History of tramways in Barcelona by David Llorca


The first tramway line in Barcelona was the "Barcelona-Gràcia (Josepets)" line and it was found on June 28th, 1872. This was a "blood tramway" (tramvia de sang) because it was powered by horses. The Company was "Barcelona tramways". In a few years, a lot of lines started to ride between Barcelona and the villages around (Gràcia, Sants, Sant Andreu, Sant Martí, Horta, Sant Gervasi, Sarrià...). These villages are quarters of Barcelona today.
The lines belonged at a lot of companies, but in the 1900's the two mains companies were Barcelona Tramways and Compañía General de Tranvías. In the 1900's the electrification took place.
From 1910, the lines started to have number codes (the buses were letters).
In 1925, the two main companies merged to Tranvías de Barcelona (TB).
In 1929, Barcelona had one of the most important tramways net in Europe but the Spanish war did was extremely painful for this network.

During the the Spanish War, the public transport network was heavily damaged. But, just from 1939, the tramways network started to circulate. The electric restrictions were very frequently, and the service was very bad. The tramways were crowded with people. In the 1950´s and 1960's, the service improved.
Some pics can be found here.

But the council wanted to develop the private transport and the tramways lines started to disappear. The intention of the council was to substitute these lines by bus lines, but the main mistake was that the bus lines had less capacity and they had to circulate in the car lanes. The car circulation increased a lot, and the traffic-jam started to be very frequently
This situation favoured at Pegaso buses. TB bought a lot of them.
The situation was crazy: the council deceived everybody. It said that the tramways were important for the suburban areas and the buses for the urban areas. But, line a line, all the tramway services were cancelled.
A curiosity, a year after the end of the tramways, TB created a new service- line 51. But on March 18th, 1971 the last two tramways lines made their last service. Only the "tramvia blau" survived and is still riding as a touristic attraction.

a new start
A few years after the tramways had disappeared, a lot of people thought that the elimination was a heavy mistake. In fact cars had more place, but promptly the great increment of them was a problem for the buses, because they have to suffer the traffic-jams. Then, the council created the bus lanes (and then, the car lanes decreased).

In the ends of the 1980´s, the EMT (Entitat Metropolitana del Transport), thought about a possibility of building a new tramway line in the Diagonal to connect this area with the towns of Esplugues, Cornellà, Sant Joan Despí, Sant Just Desvern i Sant Feliu de Llobregat.

To test the modern tramways, in 1997 a little sections between the Pl. Maria Cristina i Entença along the Diagonal was built (only two trams-stop). Afterwards test started to circulate with one tram which came from Grenoble (TAG) in June 1997. A month later tests were made with a "Combino" tramway of Siemens.

The tests were successful, and EMT decided to start with the construction of a new tramway line. Then ATM (Autoritat del Transport Metropolità) was founded for the construction works and another new enterprise - "Tramvia Metropolità" - is responsible for the operation. The trams are Alstom Citadis Barcelona with all low flow. They have 5 articulated sections. Their length is 32.5 m.
The new tram is, after our newest information, going to start in the secons quarter of 2004. There are three lines planned

Line T1: Francesc Macià - Avenida Diagonal - L'Hospitalet - Esplugues to Cornellà and Sant Joan Despí (centre)

Line T2: Francesc Macià - Avenida Diagonal - L'Hospitalet - Esplugues to Cornellà and Sant Joan Despí (Hospital Comarcal)

Line T3: Pl. Francesc Macià - Avenida Diagonal - L'Hospitalet - Esplugues to Sant Just and Sant Feliu.


The second tramnetwork is TramBesòs which started its service in 2004. This line is 14km long and runs from Estacio de Nord (city coach station) to RENFE station Sant Adria de Besos. See our first pics here. Meanwhile TramBesòs exists of three line.

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