Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Monday, October 26, 2009
quick return to palma
Traffic filled streets - this one seen from a passing train!
Typical off peak loading on Palma buses.
Electric traction is already in Palma - this is the very recently opened metro railway in the Placa D'Espanya.
Yet another packed bus!
Apologies for returning to Majorca whilst in the midst of a New S&D roll, but if I don't do it now I never will!
The buzz in Palma is that tram construction will start soon. Spain has been opening new tramways at a quickening pace so Majorca's missing out a bit. The Government of the Islas Balaeres decided years ago that they were going to switch from a road-based to a rail-based economy, solid evidence of this shift are the reopened railways to Manacor and Sa Pobla (see earlier post) and the brand new Metro to the University, as well as the amazing rail/Metro/bus/future tram station underneath the Placa D'España.
The first tramways will be from Palma to the airport and to Arenal. We stay in Arenal - probably the only Brits to do so as it is otherwise 95% German and 5% Dutch - so this line will be very useful to us. There are regular buses to Palma, via the backstreets(15) and motorway (25), running every ten minutes or so, but they are hopelessly crowded. As most of the users are holidaymakers they don't have access to cars so the bus is essential (and very cheap). And the Dutch and Germans love their trams!
Once buses reach this level of capacity - that's full to standing every five minutes (taking into account both routes) - then trams become the obvious solution. Of course they are also more 'environmentally friendly' as there's no pollution from the vehicles themselves, giving a cleaner atmosphere. They are also seen as modern and classy as opposed to the old, smelly and 'common' buses. Majorca should have little difficulty generating most of its energy needs from solar power as otherwise it's quite vulnerable to energy problems as a small island. This was probably also behind the government's transport strategy, even if not overtly stated!
Majorca does of course already have a tramway, at Soller, so it's hardly an alien concept. Palma itself had a decent tramway network until 1959 when it was abandoned in the rather strange atmosphere of the times.
I suspect that when the tramway is built, and construction is due to start very soon, other areas around Palma, and I'm thinking particularly of Magaluf, will clamour for theirs. I've already decided not to return to Majorca until there are new railways and tramways in place to tempt me back!
One last post on Majorca to follow very soon, then I promise S&D stuff - at least until I go away to Barcelona in February where, surprise surprise, there are new tramways ...