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Lausanne underground officially opens

Lausanne's new driverless underground railway – Switzerland's first metro - is now officially open to the general public.

The first train left Ouchy, at Lake Geneva, at 5.26am on Monday morning packed with some 200 local politicians, officials and curious passengers.

The official public opening of the long-awaited automated metro, known as the M2, was said to be a success, with only a couple of minor technical hiccups.

"It's on time and the Lausanne public transport network has done a magnificent job," declared Olivier Français, a local councillor and head of the M2 project.

From Monday morning, the metro will be open from 5.30am-midnight (6.00am on Sunday). It will close at 12.30am on Friday and Saturday.

Trains climb from the crystal-blue lake waters at Ouchy to the woody hills above the city near Epalinges in just 18 minutes, slashing the previous journey time by half. The metro climbs slopes with an average six per cent gradient, with the steepest parts at 12 per cent – a world first.

The M2 cost SFr740 million ($668 million) and is expected to be used by some 25 million passengers a year.


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