Three adjacent tunnels will be excavated for the line, two of which are used for train traffic. A third tunnel for maintenance and emergency services will run the full length of the line.

The City Rail Loop is an 8 kilometer long loop-shaped railway running in tunnels for six kilometers. It has a total of three stations.

Text: Dakota Lavento