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Route 21: Lidingöbanan
Ropsten - Gåshaga

The Lidingö line
A30 Today, the Lidingö line runs between Ropsten subway station and Gåshaga on the island of Lidingö. During its years of greatness, service on Lidingö consisted of two lines that ran all the way to Stureplan in central Stockholm from Kyrkviken, on the north side of the island, and Gåshaga on the south side.

Tram service on Lidingö saw the light of day at the beginning of the 20th century, after Lidingö Trafik AB had received a franchise for railway service on the island. The northern line began service on 26 October 1907. Back then, passengers had to change from the tram to a ferry to be carried across the water. Beginning in 1909, the tramcar itself was carried on the ferry to and from Ropsten. The southern line opened on 29 January 1914, and reached Gåshaga in 1916.

In 1925, the new Lidingö Bridge opened, and it was possible to extend both lines all the way in to Humlegårdsgatan in central Stockholm. When this was done, the lines came to be considered part of the Stockholms Spårvägar (SS) network, and they were designated line 20 (northern) and 21 (southern). Fifty years later, line 21 was renamed 221, at the same time that line 12 (Nockeby) was renamed 120; now both lines have regained their original line numbers. The northern Lidingö line underwent a major renovation at the end of the 1940s, as rails, posts and overhead wire were replaced.

The Lidingö lines continued to run into central Stockholm until the end of the 1960s, but when Sweden changed over to right-hand traffic and the subway was extended to Ropsten, both in 1967, the lines were terminated at the Ropsten subway station.

Service on the Lidingö lines was run, until the end of the 1960s, by Stockholm Södra Lidingöns Järnväg (SSLidJ) and Lidingö Trafik AB (LiB), which were the southern and northern lines respectively. In 1967-68, AB Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) acquired both companies. Today, the Lidingö line is operated by SL Tunnelbanan AB.

Like most of the tram service in Stockholm, the Lidingö lines have been threatened with abandonment, and for once the threat became reality when the northern Lidingö line was abandoned on 13 June 1971, in accordance with a decision made as early as 1963; bus service replaced the trams. As if that weren't enough, maintenance work on the southern line stopped almost completely from that time through the mid-1980s, as an abandonment of that line was also under discussion. The problem was that nobody wanted to pay the cost of the necessary renovations, so the line basically was allowed to deteriorate. Finally, the city of Lidingö reached an agreement with SL, under which the city paid for renovation of the 70-year-old Lidingö Bridge, and in return SL would renovate the tram line and take responsibility for its operation.

The "trains" on Lidingö
A30 no 317 In the beginning, Lidingö service was operated with trams from Stockholm under a contract with Stockholms Nya Spårvägsbolag (SNS). It was not until 1917 that the Lidingö companies acquired their own cars. These were unique among Stockholm's tramcars, having exterior panels of varnished wood (Stockholm's other tramcars had blue exteriors), and they were operated through the mid-1940s, when new cars began to arrive. After WWII, the population of Lidingö began to grow, and the old cars had insufficient capacity to handle the increased traffic. The new cars were of the same type as those used by Stockholms Spårvägar (SS) on the Ängby line, called "Ängby cars." The Lidingö companies chose to paint in the same colors as SJ's (Swedish State Railways) trains, since the Lidingö lines were classified as railways, not tramways, under the 1907 franchise. The color was a red-brown shade.

But the original wood-paneled cars weren't entirely out of the picture yet. After a fire in the southern line's depot in September 1949 destroyed many of the modern cars, the old cars, which had not been scrapped, were pressed into service again. In 1952, when the Ängby line was converted to subway operation, additional Ängby cars were acquired for Lidingö. These cars are still in service, having been renovated and modernized during the period 1983-94.

Today, Lidingöbanan has 20 cars, of which 15 are used in regular service. These cars were built 1944-52, and can run at up to 65-75 km/h. SL expects to begin replacing these cars with modern tramcars of the type ordered for the new rapid tramway in the not-too-distant future.


Map of line 21

  • Ropsten (Ros) T-bana
  • Torsvik (Tov)
  • Baggeby (Bag)
  • Bodal (Bod)
  • Larsberg (Lab)
  • AGA (Aga)
  • Centralvägen (Cev) - closed october 2000
  • Skärsätra (Skr) - opened october 2000
  • Parkvägen (Pav) - closed october 2000
  • Kottla (Koa)
  • Högberga (Höb)
  • Brevik (Bvi)
  • Käppala (Käp)
  • Talludden (Tad)
  • Gåshaga (Gåh)

type of service railway (!)
name Lidingöbanan
number 21
terminals Ropsten T-bana
length 8,9 km
stops 14
cars • 14 of class A30B
• 6 of class B30B

Text: Per Ampferer
Photo: Micke Asklander
English translation: Tim Kynerd

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