|Basque Country . Spain|
about 1 million inhabitants, Bilbao (Bilbo in Basque) is the largest
metropolitan area in the Basque Country (Northern Spain) (including
towns like Portugalete, Sestao, Algorta, Barakaldo). The metropolitan
area spreads out along both sides of the river Nervión, suggesting
a 'Y' form metro system.
The first line starts on an elevated structure at Bolueta (on top of EuskoTren's station), then immediately enters the tunnel through the city centre crossing the river Nervión twice in a tunnel (between Casco Viejo and Abando and between San Mamés and Deusto) and arrives at San Inazio (a three-track station - two separate tracks with a central platform for inbound line 1 and line 2 trains). After this station Line 1 comes up to the surface and runs along the former suburban line through industrial zones (serving Erandio in a tunnel station). In Areeta (Las Arenas) the line goes underground again for 1 km and after that it runs mainly on an elevated structure through the nice residential area of Getxo (Algorta also in tunnel) to Bidezabal. After that the environment gets really rural and typically Basque with cows grazing on meadows next to the train. Eventually from Urduliz onwards, the line is single track and runs down to Plentzia by the sea through nice woodlands.
Construction work for Line 2 began in 1997. This line shares tracks with Line 1 between Basauri and San Inazio. The first new 5.8 km stretch from San Inazio to Urbinaga opened on 13 April 2002. This line is almost totally underground. At Urbinaga, the only section on an elevated structure due to geographical reasons in the Galindo Valley, a transfer station to Renfe's Santurtzi and Muskiz service is planned.
Trains for the Bilbao Metro were made by CAF (a company situated in the Basque Country itself, which also produces metro trains for Barcelona and Madrid), and are equipped with air conditioning, acoustic and visual station announcement. Cars are of the modern walk-through type. Although narrow gauge (1000 mm) is used, trains are still 2.8 m wide.
were designed by Norman Foster and are identical between Santutxu
and Deusto, and on Line 2 (except Ansio and Urbinaga).
Sarriko and San Inazio have a similar design, instead
of a round cave they boats a large square hall. All stations are fully
accessible with elevators, and escalators usually are also installed
between vestibule and street level but not down to the platforms (which
can be a bit annoying at Abando (Railway Station) where the lift
doesn't take you directly to the railway station complex!
From November 2011, Line 1 runs from Plentzia to Etxebarri (29.5 km), and Line 2 from Santurtzi to Basauri (21.9 km). Total length of the network is 42.3 km with 40 stations.
Nov. 1995 - Casco Viejo - Plentzia (26.4 km)
Line 2 will reach Kabiezes in 2013/14. San Inazio - Kabiezes will be 12.6 km long and run parallel to the existing Renfe Bilbao-Santurtzi line. Whereas the Renfe line follows the river very closely (and therefore stations are sometimes too far from urban centres), the metro line will run further uphill and reduce walking distance to the stations.
A new station is being added on line 1 between Bidezabal and Berango, called Ibarbengoa, in conjunction with the elimination of a level crossing.
Line 3 is under construction between San Antonio de Etxebarri and Matiko - 5.9 km with six stations: San Antonio, Otxarkoaga, Txurdinaga, Zurbaranbarri, Casco Viejo (L1/L2), Uribarri and Matiko). The section between Casco Viejo and Matiko was taken over from the former EuskoTren line (Casco Viejo - Deustu closed 10-05-2010), and is being rebuilt. At Matiko, it will provide interchange with EuskoTren's Airport Line which is currently being upgraded. More Info
metrobilbao (Official Page)
Renfe Cercanías (Suburban Rail)
EuskoTren (Basque Railways)
creditrans - cashcard valid on metro and buses
Foster and Partners (the architect's site includes more photographs)
Bilbao Metro at wikipedia
Die Metro von Bilbao bei wikipedia.de
Bilbao Tram on UrbanRail.Net
Robert: METROS IN SPAIN. The Underground Railways
of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao.
Metro Bilbao - Ingeniería y arquitectura - Ingeniaritzako eta arkitekturak. - Imebisa, 1998. 153 pages, many photographs, text in Spanish and Basque (English version available). ISBN 84-923479-0-2
|Other rail transport in the Bilbao Metropolitan Area|
Renfe (Spanish National Railways) operates three suburban lines from the centre of Bilbao. Until March 4, 1999 the Muskiz and Santurtzi lines terminated at La Naja which is quite close to Abando, Bilbao's Central Station, but no through service was possible. Therefore a former connecting line between Olabeaga and Abando has been rebuilt to connect the two northern lines (Muskiz and Santurtzi lines) to the southern line to Orduña thus creating also a new multifunctional transfer station at San Mamés (Metro and TermiBus), a joint station with Feve at Ametzola and two new intermediate stations at Autonomía and Zabalburu. Around Autonomía and Ametzola the old line was covered to create new avenues. As Abando is a terminus station, passengers have to change trains here to continue.
Once this new line is in operation the current connection between Olabeaga to La Naja via Parke-Guggenheim along the river Nervión can be dismantled to finish the new development area Abandoibarra between the Guggenheim Museum and the new Euskalduna Congress and Concert Hall. Instead a tram line from San Mamés via Abandoibarra along the river to the city centre at Arriaga Theatre and further on to Atxuri (EuskoTren Station) was built.
On 25 January 2005, La Peña station was added on line C-3 to Ollargan, followed by the 50m deep station Miribilla on 18 Dec 2008.
The Renfe Cercanías service is especially busy on the Santurtzi line (trains every 10 minutes) and less on the Orduña line (10 min peak; 15-20 min at other times).EuskoTren
The Basque Railways operate two lines in the Bilbao area. After the remaining stretch of the former Plentzia line between (San Ignacio -) Deustu and Casco Viejo (double track and partly in tunnels) was closed on 10 May 2010 to be rebuilt for the future metro line 3, Euskotren's line 4 now only runs from Casco Viejo/Zazpi Kaleak to Lezama.
The second line starts at Atxuri and runs via a new transfer station with Metro at Bolueta out to Lemoa (15-minutes interval) where the line splits into a branch to Gernika / Bermeo and another one to Durango / Eibar (both branches served every 30 minutes).FEVE
FEVE (Ferrocarriles de Vía Estrecha - Narrow Gauge Railways) operates and reopens some narrow gauge lines along the Spanish northern coast (for example Bilbao - Santander - Oviedo). One branch is operated as a suburban service from Bilbao to Balmaseda with a 30-minutes headway with 4 stations in the built-up metropolitan area of Bilbao (Bilbao station which is situated close to Abando, Ametzola, Basurto and Zorrotza).Puente de Vizcaya - Bizkaia Zubia: El Puente Colgante (The 'Hanging' Bridge)
Another very special means of transport in the Greater Bilbao area is the Transporter Bridge between Portugalete and Areeta (Las Arenas). It's over 100 years old and transports people and cars across the river Nervión every few minutes.Funicular de Artxanda
From Plaza del Funicular, near the new pedestrian bridge Zubizuri (White Bridge), this funicular takes you up the mountain of Artxanda from where you'll have a tremendous view over Bilbao and surroundings.
Thanks to Philip Spangenberg and Wieger van der Slikke!
2004 © UrbanRail.Net by Robert Schwandl.