Port Vell Aerial Tramway

Barcelona, Spain | C.1931

Photo Credit: Nicanor García

The Port Vell Aerial Tramway is an aerial tramway in Barcelona, Spain. It crosses Port Vell, Barcelona’s old harbor, connecting the Montjuïc hill with the seaside suburb of Barceloneta.

First opened in 1931, the Tramway was primarily used as a tourist attraction on account of its excellent views of the city and the port. It is operated by Teleféricos de Barcelona S.A. and is not part of Autoritat del Transport Metropolita integrated fare network.

The Tramway was intended to be an attraction at the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, a World’s fair. The towers were designed by architect Carles Buigas and the Tramway was built by Bleichert, a world-renowned company, which had just completed the Aeri de Montserrat. However, the size of the project was underestimated and the Tramway did not open until 12 September 1931.

Initially, the Tramway consisted of two sections with two cars each, traveling from the terminal stations to Torre Jaume I and back, with one haul rope for the total length to move all four cabins. Unfortunately, hopes for commercial success were thwarted by the Great Depression and the Spanish Civil War. During the war, Torre Jaume I was used as a look-out and a machine gun post, and the Tramway was heavily damaged, reduced to rusting towers.

In 1960, Torre Sebastie reopened with a new restaurant at its top, followed two years later by Torre Jaume I. In 1963, the Tramway reopened with only two cabins. Ownership had changed several times until authorities decided to close the Tramway altogether. But in 1996, Barcelona decided to redevelop Port Vell; the Tramway reopened in 2000, and still operates today as a tourist attraction.

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