Rome, Italy Trams

From nycsubway.org


Roma-II tram 9223 at Piazza del Colosseo on line 3. Photo by Peter Ehrlich, October 2002.


Rome--the Eternal City--is home to a most interesting tramway system. Although greatly reduced from the far-flung system whose trams growled through Rome's historic streets and monuments, the five remaining routes and one new route opened in the 1990s, which are operated by the ATAC agency are heavily used and new trams have been introduced to the system. If you haven't visited Rome, it's well worth a visit even beyond all of the history, culture and beauty Italy's capital has to offer, to see and ride the trams.

Rome's ATAC system operates six tram routes, ranging from the very short Line 2, in the northern part of the city, to extremely long Line 19. All routes, except Line 8, which was built for double-end trams exclusively, can handle single-end cars. Although tram routes penetrate nearly all parts of the city, the preponderance of lines serve eastern Rome east of the Termini railway station.

Rome has an interesting and varied tram fleet. There are six tram types running on the streets of Rome. The oldest are the 1935-vintage 2000-series 4-axle cars. Five of these, re-bodied in the late 1970s, were still in service in 2002 (originally, there were about 135); considering the delivery of at least 45 "Roma-IIs" since the end of 2000, it was a surprise and a delight to see three of these still running! Alas, the remaining regular-service MRS cars, which included car 2001 (the first one), were retired in early 2003. There is also completely-restored tram 2137, which is used for charters and restaurant tram service. All 2000's have odd numbers only (even numbers were reserved for trailers). In keeping with their vintage, old-fashioned bow collectors are used. In addition to 2137, 2035 (school tram) and 2047 are available for charters. The last active regular MRS trams were 2001, 2165, 2181, 2235 and 2251.

The largest group of single-end trams are the 6-axle 7000s, built in two groups. Cars 7001-7099 (again, odd numbers only) were built by Stanga in 1949-50, while 7101-7115, very slightly longer, were built by Viberti in 1954. All of the 7000s sport electronic destination signs, and some have been rebuilt, and these have returned to the classic 2-tone green livery. Although most of the 7000s have modern-style bow collectors, a few have received single-arm pantographs. All 58 cars are still in active duty.

In 1956 Officine Meccaniche (Milano) built 20 4-axle PCC cars for Rome, numbered 8001-8039 (odd #s). Fewer than 10 of these were still in service in 2002. They have collectors like the 7000s. Two of the three Milan PCCs migrated to Rome in the 1970s, but have been retired. These two groups of cars were the only true Italian PCCs. As of November 2003, only 8013, 8015 and 8039 out of the original 20 PCCs remain in service as trippers on Line 14.

Rome's first new trams in nearly 35 years arrived in 1990. These were also the first double-end cars since at least World War II. Built by Socimi, six-axle, 70% low-floor cars 9001-9032 (all numbers used, as all trailers had long since been retired) were acquired for Rome's newest tramway line, Route 8 (Argentina-Casaletto). They were also the first cars delivered with pantographs. All are in service.

Two groups of new 8-axle streetcars built by Fiat came to Rome in 1998-99 and 2000-2002--"Roma-I"s 9101-9128, 70% low-floor, and the 100% low-floor, 9200-series "Roma-II"s. Deliveries numbered as high as 9245 have been spotted. One of the "Roma-I"s, 9102, has been scrapped following a spectacular runaway accident on the steep Casteletto end of Line 8 in early 2001; the remaining 27 9100s are available, as are all the 9200s.

Rome trams are stabled at Deposito Prenestina, along Via Prenestina about 500 meters east of Piazza Porta Maggiore, the major Roman tram-watching mecca served by four of the six lines.

Here's a description of Rome's lines, and the equipment each line uses. A major route renumbering took place about 5 years ago. (For reference, a Route Map has been drawn and contributed by Ivan Furlanis.)

Line 2 (Flaminio-Mancini). This line, in north Rome just east of the Tiber River, is very short, and serves a working-class district. Service is very frequent, with headways as little as 3 minutes in rush hours. 7000s are used at all times.

Line 3 (Thorwaldsen-Stazione Trastevere). This is a long and winding route which serves the trendy Trastevere district, the Colosseum, Porta Maggiore, the University district and the Fine Arts museums in northern Rome. For a route which passes many significant landmarks, service is quite infrequent but nevertheless sees a lot of bunching. Although there are loops on both ends, all service is by the 9000, 9100 and 9200-series double-end trams. In emergencies, 7000s can be used.

Line 5 (Termini-Gerani) and Line 14 (Termini-Togliatti). These are the two medium-length East Rome lines beginning at the Termini main railway station and serving Via Prenestina. Service is very frequent (12 minutes or less) along Via Prenestina, and is augmented with Line 19 trolleys. Both lines use primarily 7000s, but 2000s, PCCs, and double-end cars appear as trippers. In 2003, Roma-IIs were also in service on Line 14.

Line 8 (Argentina-Casaletto). Rome's newest tramway route opened in 1990, and is the only one requiring double-end trams. Line 8 is also the only route that penetrates the historic "Centro Storico" where such popular attractions as the Fontana di Trevi, the old Jewish ghetto, and other famous Roman landmarks are located, with the Argentina terminal within walking distance. Line 8 uses Roma-I and Roma-IIs only.

Line 19 (Risorgimento-Gerani). This is Rome's longest tram route. It serves Vatican City, the Fine Arts museums, the University district, and Via Prenestina. However, daytime headways, like on Line 3, are generally poor (every 15-20 minutes). 7000s, 9000s and an occasional 9100 see service on Line 19, with 9200s making Sunday appearances.

Fares on the Roma tramways are very inexpensive; only EUR 1.00 for a 75-minute ticket, valid on buses, trams and the 2-route Metropolitana system. For EUR 4.00, a one-day "BIG" ticket can be purchased, as well as a EUR 16.00 weekly pass; these are good for unlimited travel from the time of first validation. Many outlets and all Metropolitana stations sell tickets, and there are some ticket vending machines scattered around town. Validation machines are on all trams and buses and the subway turnstiles.

2008 Update. By 2008, the PCCs were no longer in service. Line 2 now uses 9000s. Line 3 uses 9000s and is temporarily "bustituted" from Porta Maggiore to Stazione Trastevere due to construction along Via Emanuele Filiberto. Line 8 uses the "detour" tracks along Via Emanuele Filiberto going in the other direction to Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II and then follows lines 5 and 14 to Porta Maggiore on its deadhead runs to and from the depot along Via Prenestina. Lines 5 and 14 use 7000s, 7100s, and 9000s, with occasional 9100 or 9200. Line 19 is a mix of 7000s, 7100s, and 9000s, with the occasional 9100 or 9200. Line 8 is still all 9100 and 9200. Starting in April 2008, one 9100 series tram (9125) had been partially repainted into the newer silver scheme that ATAC has on its buses. Further vehicles will be repainted thru 2008. ATAC has also repainted some of its older Iveco buses, that had been red and orange, into this scheme.

Route Map


Photo Gallery

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Photo by: Theo Neutelings
Location: Piazza dei Risorgimento

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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
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Location: Largo Argentina

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Location: Porta Maggiore

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Page Credits

By Peter Ehrlich.

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