Trams return to European cities

In the first half of the twentieth century in Europe, trams were a popular and widespread means of transportation in both large urban centers and small cities and towns, but starting in the 1950s it was gradually abandoned to facilitate automobile and road traffic. Recently, however, As he says PoliticoThe opposite process appears to have been launched: many European domestic administrations are in fact aiming to restore the use of one of the most popular public transport ever, and above all to reduce the polluting emissions from transportation and try to achieve the goals set by the European Union to counter the effects of climate change.

She also explained the magazine specializing in railroads and public rail transport Railroad GazetteIt can be seen that in recent months many interventions have been completed Development or improvement Tram lines in various European cities, from Poland to Portugal, and from France to Italy. Trams are convenient again because, unlike most buses used in public transport, they are electrically operated and thus do not emit pollutants locally; Moreover, it can be powered by renewable sources and thus does not contribute to the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the main greenhouse gas and one of the main causes of global warming.

To achieve the goals of European institutions to achieve so-called carbon neutrality by 2050, Or the balance of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere is equal to zero, Many local administrations specifically started from interventions in public transport: the tram, a popular mode of transportation that also enables access to places where metros and buses are difficult to reach, appears to be one of the more beneficial solutions to focus on.

To give some examples, there are still around 150 traders in Milan 1500 chain tram (Or Model 1928), which was built in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and today most of it connects the central areas of the city. Over the years, many sections that traveled by Milan’s historic trams have been cut to make way for streets or pedestrian areas, for example in Ripa di Porta Ticinese, and at the same time communications linking Milan with some neighboring cities were also cut off.

But in recent years, in addition to the redevelopment of many sidewalks, the local administration and ATMs – the municipal transportation company – have also begun expanding tram lines to reduce pollution and ease traffic in the city.

In addition to extending tram line 15, which connects Piazza Diaz with Rozzano – in the southern suburbs – in 2018, the local administration plans to upgrade the tram line connecting the station of Line 3 of Milanese Comacina metro to Limbiate, a few kilometers north of Milan. At the same time, work on Extension of the tram line 7, Which will arrive from the current station in the Adriano district, in the northeast of the city, to Cascina Gobba, where there is an important stop on line 2 of the metro.

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Moreover, among the projects of the municipal engineering company MM spa, there is also a construction The Milan-Serigno Light Train, Which provides for the redevelopment of the old tram line between Milan Desio, which crossed Breso, Cusano Milanino, Baderno Dugnano and Nova Milano – north of Milan – and was decommissioned in 2011. Those who live in the city or nearby know how busy they are. The province of Monza and Brianza in Milan, especially at peak times, and imagine the impact of private transportation on environmental pollution.

Milan is not the only European city in which new investments have been planned to develop or redevelop tramways.

Last week, Spain’s Deputy Minister of Environmental Transactions, Teresa Ribera Advertise The government will invest nearly € 20 million to expand the Seville tramway, which was built in 1897, decommissioned in the 1960s and then restored from 2007.

On April 10, A. Paris A new tram line has opened connecting the Porte de Choisy metro station to Orly, a town in the southern suburbs where the airport of the same name is also located. In recent years, again in France, an old one has been reopened and expanded Tram line Which linked Strasbourg to Germany and which has remained unused since 1960, while in 2004 the trams were also reused to Nottingham, In England, after the success of similar projects in other cities of the country, such as Manchester and Sheffield.

The new Paris T9 tram line. (Vincent Ezur / IP3 via Zuma Press / Ansa)

There are plans to expand Berlin’s tramways as well. Transport consultant Regen Günther, of the Green Party, has launched an “unprecedented” tram expansion initiative aimed at making public transport less polluting.

Günter said the tram is a great way to bridge the gap between certain points in the urban transportation system, while creating lines that are much cheaper than the metro. The plan proposed by the council member would include extending some tram lines in old East Berlin to move them to the Kreuzberg and Neukölln regions, which were located during the period of the former GDR in West Berlin. In any case, the German government plans to use part of the investment plan of 28 billion euros for public transport in Berlin to build more than 70 kilometers of rail transport lines within the next fifteen years.

Un tram a Berlino (Paul Zinken / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa via ANSA)

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is one of the cities where local transportation is famous for its reliance on trams.

The Lisbon tram system About 150 years ago, as in many other cities, some lines were shut down between the 1980s and 1990s, also due to cuts in public transportation funding to modernize other infrastructure. Unlike other cities, the tram in Lisbon remained very important for residents and passengers because it was able to connect areas distributed over the various hills of the city, and reach points that the buses could not reach due to the many slopes and narrow streets, Explained to Politico Miguel Gaspar, Lisbon mobility consultant.

Tramway in Lisbon (AP Photo / Armando Franca via LaPresse)

According to Gaspard, the “added value” of the tram now is that it is a “transportation option that does not directly exploit fossil fuels.”

In 2017, the Lisbon administration regained control of the local transport service, which was previously run by the national government, helping to restore and restore Tram line 24, Which connects Luís de Camões to the mountainous Campolide region and was gradually abandoned in 1995. At the end of April, the mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina Advertise The municipality will spend 43 million euros to buy 15 new trams and that it will open a tender for the supply of 30 electric buses.

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Gaspar said 54 percent of Lisbon’s working passengers currently arrive in the city by car and explained that the local government’s goal is for that number to drop to a third by 2030. About a fifth of the city’s public transport is powered by electricity from the PV plant, but according to For Gaspar, in order to achieve the harmful emissions reduction targets set by the European Union, it will be necessary to continue to increase energy production from renewable energy in addition to encouraging the use of less polluting means.

One of Lisbon’s problems is that the 62 historic trams spread across the city can move easily up hills and through its narrow streets, but are not easily accessible to the handicapped, for those with a pram or for the elderly, like some of the oldest trams circulating in Milan. For this reason, Gaspard said that if Lisbon is to expand the service and make it truly attractive to residents, it will need to equip itself with specially designed trams that fit the city’s idiosyncrasies.

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