Trams in Buenos Aires


The first trams in Buenos Aires began operating in 1863 in what quickly became a vast network of tramways with the city being known as the "City of Trams" for having the highest tramway-to-population ratio in the world123 In the 1920s, Buenos Aires had 875 km of tramways and 99 tram lines using 3000 carriages running throughout the city23 By 1963, the vast majority of the network began to be dismantled, though some minor tram services continue in the city today

Contents

  • 1 History
    • 11 Horse-drawn and steam-powered trams
    • 12 Electrification of the network
    • 13 20th Century
  • 2 PreMetro
  • 3 Heritage Tramway
  • 4 Other services
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References

Historyedit

Horse-drawn and steam-powered tramsedit

Horse-drawn trams in front of the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral

The first horse-drawn trams began circulating the city in 1863 as a feeder service to the railways, taking passengers from Plaza de Mayo to the Retiro Terminal,4 where it connected to the Buenos Aires Northern Railway A second similar horse-drawn feeder service was established between Monserrat and the Constitución railway terminal in 1866 to service the Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway2

The first urban tramways were inaugurated in 1870 by Argentine pioneer Federico Lacroze and his brother Julio5 These two lines were the Lacroze brothers' Central Tramway Tramway Central and the Méndez brothers' Tramway 11 de Septiembre, which both ran parallel from Plaza de Mayo westwards to Plaza Miserere, currently the home of Once de Septiembre railway station6 The tramways were first met with scepticism from the public, however by 1880 numerous other tram operators began to appear - such as the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company - and the city would eventually emerge as having the largest tramway-to-population ratio in the world, gaining a global reputation for many decades as the "City of Trams"12 During this period, up until electrification, there was also an abundance of steam-powered trams which also gradually replaced the horse-drawn ones7

Electrification of the networkedit

Electric trams circulating in Buenos Aires

In 1880 Fyodor Pirotsky created the first electric tram in Saint Petersberg8 and Argentina opened its first electric tram in 1892 in the city of La Plata, south of Buenos Aires6 Buenos Aires would not receive its first electric trams until 1897 when the North American engineer Charles Bright and the Argentine engineer Juan Mallol opened their "Buenos Ayres Electric Tramway" and "Tramways La Capital" lines in the city9 These vehicles operated at 30kph, which was considered to be extremely fast for the time and led a journalist writing about an initial voyage to refer to the electric tram as "a furious vehicle that eats up the ground with its frightening speed"10 By 1914, the last of the horse-drawn trams were retired and the - now much larger - network was completely electrified9

The Belgian Compagnie Générale de Tramways de Buenos-Ayres took over the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company in 1908 and standardised much of the network, though many Argentine companies such as the Lacroze Company remained6 In the early 1900s the network expanded rapidly as a result of electrification and by the mid-1920s the system has reached its maximum extension of 875 km with 3,000 vehicles carrying 650 million passengers a year on 99 lines serviced by 12,000 employees6 At the same time, some of the tramways began moving underground when the Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company opened the Buenos Aires Underground's Line A in 1913, becoming the first underground rail in Latin America, the southern hemisphere and the Spanish speaking world1112

20th Centuryedit

Buses competing with trams 1936

In 1922 the first Colectivos buses began to appear in the city and by 1928 were competing fiercely with the trams, with many operators going as far as running their colectivos in front of the trams to try and steal their passengers6 However, the trams did remain competitive, even going as far as offering a special "workers fare" in which people using trams from 5 until 7 in the morning could get a reduced fare at half the standard rate, something which was later abolished in 194910

The network saw somewhat of a resurgence following the nationalisation of the country's railways in 1948, which also saw the creation of Transportes de Buenos Aires TBA which incorporated the city's trams and buses, while Subterráneos de Buenos Aires SBA managed the underground6 Under this new administration, the network saw almost all the rails and overhead lines, as well as the rolling stock, almost completely replaced in the years from 1955 to 1961 At the same time, this period saw a significant increase in traffic, so much so that double-decker trams were re-incorporated into the network6

However, this resurgence and rapid growth of the network was to be short-lived, since in 1961 - under pressure from private interests threatened by what they perceived to be a state monopoly on public transport - the Argentine Congress passed a law which would see the dismantling of the network, citing "obsolescence as a means of transport" and TBA's budgetary deficit as motives10 From 1961 to 1963 the system was gradually dismantled, despite what many saw as a golden age for the tramways6

The final trams ceased operating in February 1963, just a few days after the 100-year anniversary of the first tram in Buenos Aires9 Most of the tram services saw direct replacements with the hundreds of buses purchased by the Government of Argentina from Leyland Motors13

PreMetroedit

Original Materfer tram foreground with refurbished tram in the background Main article: PreMetro E2

The Buenos Aires PreMetro is a 74 km-long tram line which opened in 1987 with the intention of it functioning as a feeder service for Line E of the Buenos Aires Underground14 It is currently operated by the private company Metrovías, who also operate the Underground and the Urquiza Line in the city15 It uses Argentine-built Materfer trams, though for a brief period it used re-bodied La Brugeoise cars from the Underground while the Materfer trams were being constructed16

Originally there were supposed to be two PreMetro lines, however the second line E1 was never built following the privatisation of the country's railways in the early 1990s More recent plans to build the line which, along with E2, would service some of the poorer parts of the city were further thwarted after the construction of a MetroBus line to the south of the city17 However, plans are underway to refurbish the existing E2 line, including the construction of a new terminal and the restoration of the line's stops18

Heritage Tramwayedit

Play media A parade of trams to celebrate 150 years of trams in Buenos Aires

Today, the Association of Friends of the Tramway Spanish: Asociación Amigos del Tranvía maintain and refurbish numerous trams inside the Polvorín workshop in the neighbourhood of Caballito, which also serves as the workshop for Line A of the Buenos Aires Underground

The group formed in 1980 and runs a heritage tramway in the neighborhood, which often features jazz bands playing on the trams19 The service is free and is open on Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays all year round from 4pm to 730pm20 The tramway has many trams dating back as far as the early 1900s which are used on its 2 km circuit

As part of the AAT's ongoing restoration and acquisition of more trams to add to its museum, it also acquired some La Brugeoise cars, which up until 2013 served Line A of the Underground, with the intention of restoring them and converting them to be used as trams, which was their original use before the Underground21

Other servicesedit

Puerto Madero Tramway

The Puerto Madero Tramway was a tram which ran in Puerto Madero from 2007 to 2012 on a 2 km-long stretch with 4 stations The tramway closed after experiencing low passenger numbers, largely due to the linear nature of the line which only operated in a sparsely populated part of the area2223 Extensions had been planned to the Retiro railway station and to La Boca, which would have added an extra 7 km to the line, however the plans were ultimately abandoned24

In Greater Buenos Aires the Tren de la Costa, which uses articulated CAF trams, was opened in 1995 It links to the General Mitre Railway in northern Buenos Aires and runs from Olivos to Tigre25

See alsoedit

  • Anglo-Argentine Tramways Company
  • La Brugeoise cars
  • Line A Buenos Aires Underground
  • List of town tramway systems in Argentina
  • Polvorín Workshop
  • Rail transport in Argentina
  • Trams in Rosario

Referencesedit

  1. ^ a b Trams Of Argentina - Don Ross Group, 7 November 2014
  2. ^ a b c d Historia del tranvía en Buenos Aires - Revista Digital ead
  3. ^ a b Un viaje por la historia de la ciudad en el viejo Tramway - ElDiarioes, 21 March 2015
  4. ^ La historia del tranvía de Buenos Aires, un recorrido por la nostalgia - Eterna Buenos Aires, 18 January 2011
  5. ^ Bernades, Alberto 2001 "Apuntes para una biografía de Federico Lacroze" Historias de la ciudad 12 ISSN 1514-8793 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h APUNTES SOBRE LA HISTORIA DEL TRANVÍA EN BUENOS AIRES - Biblioteca Popular Federico Lacroze
  7. ^ LOS TRANSPORTES EN LOMAS DE ZAMORA: Los tranvias - Centro de Investigaciones Territoriales y Ambientales Bonaerenses CITAB
  8. ^ Korney Kolomnov, Where the Tram Came From Откуда Есть Пошёл Трамвай at the Wayback Machine archived June 30, 2003, Zerkalo Nedeli, 379 in Russian webarchiveorg copy from 2003-06-30
  9. ^ a b c Tranvías de Buenos Aires: historia sobre rieles - Terra, 24 November 2013
  10. ^ a b c Tranvías en Buenos Aires - Buenos Aires Antiguo
  11. ^ BUENOS AIRES - Urban Rail
  12. ^ El Subte: 100 años bajo tierra - Noticias Urbanas, 28 November 2013
  13. ^ Leyland Urbanos en los '60 - BusARG
  14. ^ Buenos Aires: Brand new pre-Metro line - Tramways & Urban Transit, 2001
  15. ^ Nuestra compañía - Metrovias
  16. ^ Van Hattum, C August 1989 "Developments in Buenos Aires" Modern Tramway, pp 271–273 UK: Ian Allan Ltd
  17. ^ Premetro a Puente de la Noria, en el olvido por el Metrobus del Sur - EnElSubte, 16 August 2014
  18. ^ Realizan contratación directa para renovar la terminal del Premetro - EnElSubte, 13 March 2015
  19. ^ La AAT celebra con un festival los 150 años del tranvía - EnElSubte, 12 July 2013
  20. ^ Tranvía Histórico - Buenos Aires 123
  21. ^ Realizan pruebas con Brugeoise reconvertidos a 1500 V en la línea A - EnElSubte, 11 July 2014
  22. ^ "El tranvía de Puerto Madero está a la deriva", Infobae, 9 Jan 2013
  23. ^ Tramways & Urban Transit, January 2013, p 29 UK: LRTA Publishing
  24. ^ Rossi, Antonio 2008 "El Tranvía de Puerto Madero será ampliado de Retiro a la Boca" Clarín in Spanish Retrieved 2008-03-14 
  25. ^ Tren de la Costa from Buenos Aires to Tigre - The Real Argentina


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