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Alicante’s tram network is one of the most ambitious projects to have been completed in southern Europe.

Following the enormous amount of urban development in Alicante, the capital of the Costa Blanca’s tourist region, in recent years, it was felt that the transport infrastructure would not be able to cope.

As such experts said that a new public transport network was needed to prevent the existing transport system from collapse.

The city already had a network of urban and suburban tramways (1893-1969) although the region’s most efficient transport system remains the Ferrocarrils owned (FGV) narrow-gauge railway between Alicante and Denia (1914-15), a line stretching for 93km and connecting many of the Costa Blanca’s main towns.

However as the system developed an ever increasing number of operational problems, a little under 20 years ago the operator FGV-TRAM Alicante decided to use the infrastructure of this rail line to provide the city with a new tram system, thereby creating Spain’s first light rail network

The operation involved converting various sections of the single-track line into double-track tram tracks and taking advantage of the urban regeneration works slicing through various built-up areas.

The network got off to a modest start when the first section, a local line linking Puerta del Mar, La Marina and La Albufereta, opened in March 1999. The network was extended later that year.

At the same time, it was decided that an urban branch line should be built to the city centre. The route taken by the line is breathtaking, starting at the entrance to the city then, after climbing a steep incline, crossing a viaduct and finally entering the city centre through an underground section. This and other characteristics now make Alicante’s tram network one of the most ambitious projects to have been completed in southern Europe.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/45329/

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