Line A (EuskoTran)
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|Line A - Bilbao's Tram|
|Opened||December 12, 2002|
|Rolling stock||CAF Urbos 1|
|Track gauge||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)|
|Operating speed||50 km/h (31 mph)|
The Line A of Euskotren Tranbia, also known simply as Bilbao's Tram is a tramway system in Bilbao, Spain which began operation in December 2002. It is one of the two light rail tram lines operated by Euskotren Tranbia in the Basque Country, the other one being Vitoria-Gasteiz's tram. The service is operated by Euskotren Tranbia, part of Eusko Trenbideak.
Bilbao's Tram, or Line A (map icon ), serves twelve stations, several of them with interchanges and connections with Metro Bilbao, EuskoTren and Cercanías Bilbao. The factor leading its creation was to improve Bilbao's railway network; the tram serves neighborhoods that do not have stations of Metro Bilbao or Cercanías. Also, the tramway's line goes through important touristic and cultural spots, like the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
The EuskoTran brand was born to improve the railway services in Bilbao, and to serve neighborhoods and areas unattended by Metro Bilbao or Cercanías Bilbao. It took 15 years of studies and research to contemplate the need of a tram or light rail subway in the city.
The construction of the first phase of the line started on May 1999. The first six stations were opened on December 18, 2002 by Juan José Ibarretxe, lehendakari of the Basque Country at the time. Between 2003 and 2004 four new stations are opened.
In 2008 a proposal for an expansion of the line, with three more stations, is presented. In 2010 the construction of two of the three stations (the last one being ultimately discarded) started.
The whole line has currently twelve stations. The tram stops have very low platforms, and in some stations regular sidewalks are used instead. With the exception of Bilbao-Atxuri Station, all stops and stations are un-staffed and have automated ticket machines for ticket sales. Once bought, the ticket must be validated on the validation machine located next to the ticket machine. The floor of the stations are virtually in level with the one of the trams, so this allows wheelchairs, prams, pushchairs and the elderly to board the tram easily with no steps.
All stations have the Sitran system incorporated. The Sitran system is conformed by screens located at visible parts in every station, each screen gives real-time information about upcoming arrivals and departures, as well as any other information about the tram the passenger may need. The Sitran screens show the expected arrival times for the two upcoming trams, as well as delays, possible problems or any other message the controllers want to display.
The network currently has only one line, called "Line A", starting in Bilbao-Atxuri Station and ending in Basurto Station, next to Basurto's Hospital. The first departure from Bilbao-Atxuri is at 6:00am and from Basurto at 6:33am  From then, and Monday to Friday, a new tram gets to each station every 10 minutes, less in rush hours and more early in the morning and late in the night. The last tramway departures at Bilbao-Atxuri at 11:05pm and from Basurto at 11:25pm.
The first part of the line, from Bilbao-Atxuri to Pio Baroja Station and again from Sabino Arana Station to Basurto Station, the railtracks go through the streets, on a special lane created for its use. From Pio Baroja to Euskalduna, the tram goes through grassed track.
Eusko Trenbideak projected the extension of Line A from current terminus station, Basurto, to Autonomía avenue and the neighborhood of Recalde, but after the Basque Government change in 2009 it was decided to modify the extension project. Then, in 2010 the construction of two more stations, one in Autonomía and the second one in La Casilla Square (replacing the one in Recelade) started.
The current terminus station of both EuskoTren and Euskotren Tranbia in Bilbao is Bilbao-Atxuri. In the future, it is planned for the station to only give service to the tramway network, which could then be extended using the already existent railtracks (currently being used by EuskoTren) until reaching the future San Antonio Station, located in the municipality of Etxebarri and where the tram line would be connected with the future Line 3 of Metro Bilbao.
With the planned urbanistic regeneration of the neighborhood of Zorotzaure, there are plans to create a new line connecting the existent one with the neighborhoods of Zorrotza and Zorrotzaure.
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