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Jaén: The tram will finally start operation – but not until 2024!

Test rides in Jaén in July 2012 | © Dirk Budach

In Jaén, in the Southern-Spanish region of Andalusia, a new tramway system had been completed, but never started revenue service. Due to various political disputes, only a two-week trial operation was realized in May 2011, but the entire system has been out of use ever since. At the time of construction, 110 million euros were spent on the 4.7 km long line. It has 10 stops and runs completely on surface, double-track throughout on a reserved track in the middle of the streets.

Since then, there have been repeated efforts to put the line into operation, but little has actually happened. The five Alstom Citadis 302 low-floor trams, which were acquired in as-new state from Madrid Metro Ligero without ever being used, have been locked up in the depot for more than a decade.

Locked within the depot area for more than a decade: two of the five low-floor trams in Jaén | © Dirk Budach
The installations were not in use for more than 10 years and have to be refurbished. Photo in February 2018 | © Dirk Budach

Now, however, plans to finally start operation on the system seem to move in the right direction: In February 2023, the regional government will put out to tender the contracts necessary for the completion of the tramway in Jaén. A budget of € 4.3 million is available for the renewal of the entire infrastructure. The tender is divided into seven lots: Substations, Overhead Line and Workshop Equipment; Signalling; Traffic Signalling and Ticketing Equipment; Communication Systems; Radio System; Operational Assistance System and Passenger Assistance System and finally the Central Technical Management.

Tests with the trams have been carried out within the Jaén workshop facilities, after the power supply had been restored. The depot facilities had been prepared for operation and the vehicles had been provisionally made operational again. However, this process, for which € 1.7 million have been spent so far, has not yet been completed.

The regional government and the city authorities have announced the restart for 2024. It remains not easy to understand why it takes so long to restart the operation on a system which had been commissioned already years ago and which only need some reconditioning after such a long break. After all, the agencies involved in the city and regional administration agreed on the basic decision on commissioning and cost allocation as early as 2018. The entire facility had been built ready for operation and approved in just under two years of construction from 2009 to 2011, but now it is supposed to take another 2024 before the trains can finally start running. In practice, the necessary refurbishment of the insallations and vehicles to achieve operational readiness could certainly be done much faster. Eventually, the local population of Jaén and many others will certainly be happy if, after long years of uncertainty and without any real progress on the topic, there will be the citizens of Jaén finally have an attractive, modern means of transport at their disposal, in which so much investment has already been made.

Triam no. 01 at the train station stop on 31 July 2012 | © Dirk Budach
Test rides at the depot using tram 02 on 27 May 2011 | © Dirk Budach
13.02.2023
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Steve Marsh
Steve Marsh
3 months ago

It is scandalous how public money is wasted and a tram network is allowed to rot since 2011! The politicians, managers and bureaucrats should be ashamed of themselves, for not being able to solve the dispute for more than a decade! They are all equally to blame for this irresponsiblilty.