Friday, 4 January 2013


While staying in Alicante, I took a day trip to Murcia, only an hour and a half on an old diesel train they painted in Cercanías colours... (there are also several long-distance and regional services linking the two cities).


Murcia started some years ago with a short trial line, which was then extended into a full-length tram line that links the northern districts to the city centre. The line has the feel of a typical new French tram system, including the Alstom Citadis trams purchased from the excessive Madrid fleet and now repainted in a light but strong green. Also the stops feature the same colour which makes them very visible on the streets. The tram runs every 10 minutes, which is high-frequency when compared to Alicante. The mostly single-track branch to UCAM-Jerónimos is served only every 20 minutes (it is partly prepared for a second track in case the area around the immediate stops gets developed, the road layout for which can already be distinguished). As I was there during holiday season, and the northern end of the western leg loops around the University campus, deserted during my visit, I cannot tell how busy the line gets with students on normal lecture days. The rest was fairly busy, especially on the eastern leg, as close to the northeastern terminus Estadio Nueva Condomina there is probably one of Southern Spain's largest shopping malls.


The problem with Murcia's tram line is that it doesn't really penetrate into the city centre, but its most central stop, Plaza Circular, is at the northern fringes of the central area and almost a 30-minute walk from the railway station which lies on the southern side.


Like in Alicante, there is no railfan-friendly ticket, instead individual tickets have to be purchased each time before boarding, either a 1,05 EUR zone 1 ticket for the stops closer to the centre, or 1.40 EUR for both zones. For trips only in the outer zone, also 1.40 EUR are payable! 14 trips are available at 10 EUR for more intensive exploration. It seems that there are no combined tickets for tram and buses!

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