Light Rail Day, 14.-15.11.2016 in Bergen/Norway
Light Rail Day, Bergen/Norway, 14th-15th November 2016
This year saw the eighth Light Rail Day and with more than 150 participants from 14 countries, it was already sold out days before the event. It proved to be the most successful conference to date. On Sunday, the day before the event, some participants keenly used the chance to participate in the walking tour of the Museum Tram line (line 3 - closed in 1950) and to visit the old tram hall, including a ride on a short section of the line with one of the original trams from Bergen (Tram 10 from 1897).
Monday morning proved to be rainy in Bergen - as usual! Nevertheless around 60 participants showed up for the morning tour of the Bergen Bybane system, organised by the municipality and the department "utbygning". This gave everyone a very good impression of the Bergen Bybane system. The operator Keolis provided a special tram for the transport of the participants. The visit to the brand new depot was for many of special interest. More than 20 participants came from Finland to take a look at this, because new city tram systems are soon going to be built in Tampere and Espoo. The vehicle producer Stadler presented the depot and the collaboration between the local parties in Bergen.
Nordic Light Rail Prize
After the presentations by Bergen Bybane AS, the City of Bergen and Keolis, the Nordic Light Rail Prize (NLRP) was awarded for the very first time and that was truly an impressive highlight. The award has been launched to recognise the founding mothers and fathers of new Light Rail Systems in the Nordic countries. Furthermore it recognises those people who have distinguished themselves by dedicating their lifework to city tram. A maximum of 12 living people up to the age of 80 years can be NLRP first-degree prizewinners. The master goldsmith Gisbert Saal (Aurich/Germany) has designed and created the medal and pin for the Nordic Light Rail Prize. The medal was crafted from 585 solid gold and adorns a silver chain. The matching pin is also crafted in gold and includes a jewel. The 5.000 € prize money for the Nordic Light Rail Prize 2016 was a donation by various companies. This amount does not go to the prizewinner, but rather becomes a kind of scholarship for a selected student. The prizewinner does however have significant influence in this choice of student. Sponsored projects must involve city trams systems (driving on sight), involving at least one Northern European country.
Tom Potter - The Prizewinner
On Monday, 14th November 2016 Mr Thomas Potter from Bergen was awarded the first degree Nordic Light Rail Prize. The Vice-Mayor of the County of Hordaland, Mr. Pål Kårbø, awarded it to him. Mr Håkon Rasmussen held the laudation. In Tom's own words, "I am very proud to be the first recipient of this newly-established award. The prize money of 5.000 Euros will be given to a student involved in research activities concerning light rail transit. The prize was given based on my long-term involvement in many of the light rail systems which have been built or being planned in the Nordic countries, such as Bybanen Bergen Light Rail, Oslo, Stockholm, Lund, Odense, Aarhus, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Tampere."
Tuesday - The Conference Day
Tuesday was the conference day with lectures by Claus Rehfeld Moshøj, Director Aarhus Letbane, Denmark, who gave an interesting talk on the status of the Aarhus Letbane Project 6 Months prior to its opening. Claus also invited Light Rail Day to Aarhus next year.
Mr Patrick Sefzik from Stadler Pankow GmbH reported on "Tram Concepts for the Scandinavian Market" and Mr Ove Skovdahl from Rejlers Norge gave a very interesting overview: "Light Rail in Norway - Status and Challenges"
Unfortunately Mr Hans Petter Duun, the Project Director from Norconsult was ill. But his lecture: "How Bybanen has affected travel patterns in Bergen" was still given by Tom Potter, who was luckily able to stand in as a replacement.
Mr Ville-Mikael Tuominen, the Project Manager Tramway from the City of Tampere, Finland was awaited with much excitement. He updated us on the status of the new Tampere Tramway Project.
Benthe Vestergård, the Communication Director of Odense Tramway in Denmark touched on a very interesting theme with his lecture: "The importance to communicate between the project and the citizens and business community of Odense". She made clear, that the competence to communicate with the citizens of a city tram town would become more important in the future.
Technical themes were presented by Dr.-Engineer Jan Hütker, Technical CEO moklansa GmbH, Germany + CEO Christof Neumann, BODAN, Austria - both of them suppliers for Bergen Bybane.
"Noise and Wear Reduction - Stationary Rail Lubrication in Bergen"
+ "Colours Used in Level Crossings"
Martin Luis Madsen from ViaTrafik in Copenhagen, Denmark presented his research on Oslo: "Case Story from Oslo - Consequences and Opportunities for Tram Stops with New and Longer Trams?"
Pictures by: Helge Bay, Christine Hvidsten, Ivar Gubberod, Bernd Reuß, Carl-Frederic Salicath