The tram network in Barcelona is set to expand, Source: Depositphotos

Barcelona begins work on connecting its two separate tram systems

Barcelona begins work on connecting its two separate tram systems

The first time in over half a century that a tramway will run through the heart of the city

This month saw the start of the works that will create three new tram stops on the iconic Diagonal Avenue of Barcelona. The work for laying the tracks and setting up the stops is expected to take about a year and represents the first phase of connecting the Catalonian capital’s two separate tram networks – Trambaix and Trambesòs, with the goal of integrating them into one.

While visiting the works on Monday, mayor Ada Colau said that the expanded network "will be an icon of the 21st century and future Barcelona." For her, the new tram line, crossing Barcelona's centre for the first time in over 50 years, will be "a model at the international level."

Gradual return of the tram to Barcelona

Indeed, as per the mayor’s words, trams have had an on-and-off relationship with Barcelona. First introduced in the distant 1872 (in the form of a horse-drawn tramway), that mobility mode was considered a breakthrough for its time and it helped integrate the surrounding villages into the urban core, paving the way for what was to become the metropolitan area.

During the first quarter of the 20th century, the vehicles underwent electrification, however, until 1925, it was two different companies that operated the trams, thus also showing a dual system. These days, although there are two networks, they are both operated by the same company – TRAMMET. The early 20th century was also notable for a tram incident, which caused the death of famed architect Antoni Gaudi in 1926.

But then gradually, trams fell out of favour with Barcelonians who were increasingly falling in love with the car, so, by 1971 only a tourist tramline was left in operation. It still exists today and it’s called Tramvia Blau.

In 2004, however, the light rail vehicles started rolling again on the streets of the Catalonian capital, mostly serving its peripheral areas through the two separate networks. Now, the plan is to unite them and have one comprehensive network again in times when quiet, sleek and cheap public transport is back in fashion due to its sustainable benefits.



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