The history of tram on the Diagonal little or nothing has to envy the hilarious BBC series’Monty Python’s Flying Circus‘. For the script twists, the surreal situations, the trench changes, the hilarious accusations. Now the project has grown older and less funny, to say the least. It does not bring so many laughable moments, and that is so because it seems that there is already more concreteness. The work is out for tender in its first phase, from Glòries to Verdaguer (shortly after Passeig de Sant Joan), and the works should be when they fall. Once this section is finished, with three new stops, the idea is to continue to Francesc Macià and complete the almost four kilometers pending. It will put an end, if all this happens, to two decades of extravagance, much more political than technical. Although a small thread of hope will remain: the heated debate on the economic exploitation.

The public tender was closed in July but the process remains in evaluation phase of the candidates who have applied to any of the four lots that make up the project, in addition to the minor packages linked to the archaeological studies, the safety and the direction of the work, the quality control or the previous auscultations. The winners should be on the way because the will of the city council is, or was, to initiate the works in fall 2021, with what is little more than a week to try keep that promise. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. In fact, according to a municipal spokesperson, now “work is being done to carry out all the necessary procedures and to award the works and start them as soon as possible“Thus, the pickaxe is expected in 2022, and do not expect trains to run on this section, as planned, in the third quarter of 2023

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The trenches

That Felip Puig, a man of order and a first sword of the extinct Democratic Convergence of Catalonia has presided for five years the company that manages the Tram is a first nod to history. It would have made more sense in the first decade of this century, when Xavier Trias too vehemently embraced the project. It remains for posterity that plenary session in which the head of ranks of CiU attributed to his party the intellectual parenting of a railway connection that was part of his 2007 municipal program. The consultation of May 10, 2010 changed everything, and Trias went from defending the tram to brandishing the electric bus, because the other smelled of PSC and Jordi Hereu. Although the ‘presidents’ on duty did not see it the same: both Artur Mas What Carles Puigdemont The Quim Roast (all from the same side as Trias) left the matter in the hands of what the council decided. They washed their hands, come on.

No less bizarre is the role of Esquerra. Jordi Portabella, today an employee of FC Barcelona but long before an independence councilor for 16 years, was the ideologue of the 2010 consultation that took ahead more than 30 years of socialist governments in the city. He raised it in September 2008 in a plenary session and at bipartisan PSC-ICV He had no choice but to agree with the proposal in exchange for the ERC vote on the municipal action plan and the city ​​budgets. Master move finished off by Trias and the gallant option C (the one to do nothing on the Diagonal, that is, neither promenade with tram nor boulevard with tram) that would end up prevailing in the vote with almost the 80% of the votes. Often, by the way, it is said that that referendum it was unrepresentative. Well, option C obtained 137,474, about 23,000 votes less than those that gave the victory to ERC in the municipal 2019.

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No private benefits

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Esquerra torpedoed the tram in May 2010 with his query. But now it has become the Steed on which Ada Colau rides to finally connect the two lines. They have given their arm to twist in exchange for the economic exploitation “to be public and does not generate private benefits”, as ERC has always claimed, but everything indicates that, through a review of the contract between the Metropolitan Authority of Transport and the Concessionary company, in force until 2032, will be the same conglomerate of private companies (with a testimonial percentage in the hands of FGC and TMB) that will be in charge of managing the section Glòries-Francesc Macià.

At first tram that a Francesc Macià y Glòries Hereu, Trias, Portabella, Colau, Ernest Maragall and Felip Puig should be on board. Also the living components of the Monty Python, in order to give together a final chapter of this great railway circus.

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