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Copenhagen Metro ( ) is a rapid transit serving Copenhagenmarker, Frederiksbergmarker and Tårnbymarker in Denmark. The system opened between 2002 and 2007, and has two lines, M1 and M2. The driverless light metro supplements the larger S-train rapid transit system, and is integrated with DSBmarker local trains and Movia buses. Through the city center and west to Frederiksberg, both lines share a common line. To the south-east the system serves Amagermarker, with the M1 running the new neighborhood of Ørestadmarker, and the M2 serves the eastern neighborhoods and Copenhagen Airportmarker. The metro has 22 stations, of which 9 are underground. In 2008, the metro carried 47 million passengers.

The system is owned by Metroselskabet, that is again owned by the municipalities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg, and the Ministry of Transport. The 34 trains are of the class AnsaldoBreda Driverless Metro, and stationed at the Control and Maintenance Center in Vanløse. They are wide and three cars long; their power output is supplied by a 750-volt carrying third rail. Operation of the system is subcontracted to Metro Service. Trains run continually, including all night, with headway varying from two to twenty minutes.

Planning of the metro started in 1992 with the development plans for Ørestad. A tramway and light rail were considered, but discarded in the process. Construction started in 1996, and stage 1, from Nørreportmarker to Vestamagermarker and Lergravsparkenmarker, opened in 2002. Stage 2, from Nørreport to Vanløsemarker, opened in 2003, followed by stage 3, from Lergravsparken to Lufthavnenmarker, in 2007. Construction of the City Circle Line is underway, and is planned to open in 2018. It will form a circle around the city center, be entirely underground and not share any track with M1 and M2. A further expansion towards Brønshøjmarker is being considered.



The background for the metro was the urban development of the Ørestadmarker area of Copenhagen. The principal of building a rail transit was passed by the Parliament of Denmarkmarker on 24 June 1992, with the Ørestad Act. The responsibility for developing the area, as well as building and operating the metro, was given to the Ørestad Development Corporation, a joint venture between Copenhagen Municipality (45%) and the Ministry of Finance (55%). Initially, three modes of transport were considered: a tramway, a light rail and a rapid transit. In October 1994, the Development Corporation chose a light rapid transit system.

The tram solution would have been a street tram system that operated on the regular streets, without any major infrastructure investments in the city center, such as right-of-way. Through Ørestad it would have level crossing, and only with the European Route E20 and the Øresund Line would there be a grade-separated crossing. It would have a driver and operate at about a 150-second interval, about twice the cycle time of the city's traffic lights. Power would have been provided with overhead wire. Stops would be located about ever and be at street level. The articulated trams would have been about long and have a capacity of 230 passengers.

The light rail model would have used the same approach as the tram in Ørestad, but would instead have run through a tunnel in the city center. The tunnel sections would be shorter, but the diameter larger because it would have to accommodate overhead wires. The system would have the same frequency as the tram, but use double trams and would therefore require larger stations. The metro solution was chosen because it combined the highest average speeds, the highest ridership, the lowest visual and audio impact, and the lowest number of accidents. Despite it also bearing the highest investments, it had the highest net present value.

Crossing from elevated railway to tunnel near Islands Brygge
The decision to build stage 2, from Nørreport to Vanløse, and state 3 to the airport, was made by parliament on 21 December 1994. Stage 2 involved the establishment of the company Fredriksbergbaneselskapet I/S in February 1995, owned 70% by the Ørestad Development Corporation and 30% by Fredriksberg Municipality. The third stage would be built by Østamagerbaneselskapet I/S, established in September 1995 and owned 55% by the Ørestad Development Corporation and 45% by Copenhagen County. In October 1996, a contract was signed with the Copenhagen Metro Construction Group (COMET) for building the lines, and with Ansaldo for delivery of the trains and operate the system the first five years. COMET is a consortium comprised Astaldi, Bachy, SAE, Ilbau, NCC Rasmussen & Schiøtz Anlæg and Tarmac Construction.


Construction started in November 1996, with the moving of underground pipes and wires around the station areas. In August 1997, construction started at the depot, and in September, COMET started the first mainline construction work. In October and November, the two tunnel boring machines (TMB), christened Liva and Bette, were delivered. They started digging each barrel of the tunnel from Islands Bryggemarker in February 1998. The same month, the Public Transport Authority gave the necessary permits to operate a driverless metro. The section between Fasanvejmarker and Frederiksbergmarker is a former S-train line, and was last operated as such on 20 June 1998.

The first section of tunnel was completed by September 1998, and the TMBs moved to Havnegade. By December 1998, work had started on all the initial nine stations. Plans for M2 were presented to the public in April 1999, with a debate emerging if the proposed elevated solution is the best. In May, the first trains were delivered, and trial runs began at the depot. In December, the tunnels were completed to Strandlodsvej, and the TMBs were moved to Havnegade, where they started to grind towards Frederiksberg. From 1 January 2000, the S-train service from Solbjergmarker to Vanløse was terminated, and work to rebuilt to metro started. By February 2001, all tunnels were finished.

In March 2001, Copenhagen County Council decided to start construction of stage 3. On 6 November 2001, the first train operates through a tunnel section. On 28 November, laying of tracks along stage 1 and stage 2A completed. An agreement about financing stage 3 was reached on 12 April. By 22 May, the 18 delivered trains had test-run . The section from Nørreport to Lergravsparken and Vesterport was opened on 19 October 2002. Initially, the system had a 12-minute headway on each of the two services. From 3 December this was reduced to 9 minutes, and from 19 December to 6 minutes. Operation of the system was subcontracted to Ansaldo, who again subcontracted it to Metro Service, a subsidiary of Serco Group. The contract had a duration of five years, with an option for extension for another three.

M1 and M2

Trial runs on the next section of metro, stage 2A from Nørreport to Frederiksberg, began on 24 February. It opened on 29 May 2003. All changes to bus and tin schedules in Copenhagen took place on 25 May, but to allow Queen Margrethe II to open the line, the opening needed to be adapted to her calendar. This caused four days without a bus service along the line. Stage 2B, from Frederiksberg to Vanløse, opened on 12 October.

Elevated station on Amager
Forum Stationmarker was nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2005. On 2 December 2005, the final agreement to build the City Circle Line was made between the local and national governments. The price was estimated at DKK 11.5 to 18.3 billion, of which DKK 5.4 billion will be financed though ticket sales, and the remaining from the state and municipalities. In 2006, it was announced that the contract with Ansaldo to operate the metro had been prolonged another three years. However, the subcontract between Ansaldo and Serco Group was not extended, and the contract was instead given to Azienda Trasporti Milanese in joint venture with Ansaldo, who took over operations from October 2007. In 2007, the Ørestad Development Corporation was discontinued, and the ownership of the metro was transferred to Metroselskabet I/S.

In January 2007, the city council decided that a branch be built during construction at Norreport, to allow a future branch line from the City Circle Line towards Brønshøjmarker. The start of must be built at the same time of the City Circle Line being built, or face a multitude higher construction costs and long stop of operations later. The decision did not actually involve a final decision to built the metro branch. In March 2007, a proposal to establish a station at Valby, where Carlsberg is planning an urban redevelopment, was scrapped. This would increase construction costs with DKK 900 million, and was not economic. The high costs were in part due to an extra TBM being needed to finished the project in time. The City Circle Line was passed by parliament on 1 June 2007, with only the Red–Green Alliance voting in disfavor.

The stage 3 opened on 28 September 2007, from Lergravsparken to the airport. It followed for the most part the route of the former Amager Line of the Danish State Railwaysmarker. With this stage complete, 34 trains had been delivered. However, the line had caused a heated debate, and several locals had organized themselves in the Amager Metro Group. They demanded that the line instead be tunneled, arguing that it caused a physical barrier in Amager and that it created noise pollution. In April 2008, the Copenhagen Metro won the award at MetroRail 2008 for the world's best metro. The jury noted the system's high regularity, safety and passenger satisfaction, as well as the efficient transport to the airport. During 2008, the metro experienced a 16% passenger growth to 44 million passengers per year.

An agreement made in September 2008, the Social Democrats, the Conservative People's Party , the Liberal Party and the Danish People's Party agreed to not fund an expansion of the metro northwest. Initially, the system had night trains on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, but from 19 March 2009, this was extended to all nights. This caused a logistical challenge, because the operator used the nights for maintenance. The routes were therefore set up in such a way that the system could be operated on only a single track, leaving the other free for work. In May 2009, six companies were pre-qualified to bid for the public service obligation to operate the metro. These were Serco–NedRailways, Ansaldo STS, Arriva, S-Bahn Hamburg, Keolis and DSB Metro—a joint venture between DSBmarker and RATP. The process was delayed because of a procedural error by Metroselskabet, who failed to prequalify DSB Metro.


A map of the Copenhagen Metro network

The metro consists of two lines, M1 and M2. They share a common section from Vanløse to Christianshavnmarker, where they split along two lines, M1 along the Ørestad Line to Vestamager, and M2 the Østamager Line to the airport. The lines have 22 stations and are long, of which 9 stations and km are on the common section. M1 is long and has 15 stations, while M2 is long and has 16 stations. About of the lines and nine stations are in tunnel, located at below ground level. The remaining are on embankments, viaducts or at ground level.

The section from Vanløse to Frederiksberg follows the Frederiksberg Line, a former S-train line that runs on an embankment, and is located in Frederiksberg Municipality. Between Solbjerg and Frederiksberg, the line runs underground, and continues through the city center. After Christianshavn, the line splits in two. M1 reaches ground level at Islands Brygge, and continues on a viaduct until the Vestamager area. M2 continues in tunnel until after Lergravsparken, where it starts to follow the former Amager Line.

The tunnels consists of two parallel barrels; the run through stable limestone at about depth, but are elevated slightly at stations. There are emergency exits every , so the train is at any time not further than away from one. The outer tunnel diameter is , while the inner diameter is . The tunnels have been excavated using boring with tunnel boring machines (TBM), cut-and-cover and new Austrian tunnelling method. On the elevated sections, the tracks lay on each their parallel pylon-supported viaducts.


The system operates continually with a varying headway throughout the day. During rush hour (07–10 and 15–18), there is a two-minute headway on the common section and a four-minute headway on the individual sections. During Thursday through Saturday night (24–05), the headway is fifteen minutes, and other night it is twenty minutes on all sections of the metro. At all other times, there is a three-minute headway on the common section and a six-minute on the split sections. Travel time from Nørreport to Vestamager on M1 is 14 minutes, to the airport on M2 is 15 minutes, and to Vanløse on M1 and M2 is 9 minutes. In 2008, the metro transported 47 million passengers, or 149,000 per day.

The metro operates with a proof-of-payment system, so riders must have a valid ticket before entering the station platforms. The system is divided into zones, and the fare structure is integrated into other public transport in Copenhagen, including the buses managed by Movia, local DSB trains and the S-train. The system lays within four different zones. Ticket machines are available at all stations, where special tickets for dogs and bicycles can be purchased. A two-zone ticket costs DKK 21, with discounts available for multi-ride tickets. Tickets must be stamped to be validated. Holders of the Copenhagen Card ride free of charge, as do up to two children under twelve years of age accompanied by an adult. In 2010, the metro will adapt the national electronic fare card system Rejsekort.

The system is integrated with other public transport in Copenhagen. There is transfer to to the S-train at Vanløse, Flintholmmarker and Nørreport, to DSB's local trains at Nørreport, Ørestadmarker and Lufthavnen, and to Copenhagen Airport at Lufthavnen. There are transfers to Movia bus services at all but four stations.

The system is owned by Metroselskabet, who is also responsible for building the City Circle Line. The company is owned by Copenhagen Municipality (50.0%), the Ministry of Transport (41.7%) and Frederiksberg Municipality (8.3%). The company is organized with as few employees as possible. Construction and operation is subcontracted through public tenders, while consultants are used for planning. The contract to operate the system was made with Ansaldo STS, who has subcontracted it to Metro Service, a joint venture between them and Aziende Trasporti Milanese. The company has about 200 employees, the majority who work as stewards.


There are 22 stations on the network, of which nine are underground and six are deep-level. The stations were designed by KHR Arkitekter, and are designed to create openness and daylight to clarify the depth of the stations. They have a information column in front of the station, marked with a large 'M' and with information screens. All stations have a vestibule at ground level, that has ticket and local information, ticket machines and validators. The stations are built with island platforms. The stations are fully accessible for people with disabilities.

The six deep-level stations are built as square, open boxes long, wide and long. The platforms are located below the surface. Access to the surface is reached via escalators and elevators. The design allows the stations to located below streets and squares, and means no expropriation is needed. Access to the track is blocked by platform screen doors. The underground stations were built as cut-and-cover from the top down, and the first part of construction was building a water-tight wall on all sides. There are glass pyramids on the roof of the stations permitting daylight to enter. Inside the pyramids, there are prism refracting and splitting the light, sometimes resulting in rainbows on the walls. The light on the stations is automatically regulated to make best use of the daylight and maintain a constant level of illumination of the stations at all times.

The elevated stations are built in glass, concrete and steel, to minimize their visual impact. Outside, there is parking for bicycles, cars, buses and taxis. The platforms are open, but have sheds, and automatic sensors that halt trains if obstacles are detected on the tracks.


The interior of a Metro train

The system uses 34 driverless electric multiple units built by AnsaldoBreda and designed by Giugiaro Design of Italy.The trains are long, wide, and weigh . Each train consists of three articulated cars with a total of six automated, wide doors, holding up to 96 seated and 204 standing passengers. There are four large 'flex areas' in each train with folding seats providing space for wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles.

Each car is equipped with two three-phase asynchronous motors, giving each train a power output of . In each car, the two motors are fed by the car's own insulated-gate bipolar transistor. They transform the 750 volt direct current collected from the third rail shoe to the three-phase alternating current used in the motors. The trains' top speed are , while the average service speed is , with an acceleration and deceleration capacity of 1.3 m/s2 (4.3 ft/s2). The track is standard gauge.

The entire metro system and the trains are run by a fully-automated computer system, located at the Control and Maintenance Center south of Vestamanger Station. The automatic train control (ATC) consists of three subsystems: automatic train protection (ATP), automatic train operation (ATO) and automatic train supervisory (ATS). The ATP is responsible for keeping the trains' speed, insuring that doors are closed before departure and insuring that switches are correct set. The system uses fixed block signaling, except around stations, where moving block signaling is used.

The control room
The ATO is the autopilot that drives the trains after a predefined schedule, insures that the train stop at stations and operates the doors. The ATS keeps track of all components of the network, including the rails and all trains on the system, and displays a live schematic at the control center. The ATC is designed to that only the ATP is safety-critical, and will halt trains if the other systems have faults. The safety and signaling specifications are based on the German BOStrab, and controlled by TÜV Rheinlandmarker and Det Norske Veritasmarker under authority of the Public Transport Authority.Other aspects of the system, such a power supply, ventilation, security alarms, cameras and pumps, are controlled by a system called "control, regulating and surveillance".

The Control and Maintenance Center is an facility located at the south of M1. It consist of both a storage area for trains not in use, a maintenance area and the control facility for the whole system. The trains operate automatically through the system, and can also automatically be washed on the exterior. The facility has of track, of which is a test track for use after maintenance. The most common repairs are the grinding of the wheels; more complicated repairs are made by replacing entire components that are sent to the manufacturer. By having components in reserve, trains can have shorter maintenance time. The center also has the system's work trains, that include a diesel locomotive that can fetch broken trains.

At any time, there are four people working at the control center. Two monitor the ATC system, one monitors passenger information, while the last is responsible for secondary systems, such as power supply. In case of technical problems, there is always a team of linemen that can be sent to perform repairs. Although the trains are not equipped with drivers, there are stewards that help passengers, perform ticket controls and assist in emergency situations.


Diagram of the Copenhagen Metro including the proposed lines M3 and M4.
Station names shown in brackets are provisional and may change before M3/M4 is completed.

The City Circle Line is an under-construction expansion of the metro. Independent of the existing system, it will circle the city center and connect the areas of Østerbromarker, Nørrebro and Vesterbro to Frederiksberg and Indre Bymarker. The line will be long and run entirely in tunnel. The circle will have 17 stations, and it will take 25 minutes to complete a full circle. Archaeological and geological surveys started in 2007, and construction of the tunnels is planned to start in 2010.

The line will operate as M3 and M4, the former taking a full circle, while M4 will only operate on the eastern half from Copenhagen Central Stationmarker via Østerportmarker to Nørrebromarker. Trains will operate both ways through the circle. The line will have transfer to M1 and M2 at Frederiksberg and Kongens Nytorvmarker. The line is estimated to carry 240,000 daily passengers, bringing the metro's total daily ridership to 460,000.

A further expansion of the City Circle Line has been proposed, where M4 would divert at Nørrebro and run to the suburbs of Brønshøjmarker and Gladsaxemarker. There are two proposals, one that will have four stations and run to Husummarker, and one that will have nine stations and run to Gladsaxe. The authorities are also considering light rail and bus rapid transit. The long metro model would be long, give a 400% increase in public transport ridership in the area, and cost DKK 9.3 billion to build.


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