The mayor of Vélez-Málaga has ordered a start to preparations for reopening the town’s public tramway to Torre del Mar.  However, because no firm agreement is in place with the regional government, the municipality has sought finance from elsewhere.

The tranvía system was closed six years ago by the town’s previous Partido Popular administration in the light of spiralling debts.  But when the socialist group at Vélez Town Hall took control after the last local elections, mayor Antonio Moreno Ferrer made it clear that getting the trams running again was one of his priorities.

According to reports last month, the mayor has ordered preparations to start ahead of awarding contracts for the work necessary before the line can reopen; this will include making the system fully operational again, including tracks, electrification, signalling and other services and facilities.  It is reported that it will take nine months before tenders can be invited.

The estimated total cost of reopening the tramway has now been put at more than €1.9 million, half a million more than originally planned, with over €1.4 million earmarked for repairing and preparing the infrastructure.  But after three years of negotiations with the regional government, no deal has been signed to guarantee the subsidy of 40 per cent running costs which the municipality was promised.

So Vélez Town Hall has turned to the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy programme which offers a number of lines of action including aid on mobility issues.  It is reported that the municipality will receive a grant for drafting the plan, staff costs and commissioning.

The 5.8 kilometre tramway between Vélez-Málaga and Torre del Mar represented a total investment of €33 million by the Junta de Andalucía, when it opened in October 2006, although the second 1.2 kilometre phase of the line never went into service.  The first phase covered 4.8 kilometres with nine stops.  It closed in June 2012, but, alongside present plans to reopen the existing line, are outline plans to extend the tranvía west along the cost to Rincón de la Victoria where it would connect to the future Line 3 of the Málaga Metro.