A special Milano – Limbiate train with Reggio Emilia 85 and Costamasnaga trailer 177 is waiting for an incoming Bloccato at Cascina Amata passing loop on May 28th 2000. Photo © Alessio Pedretti.
|The system at a glance|
|Company||Azienda Trasporti Municipali (ATM)|
|System||Two separated tramway lines|
|Opening of the first horse line||July 8th 1876, Milano – Monza|
|Opening of the first steam line||June 6th or 8th 1878, Milano – Vaprio|
|Opening of the first electric line||September 7th 1900, Milano – Affori|
|Last significant abandonment||April 1999: Milano via Valtellina – Milano Affori, Milano via Valtellina – Milano Niguarda, Cusano – Milanino.|
|Last significant extension||1920: Limbiate – Limbiate Ospedale|
|Cars in regular service||92 (2001)|
These two separated lines are the remnants of a very large network of steam and electric interurban tramways that once spread over Lombardy including a lots of different systems: at a same point it was possible to travel by tram from Ostiglia, a small town on the banks of river Po about halfway between Verona and Bologna, to Riva San Vitale on the shores of Lago di Lugano in Switzerland, 190 km in a bee-line!
|A remnant of the interurban Milano – Gallarate (STIE): a buffer in corso Sempione. Photo © Alessio Pedretti.|
|An abandoned passing loop in via Imbonati (Milano – Limbiate line) on November 9th 2002. The overhead was removed: now poles are used to support the electric feeder that joins the urban and the interurban systems. Photo © Alessio Pedretti.|
Until 1999 both lines were linked with the urban tramway system, but since April 12th 1999 the urban sections from via Valtellina terminal to Affori (via Vincenzo da Seregno, Limbiate line) and to Niguarda (via Ornato, Desio line) were closed; the cut of the Limbiate urban leg was caused by metro M3 works in piazza Maciachini, while the Desio leg had to be upgraded to light rail standard in order to transform it into the new Metrotramvia Nord. Six days later the tramway service on Cusano – Milanino branch of the Desio was discontinued but today (November 2003) its tracks and overhead are still in place. The terminal in via Valtellina was abandoned and a year later the points leading to it were removed. On September 11th 2000 the Desio was limited further on to Niguarda Dazio.
|Train 537 + 504 + 538 is leaving Desio Deposito terminal heading to Milano on October 7th 2001.|
In November 2003 the Desio interurban was physically linked with the under construction Metrotramvia Nord and consequentially with the urban network. On 22th the overhead wasn't placed on the junction yet, but now probably this has already done, allowing interurbans cars to come back to Officine Generali Teodosio.
Click on the name of the line to go to its page.
|Milano interurban tramways on September 11th 2000|
|178||Desio||(Milano Parco Nord since December 8th 2003) – Milano Niguarda Dazio – Bresso – Cusano – Paderno Dugnano – Nova Milanese – Desio – Desio Deposito||–|
|179||Limbiate||Milano Affori – Cormano – Cascina Amata – Varedo – Limbiate – Limbiate Ospedale (Mombello)||–|
Route numbers appear only on maps. Trams show the destination and a coloured table indicates the line: white with a red cross for Milano – Limbiate; vertical red and yellow strips for Milano – Desio.
These tramways are single-track lines, running mostly on a side of streets but in private right of way. There are two depots: Desio for homonymous route and Varedo for Milano – Limbiate. Until 1999, interurban trams were hosted in the Deposito Messina, too. As the two lines are separated from the urban network, cars that eventually need to go to the workshop must be carried by road trailers.
After having risked the total closure in 1999, the future of this system is now positive, as there is a project to transform Desio route in a double track light rail to Paderno Dugnano and to built a new single track section from Desio to Seregno. On December 8th the Desio is being extended some hundred of metres into Milano to the new terminal Parco Nord, norther terminus of Metrotramvia Nord served by routes 4 and 5. About Milano – Limbiate, the urban section piazza Maciachini – Affori is now definitively abandoned, but there is a project to connect it to Milano – Desio and Metrotramvia Nord in Niguarda near the Ospedale Maggiore. The Milanino is destined to become a branch of Metrotramvia Nord.
Click on the type to go to its page.
|Milano interurban trams on October 2003|
|Type||Classification||Axles||Present (original) amount||Year||Mechanic||Electric equipment||Notes|
|Motor cars||Desio||44-49||4||5 (6)||1926||Carminati e Toselli||CGE||1|
|Reggio Emilia||85-92||4||5 (8)||1928||Reggiane||TIBB||2|
|OM||93-96||4||3 (4)||1930||OM||TIBB||3, set aside|
|Costamasnaga||101-105||4||1 (5)||1927-28||Costamasnaga||TIBB||4, set aside|
|Breda||110-115||4||1 (6)||1935||Breda||TIBB||5, set aside|
|OEFT||116-123||4||1 (8)||1937||Tallero||TIBB||6, set aside|
|OMS||124-128||4||2 (5)||1942||Stanga||CGE||7, set aside|
|EMUs||Bloccato 500||Motor cars: 501-512||4||12||1961-64||Tallero||TIBB||8|
|Bloccato 800||Motor cars: 801-810||4||4 (10)||1964||Stanga||TIBB||10|
|Trailers: 831-850||4||8 (20)||1964||Stanga, Tallero||–||11|
|Costamasnaga||180-197, 240-269||4||9 (38)||1924-28||Costamasnaga||–||13|
|"Porte al centro"||180-197, 212-226, 240-279||4||9 (55)||1963-65||Various||–||14|
|OEFT||307-310||4||2 (4)||1935||Breda||–||15, set aside|
|Services cars||–||series 3100||2 and 4||?||Various||Various||–||16|
A number of old Milano interurban cars are preserved in various locations:
Probably there are other interurban preserved cars. If you have some other entry, you can email me.
© 2003 Ivan Furlanis
Last changes: December 2003