Zaragoza Tram project , Spain

Zaragoza Tram project :For any surface transport project globally, size is a significant factor from both a capital expenditure and return on investment perspective.

Some exceptions have been made time-to-time and one such case in point is the Zaragoza Tram facility in Spain.The tramway system is just about 13 kms (8 miles) long, with 25 stops and has a central stretch in the heart of the City of Zaragoza. Two inter-modal parking garages (one on each end of the tram line) and a main central terminal building also serve the facility.

The 25 stops are served by double and simple/single platforms, Roberto Miguel and Maria Pilar, both project managers for Hill International, said jointly.

There are 21 units of trams that have been supplied by Spanish manufacturer CAF that ply on a 32-meter track. The capacity of each tram is 194 passengers and energy to operate the public transportation system is supplied by an overhead contact system, except in the city centre.

In mid-2009, Hill International was awarded a contract to provide project management services by Sociedad de Economia Mixta los Tranvias de Zaragoza S.A. The four-year contract had an estimated value to Hill of nearly US$2.7 million.The company’s services during construction of the project included providing risk assessment, budget control, change management and project monitoring services.

“The Zaragoza Tram has helped alleviate traffic in a very congested corridor in the city and greatly improved commuting conditions,” commented Miguel and Pilar, adding the project was divided into two stages.

The first stage started in August 2009 and was opened in April 2011, while work on the second stage began in May 2011 and was launched in March 2013.

“The total time for completion [of a tram journey] is 40 minutes, with the average distance each station being 500 meters,” Miguel and Pilar said.

“This line transports an average of 95,000 passengers each day, which is twice more than the second most important line in Spain at Barcelona city,” they said, adding the Zaragoza tram runs at an average speed of 20 kms per hour, compared with 16 kms per hour by buses in the heart of the city.

Cutting edge technology has played a major role in the new tramway system and along with it Hill’s ability to bring on board the latest project management services.

“The tram has four stops without catenary. This energy-embedded storage system allows driving in areas based on super-condenser and batteries,” they said.

A prime driver for building the new tramway system is improving urban mobility, improving air quality in the City Centre area and providing a high-capacity mode of transport system.

“The tramway system has historically been a convenient mode of transport in several small European cities and continues to be so. We have put our best foot forward in completing the project that was inaugurated in March 2013 and currently transports some 95,000 passengers daily,” said John Newton, Hill International’s recently-appointed vice president of business development for Europe.

The Zaragoza tram system serves the city of Zaragoza, the fifth largest city in Spain and the service now connects the historic and modern areas of the city, said in an article.

Zaragoza is a province in the autonomous region of Aragon in Spain and is the 35th most populous municipality in European Union.

“Riding high after the successful implementation of various high speed networks, Spain is currently focusing on establishing a good tram network,” the article went on to say.

In terms of the historical background, Zaragoza’s original tram system was started in the late 1800s, reaching its peak in the 1950s before falling into decline and being converted to bus lines. The last Zaragoza tram line disappeared in January 1976 and the operating company changed its name to Transportes Urbanos de Zaragoza (Urban Transport Company of Zaragoza).In 2009, a year after the city’s successful hosting of Expo 2008, a team of companies was contacted to build a new tramway in the city and the first phase of the system was built using standard technology.

The second phase of the tramway, which mainly runs through the old part of the city, now uses a Rapid Change Accumulator system, which accumulates the energy recovered during braking allowing the tram to run without an overhead power supply.

The Zaragoza project entailed an investment of nearly Euro 355.7 million (US$490 million), which was provided by a consortium of national banks and the European Investment Bank, Miguel and Pilar said.

“This way, the total investment was guaranteed,” they said.
The consortium of national bank that took part in the funding program also included aBBVA Funding (as the agent bank) and Instituto de Credito Oficial (ICO), La Caixa, BBVA, Ahorro corporacion, Santander Bank.

Hill has to its credit providing project and construction management services for several mega surface transportation projects globally and although Zaragoza is smaller in size – compared with the others – yet the company’s success in Spain will be remembered by many.

Zaragoza Tram project

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