The tram-train is already in service, Source: Trambahía

Spain has its first tram-train and its free to use for the first year

Spain has its first tram-train and its free to use for the first year

The new railway service will turn the city of Cádiz and its surroundings into something akin to a metropolis

After 20 years since the proposal of the project and 16 years of works, the tram-train line of Cádiz Bay is now a reality after it was officially launched yesterday. Trambahía, the name of the service makes a reference to the words bahía (bay) and tranvía (tramway) to describe how the picturesque bay, where the southern Andalusian city of Cadiz and the nearby towns are located, has been integrated into one connected unit.

The Trambahía connects the municipalities of Chiclana de la Frontera, San Fernando, Puerto Real and Cádiz. It consists of a 24-kilometre route with 21 stops, and it will serve a population of 234,000 inhabitants (living less than 1,000 meters away from each stop).

Tram or train, why not both?

As the name of the line suggests the service has the features of a tram, but its supra-urban scope mimics that of a regional train. This kind of line is, in fact, the first of its kind in Spain. The hybrid nature of the Trambahía has required the approval of the State Railway Safety Agency to be able to circulate on the railway, and of the Pelagatos Workshops (in Chiclana), which have been enabled as a maintenance point of the railway rolling stock.

The completion of the Trambahía, whose work began in 2006, was interrupted by budget problems and the lack of initial coordination with the Ministry of Transport and its public companies, ADIF, Renfe and the State Railway Safety Agency (AESF), legal conflicts with expropriations, or the discovery of historical remains, which caused stoppages that have delayed its inauguration until this Wednesday.

The cool thing is that when it comes to the pricing scheme for the passengers, the new service will be free to ride (for holders of monthly passes), at least until the end of 2023. In that sense, the Trambahía will be treated like a regional train to receive the same government subsidies available for the promotion of public transport that other regional services in the country have been enjoying since September.



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