Sunday, 8 September 2013

Centovalli













 
Back in May 1987 I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours in Locarno, which back then had the big attraction of street running along the lake. I'd come over on the spectacular Centovalli Railway from Domodosolla in Italy, the line is international, about half in Switzerland and half in Italian, though the whole area is Italian speaking.
 
Italian Switzerland is very laid back and quite unlike the German speaking section, it also tends to have a more Mediterranean climate, so May in Locarno is very pleasant - usually!
 
The Centovalli always accessed Locarno over the remaining section of the Locarno Tramway system, the rest of this urban network closing in 1933. About a mile of the line was street-running, followed by a very attractive roadside section. I took some very nice photos!
 
Unfortunately all this has now gone, not because the line has closed of course, but because this section has been put into tunnel. To me that's a shame - the tunnel will add a lot of costs to running the line and what's better than a line that penetrates the heart of a city in the most visible way? This is one of the few things I don't like about Switzerland - the caving in to car drivers which is really what this was all about. The line is more expensive to run, less attractive and less visible than it was, hardly progress! Perhaps as Peak Oil hits the roads will empty, the tunnel expense will become too much and Locarno may reopen the old lakeside route and perhaps the whole Locarno tram system as well!

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