Tag Archives: tram

sheer transit pleasure: historical trains

(photo via flickr)

One of the nice surprises you can find while riding public transports, is finding yourself into a special, historical train. Ancient rolling stock, old fashioned staff, special festive ambiance… in a while, the trip loses its tmosphere of boring daily commute and turns itself into an improvised party: everybody starts to talk, new friendships are made…

In Paris, an historical subway train travels on line 10 from time to time. you can check the timetables here.

In Lusanne, two historical buses travel throughout the city on sunday afternoon. No fixed timetables are published, finding one of these buses must be a surprise!!!



(sources: metro pole, retrobus)

A short history of America

Some posts ago, we saw the first steps that gave birth to a road.

Here is the rest of the story (by R. Crumb)

(source: carfree)

Roma – Pantano: it’s gone!

It’s gone! From yesterday morning, the outer part of Roma-Pantano Light Rail is closed.

To remember the line and its history, here are some videos of the rolling stock, passing in Porta Maggiore, the only transfer station of the line.

(source: tramvetti.blogspot.com)

Casilina Express

When I’m asked about Rome, people often are surprised of how much my description of the city differs from the traditional image portrayed by tourist guides and postcards. They don’t know that behind the famous Ethernal City lies another town, maybe less scenic, but still very interesting. One of the landmark of this hidden Rome was the Roma Pantano Light Rail, as described in “Casilina Express”, a movie by Tommaso Valente.

“A small metropolitan train line that links the outskirts of Rome with the city centre seen through the eyes and the everyday life of the railwaymen who struggle to keep a service to the public guaranteed. By sideways looks, everyday micro-stories and personal memories, the film tells of the transformation of the edge of the city and the encroachment of the metropolis that has gobbled up local identities. The little railway, with all its obsolescence and maintenance difficulties, is the narrative thread by which the film outlines the landscape at the city’s outskirts, with its laid back rhythm and its entrancing blend of old and new fashioned ways, casting a glance both light and melancholy into memory to seek evocative reminiscences.”

(source: Tommasovalente.it)

Roma-Pantano light rail extension closes again

(image: wikipedia)

On july 7, 2008, the newly-reopen stretch of the Roma-Pantano light rail will close again after two years of operation. (official news here and here)

Once part of an extensive network covering all the eastern part of Lazio (including the towns of Frascati, Palestrina, Fiuggi, Alatri and Frosinone), Roma-Pantano light rail had heavily suffered from cars-oriented planning choices since 1950, when the inner terminal was moved from Rome’s Central Station to Via Giolitti, an area lacking connection to other means of transport. Between 1945 and 1983, several stretches and branches have been closed, both within the city and out of town.

Some hopes about a renaissance of the line came in the 90’s, when a renovation plan for the line was made. Following the examples of french and german pre-métro, the outer part of the line was upgraded, with new bridges and tunnels and metro-like stations. Renovation works lasted from 1996 to 2006, and during that time, a substitution service by bus was implemented. Now, works for the new metro line C will require the newly-rebuilt part to be closed until 2012.

(all photos from here on are courtesy of BiagPal)

The inner terminal of Roma-Pantano light rail. Vittorio Emanuele subway station is 100 m on the right, while Termini Railway station is 800 m backwards. At the moment, there is no project to move this terminal and improve its connection with the rest of the rail network.

A section in the inner part of the line, refurbished in the 90’s

Centocelle station, refurbished in the 70’s. This station sums most of the results of poor planning choices related to this line:

– The station is in the middle of a busy road, and is accessible only via an underpass. Lack of police control in the underpass, and the low traffic in this station make the access particularly unsafe.

– Behind the station lies the dismissed Centocelle airport. This area could have been used to implement a transit-oriented development, butfinally has been developped into a park. The park is now mostly unused and a big part of it has been squatted.

The old Centocelle station, now used as for recovery and maintenance.

An abandoned branch, just after Centocelle station.

The new terminal. From here on, the line will be closed and replaced by the new Metro.

A train passes near Metro construction works

Torrenova station, which will be probably demolished.

A train approaching Pantano terminal

Some more images of Pantano Terminal.

cargo tram: the solution for deliveries within the city?

(image: wikipedia)

Cargo trams were born in Dresden, and, ironically, they were conceived in order to supply components to volkswagen car factory. And little by little the idea is spreading all over the world.  Wherever the narrow streets of a town are blocked by delivery trucks, cargo trams are seen as the solution.  Zürich has adopted cargo trams for collecting waste, and will new projects are being implemented in Amsterdam, and La-Chaux-de-Fonds.

La-Chaux-de-Fonds case is particularly interesting: with a population of just 37.000, it could be considered too small to justify a tramway infrastructure. But if we consider that the city has a major waste management plant, and that wastes are sent to La-Chaux-de-Fonds by train, then put on trucks for the last 2 km, everything makes more sense. The tramway infrastructure costs will be paid by the suppression of the truck service, and the city will have a tramway infrastructure almost for free.

(source: DVB, les urbanités, proaktiva.ch)