This Monday morning, on Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona, where work is being carried out to take the tram from Glòries to Verdaguer, the first canopy of the new section was already up, the one at the Sicília stop, and it smelled to burned It was a consequence of the first rail welding to fix the future tracks, work that the operators were doing with the help of a butane canister.
Meanwhile, curious neighbors observed the works and the mayoress, Ada Colau, from their balconies; the Minister of Territory, Juli Fernández; and other authorities, who have traveled there to focus the attention of citizens on these advances and report that the actions are going well. “We hope that the new section will be operational in a year,” said the Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning, Ecology, Infrastructure and Mobility, Janet Sanz, who said that “at the beginning of 2024” the tracks will already be in place.
“It is an exciting day”, Colau pointed out, for his part, in front of the marquee, which, unlike those of the existing tram stops, centralizes the services to users in the same module, while the others are just to shelter them. This will be all of the new section.
The mayor has also announced that her government has prepared everything before the municipal elections in May so that the union of the tramway becomes a reality. And it is that the City Council and the Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (ATM) have already awarded the drafting of the executive project of the section that will go from Verdaguer to Francesc Macià, which together with the one that will be finished being built in 2024 -from Glòries to Verdaguer-, will allow connecting the Trambesòs and the Trambaix. Drafting has begun with the expectation of finishing it before the end of this year.
The idea is, Colau explained, that this procedure allows the works of the first phase to be “stacked” together with those of the second. In other words, the works from Verdaguer to Francesc Macià begin just as those from Glòries to Verdaguer finish.
Asked if the tram connection is shielded from a possible change in the political color of the City Council after the elections, the mayoress stated: “Our duty is to leave everything ready so that one work is linked to the other. It makes no sense to leave the half connection”. For her part, Fernández has ensured that the Generalitat’s commitment to the City Council to end the union “exists”.
“The connection is a little closer”, said the minister, who added that this “will make people’s lives a little better”, because it will reduce mobility times, link public transport networks and contribute to reducing pollution at a time of climate emergency. Colau has added that it is “a work of common sense” that will allow connecting “metropolitan cities”, a total of nine.
The mayoress, on the other hand, has pointed out that “by the end of the year the urbanization will be finished” in the section from Glòries to Verdaguer, with which 8,400 square meters will be gained for pedestrians, 2,500 m2 of cyclable spaces and 5,000 m2 of green area.
Earlier, in April, the first segments of the third rail of the continuous ground power system (ACT) will be received to execute the tram platform in the sections of the road junctions. This mechanism will make it possible for it to work without the classic overhead contact line, which will require adapting the existing train fleet. It will be installed for the first time in Spain and for the second time in the world, after a first experience in Istanbul.
The works of the first phase include the creation of three new stops -Sicília, Monumental, and Verdaguer- and a new interchange in Les Glòries. They will allow the tram to connect with the metro lines L1, L2, L4, and L5; with 13 Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) bus lines; and with the Trambesòs lines.
The new infrastructure will make it possible to get from Glòries to Paseo de Sant Joan and vice versa in seven minutes and it is expected that daily passengers from Trambesòs will increase by 19,000, 58%. Thus, it will reach 100,000, said Colau, who has said that when the tram union is finished, there will be 220,000 passengers that this public transport will have up to date.