Tram warning

SPAIN: Vélez-Málaga council has called tenders for infrastructure works to reopen the closed tramway.

The 18-month contract with an estimated value of €3·4m would include rehabilitation of the track, overhead electrification and stops. It will be financed with €3·7m from the EU’s Next Generation fund.

The 1 435 mm gauge tram line runs 6·1 km from Torre del Mar to Vélez-Málaga with 12 stops. The 4·8 km first phase with nine stops was inaugurated on October 11 2006. Ridership fell from 922 135 in 2007 to 676 000 in 2011, well below the 1·2 million passengers needed for profitable operation, and services ended on June 4 2012.

In July 2013 the CAF Urbos trams were leased to Sydney in Australia, returning in late 2014 after the two-year deal ended early.

The 1·3 km second phase of the line was only used for testing and never carried revenue services. This section is to be rehabilitated at a later date.

Negotiations between the town council and the Junta de Andalucía regarding possible reopening began in 2015. It was estimated that the infrastructure works would cost between €0·8m and €1·5m, and the Junta agreed to cover 40% of the losses.

The project was further delayed, and then the pandemic intervened. There are long-term plans to extend the line following the route of the N-340 coast road to Rincón de la Victoria, for a possible link-up with the future Metro de Málaga Line 3.