Tram Life: Ysi

November 30, 2014

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My version of Helsinki’s tram schematic.

For the penultimate segment of Tram Life we’ll be covering the 9. The 9 runs through some of Helsinki’s most iconic areas, including my personal favorite alignment along Porthaninkatu in the heart of Kallio. There’s something about a tram running up a hill that really does it for me. The grade of Porthaninkatu isn’t steep enough to require any sort of fancy traction techniques, but it’s steep enough to call a hill. The road’s surface is still the original cobblestone variety which makes for a very charming little segment, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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The 9 starting to head down Porthaninkatu.

The 9 is really a lovely line. It’s not my favorite line overall (the 8 takes the cake in that regard), but it provides a lot of good connectivity and part of it runs on my favorite (very short) alignment in the system. The 9 starts at Pasila station and can be thought of as providing infill service in a north-south manner from Pasila. It runs through the densely-populated neighborhoods to the east of the heavy rail mainline a bit south of Pasila until it hits Kallio. It turns briefly onto Helsinginkatu and again onto Kaarlenkatu where it joins the 1 and the 3 before heading down the south slope of Kallio via Porthaninkatu where it joins the 6 and the 7 at Hakaniemi Metro station. It continues through the center of town passing Rautatieasema and continuing along with the 2 just south of the Kamppi shopping center. Beyond Kamppi it splits away from the 2 and services the weird no-man’s-land south of Kamppi but north of Bulevardi before joining up with the 6T at Hietalahti and providing all-day service to the ferry terminal at Länsiterminaali.

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The 9 blurring out of view away from Karhupuisto.

The 9 is a bit of a hybrid. Its identity is split between the major population centers it serves. From Länsiterminaali to the city center it’s packed with Finns coming back from Estonia lugging crates of beer (the alcohol is much cheaper in Estonia, so most Finns take weekend trips and stock up). On the other side of the center it’s a serious contender for Kallio’s tram (if that title wasn’t already taken by the 8). With its late runs and central alignment it shuttles partygoers and day drinkers alike through central Kallio. Finally, its northern segment is a no-frills connection that carries travelers getting off long-distance trains at Pasila to their flats in Alppila and northern Kallio. The 9 is probably the best-anchored line in the system, but some points are taken off by the irregular nature of the ferry schedules. With a whole host of other high-traffic destinations along the alignment, when a ferry is docked the 9 is packed from start to finish and is relied on by a huge number of riders.

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The 9 sitting in from of Länsiterminaali on layover.

The 9 is the only route in the system that I wouldn’t change at all. Much like the 6 it runs along with duplicative service for a fair amount of its route, but also like the 6 it’s the best-suited to service those areas, so instead of changing it, my proposal changes the duplicative service leaving the 9 as it is. With a huge amount of money it would be wise to extend the 9 north from Pasila to the Ilmala train station on the west side of the main line, but that’s certainly not a pressing issue and not likely to happen any time soon.


Tram Life 1
Tram Life 2/3
Tram Life 4
Tram Life 6
Tram Life 7
Tram Life 8
Tram Life 9
Tram Life 10
Tram Life

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