Tram lines number 1 and number 3 are operational again in Tallinn, meaning practically a full restoration of tram service in the capital.
The lines came back into operation on Sunday, and join routes 2 and 4, which restarted a few weeks ago.
At the same time, the extensive roadworks which have been ongoing in central Tallinn over the past year, reaching a peak in spring and summer, are not yet complete; many other public transport routes will continue to be subject to detours for at least a month-and-a-half, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet (Center) says.
Svet told ERR that: "There are really quite a lot of changes going on, mostly related to the Old City Harbor tram-line construction."
The extension will link Tallinn's passenger ferry harbor to the tram system, though a preexisting extension in the opposite direction, to Tallinn Airport, will be out of commission for the next couple of years, in this case due to work relating to the Rail Baltica terminal, under construction in Ülemiste.
Route 4 (see maps below), which formerly linked to the airport, now terminates at Suur-Paala; bus number two makes an additional stop at the airport to compensate for this, though traffic disruption remains in central Tallinn.
"We know that the two most important intersections, at Hobujaama [and Narva mnt] and Kaubamaja (meaning the Laikmaa-Estonia pst-Gonsiori intersection – ed.) will remain closed to traffic until about mid-November. This means that quite a few [bus] lines have also been rerouted. But in fact, around every couple of weeks we are getting a section of road or an intersection reopening to city traffic, which means, that gradually, all the lines will be in place where they need to be."
A temporary tram route, line no. 6 (Tondi-Kopli), is to remain in service at least to the end of this month. The route was installed as a result of disruption arising from the Old City Harbor tram-line work; now, the city government in mulling making the new route permanent.
Svet noted that at present, there are five tram routes operating concurrently in Tallinn, the first time this has happened since the early 2000s.
A route operating then, line No. 5, was closed in 2004 due to a lack of passenger uptake, Svet said – but the same cannot be said of the current No. 6 line.
Its popularity, Svet added "can probably be explained by the presence of the Uus Maailm residential neighborhood and the Lutheri Kvartal on one side, and the Balti Jaam station and the whole of Põhja Tallinn on the other," noting that all these areas have seen extensive redevelopment in the past two decades.
This may also spell a return of route 5, due to congestion at the Tondi terminal, South of the City Center, at rush hour – a rather complex interfacing of road, rail, tramway and public transport itself is also being developed – but the deputy mayor said that a wait-and-see approach has been adopted so far.
"Based on what happens this month, we will begin to draw longer-range conclusions about whether and which tram line could remain in operation on Pärnu mnt and in the direction of Kopli," he added.
The newly reopened routes 1 and 3 join the routes 2 and 4 which have been in operation since the start of last month.
Svet said that work on Jõe and Pronksi streets, which started around a year ago, have been on schedule, held up by only a week with the discovery of an 18th Century stone bridge which had been covered over along with the river which gives Jõe street its name (Jõgi being the Estonian word for a river; street names are generally in the genitive case).
"We hope that the following dates will also be met, and by the end of October [road] traffic will finally open on Jõe and Pronksi street," the deputy mayor added, thanking the construction and other firms tasked with the job for their hard work.
Editor: Andrew Whyte