GCF - Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus Light Rail Project: investing in the future

This is the first light rail project in Denmark. The Aarhus Light Rail Transit (LRT) or Aarhus Letbane will give the transport system in Eastern Jutland a cutting edge rail backbone. This will benefit Aarhus, the European Capital of Culture 2017 and the city with the second largest population in Denmark, as well as mobility in the entire region.

The project is financed by a public company consisting of the Danish Government, the City of Aarhus and the Region with 3.5 billion Danish kroner (485 million US dollars) and funding from the EIB (European Investment Bank) as part of the European Energy Saving Programme, ELENA.

The international consortium ASAL, set up in 2014 by Ansaldo STS, Stadler and GCF - Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie, will implement the project with a contract worth approximately 320 million euros.

GCF, the Aarhus Light Rail System

Aarhus and the tram-train strategy

The light rail transit combined with the railway system is the cornerstone of Aarhus's future. It will relieve traffic congestion from cars and buses in one of Denmark's most rapidly growing cities in recent years and will be able to sustain future growth without having a negative impact on the environment and increase the quality of life of its inhabitants.

Situated in the heart of an agricultural area, Aarhus, with the largest hospital in Europe, its university and its modern port, is likely to expand and develop even further over the next ten years as a centre for production, services, culture and technological innovation.
European funding from the EIB of almost €2 million within the framework of the ELENA programme supported the preliminary technical studies needed to assess how to combine greater, more efficient mobility with lower emissions: this led to the Aarhus Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project, based on the tram-train strategy, one of Denmark's most important investments in its future.

Below: 4 February 2016. Aarhus Norrebrogade: the first track in the city

GCF Metro Aarhus Primo binario 1
GCF Metro Aarhus Primo binario 2
GCF Metro Aarhus Primo binario 3
GCF Metro Aarhus Primo binario 4

The urban light rail section

The new urban light rail double track line crosses the entire city from Nørreport, north of Aarhus H Central Station, and connects the city's busiest areas: the Dokk1 library, Aarhus University, the massive hospital complex and the rapidly expanding areas of Skejby and Lisbjerg.

Completed in just 27 months, the track work has been carried out by GCF, partly on concrete and partly on ballast, using logistic strategies, engineering solutions and technical workarounds that were tested and implemented to tackle the problems that the often extremely cold climate, the constant flow of cars and bicycles, the architectural context and the very tight deadlines posed.

To construct a total of 15 kilometres of urban rail line, about 13,000 m3 of concrete and over 300 tons of rails had to be moved, 46 points constructed, 14 large junctions crossed, platforms for 19 new stations built, innovative solutions devised and different floor finishes (asphalt, paving, grass) designed so that the rails blended into the city's various architectural contexts.
"Logistics," the Site Director, Roberto Rocca, said, "was a very important on the site due to the need to adequately organize and manage heavy goods vehicles and supplies of materials and concrete and minimize the impact on traffic in the centre."
Another important aspect of the track work in the city was the need to design anti-vibration and sound-absorbing solutions to reduce noise as much as possible by using floating slab track with anti-vibration mats.

Below: some highpoints of the GCF worksite in Aarhus, the city with the second largest population in Denmark

GCF Metro Aarhus, Tratta Urbana 1
GCF Metro Aarhus, Tratta Urbana 2
GCF Metro Aarhus, Tratta Urbana 3
GCF Metro Aarhus, Tratta Urbana 4
GCF Metro Aarhus, Tratta Urbana  5
GCF Metro Aarhus, Tratta Urbana 6
GCF Metro Aarhus, Tratta Urbana  7
GCF Metro Aarhus, Tratta Urbana 8

The innovative Control Maintenance Centre

In the south-west, extending over an area of approximately 5,200 m2 connected with a dedicated track to Aarhus Central Station, the Letbane project has involved GCF in the design and construction of the CMC (Control Maintenance Centre) on a turnkey basis. Work began in April 2015 and was completed in July 2016.

Qui trovano sede gli uffici direzionali e di gestione del traffico metropolitano del Network Control Centre, oltre che le officine di manutenzione, lavaggio e controllo dei veicoli. Inoltre, irradiate da circa 2.000 metri di binario su ballast, le aree di manovra e di stazionamento dei veicoli e il deposito in grado di ospitare al coperto ben 16 dei 26 tram e tram-treni forniti da Stadler.

This is where the Network Control Centre head and traffic control offices are located along with the vehicle maintenance, washing and inspection workshops. Surrounded by over 2,000 metres of track on ballast, it also includes vehicle manoeuvring and standing areas and a covered depot which can accommodate 16 of the 26 trams and tram trains supplied by Stadler.

The entire fleet of 14 VarioBahn trams and 12 Tango tram trains will be powered by the Danish power grid which generates 39% of its power from wind turbines. For this reason, the light rail system will make a significant contribution to Aarhus's goal of going CO2 neutral by 2030.

Below: the innovative Control Maintenance Centre serving the light rail system.

Control Maintenance Centre - Aarhus LRT

GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 1
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 2
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 3
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 4
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 5
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 6
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 7
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 8
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 9
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 10
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 11
GCF Metro Aarhus, il CMC 12

The extra-urban section

One of the LRT project's strengths is the fact that it connects the urban rail section with two existing rail lines, both of which have been completely upgraded and converted to a “light railway” that can be used by trams and tram trains as well as goods trains when necessary.

The resulting backbone extends the urban transport system another 69 kilometres north of Aarhus to the port city of Grenaa and 26.5 kilometres south to Odder, rebuilding the existing heavy rail lines and equipping them with modern electrification and signalling equipment, with 28 substations and underground cableways passing through over 200 junctions.

This work which is currently under way is scheduled for completion by 2018.

When completed, Aarhus will have a unique, highly efficient transport system that extends for over 110 kilometres with 51 stops and one that can transport 39,000 passengers a day at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour.

Below: work north of Aarhus on the extra-urban section to Grenaa

Aarhus LRT, The extra-urban section

GCF Metro Aarhus, la linea Extraurbana 1
GCF Metro Aarhus, la linea Extraurbana 2
GCF Metro Aarhus, la linea Extraurbana 3
GCF Metro Aarhus, la linea Extraurbana 4
GCF Metro Aarhus, la linea Extraurbana 5
GCF Metro Aarhus, la linea Extraurbana 6
GCF Metro Aarhus, la linea Extraurbana 7
GCF Metro Aarhus, la linea Extraurbana 8


Aarhus Light Rail System: More information

  • Expected advantages

    Expected advantages

    Without a doubt, Aarhus needed to get to grips with the effects of its growth. Since it is a very lively city, its population continues to grow and attracts large numbers of commuters who move into and out of the city from the surrounding areas every day for work.

    Improving mobility is the first step in the fight against congestion and pollution. The Aarhus LRT system's main task is therefore to decongest the city traffic by improving the transport network in the city and the whole region.
    In addition, the tram-train system will support the scheduled further development of Aarhus with full respect for the environment and guarantee the quality of life of its inhabitants.

    The project will save 47 gigawatts of energy per year and reduce CO² emissions by 7,300 tons per year.

    Thanks to the improvement in transport in Aarhus, the population is expected to rise by 45,000 and housing from 50,000 to 200,000 units, there will be a 50% increase in the student population (from 40,000 to 60,000) and 50,000 new jobs will be created by 2030.

  • Customer


    The Aarhus Letbane Project was approved by the Danish Parliament in May 2012 as part of the Green Transport package.

    It is managed by a public company created in August 2012 by the Danish Government (47%), the City of Aarhus (47.8%) and regional government (5.2%).
    It is financed with 3.5 billion kroner (485.3 million US dollars), as well as funding worth 2 million euros from the European Investment Bank which, as part of the European programme, ELENA, has supported the preliminary technical studies which guarantee that a construction and transport project that will make a real contribution to saving energy will be implemented.

    In addition to a set of 19 contracts for civil works awarded to local companies, each worth on average 5-20 million Danish kroner, in 2014, the project awarded a contract of approximately 320 million euros for railway works (construction, electrification and signalling) to the international consortium ASAL consisting of Ansaldo STS, Stadler and GCF - Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie.

    A total of 80 million euros was allocated to financing the trams.

  • Aarhus LTR: trams and tram trains

    Aarhus LTR: trams and tram trains

    A total of 26 trams and tram trains supplied by Stadler will run on the light rail transit.

    The 39.2 metre long Tango trams have a 266 passenger capacity. They can reach a speed of 100 km /h and will run on the northern section of the LRT line from Grenaa to the central station of Aarhus H.

    The 32.4 metre long, 224 passenger capacity VarioBahn tram trains have a maximum speed of 80km/h and will run on the southern line from Odder to the central station of Aarhus H and from Aarhus H to Lystrup via Lisbjerg.

    Up to six Tango and 2 VarioBahn tram trains are scheduled to run every hour along the central section of the new light rail transit between the Central Station and the University Hospital and will take 17 minutes.

    When fully operational, the Aarhus LRT project is scheduled to transport 39,000 passengers a day.

  • Stage 2 of project

    Stage 2 of project

    That's not all. For some time, the light rail transit has been the focus point of the new Transport Plans and aims to revitalize new as well as neglected areas of Aarhus.

    A second stage of the project which is currently being defined will expand the light rail network another 27 kilometres as part of plans to relieve congestion in new areas of the city and, at the same time, increase mobility between Aarhus and the surrounding areas.

    There are three supplementary projects.

    The first covers a 8.2 kilometre stretch which, with 7 stations, will extend the line from Lisberg running north west to Hinnerup, with an estimated cost of 596 million Danish kroner.

    The second, entirely within the city, will consist of a completely new 7.7 kilometre-long line with fifteen stations and will connect the port with Brabrand. The project, with an estimated cost of 718m Danish kronen, is considered of strategic importance for the western part of the city because it will support public housing development projects in that area and projects for commercial development and revitalization of the old town.

    The third, in the south-west, covers 11.6 kilometres, with 16 stations, and will connect Aarhus with Hasselager with an estimated cost of 906 million Danish kroner.

Aarhus LRT, opening of the urban line


Aarhus, the Light Rail System

Aarhus, la Metropolitana leggera

Aarhus, places along the Light Rail Transit

Aarhus, nei luoghi della metropolitana