Transport in San Marino

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San Marino is a small European republic, with limited public transport facilities.



For a few years prior to World War II, San Marino had a railway network consisting of a single line, connecting the country with the Italian rail network at Rimini. Due to difficulties in accessing the capital, San Marino City (which has a mountain-top location), the terminus station was to be located at the village of Valdragone. However with a joint effort between San Marino and Italy the railway was extended to reach the capital through a steep and winding track comprising many tunnels. The railway was opened on 12 June 1932.[1]

It was an advanced system for its time, being an electric railway, powered by overhead electric cables. The trains drew power from these cables by means of a pantograph system. The tracks were narrow gauge, which offered advantages in terms of costs and ease of construction given the geographical features of the route, but made the railway incompatible with the Italian network. The train carriages had a distinctive appearance, being liveried in the national colours of San Marino, blue and white layered horizontally; the service offered first class and third class seats. There were 17 tunnels, all located within Sammarinese territory, ranging from about 50 m to 800 m in length.

The railway was well built and well used, and in all probability would have been a long-term feature of Sammarinese public transport, but it was almost completely destroyed during the fighting in this region during World War II. Today there is no operational railway in San Marino, but many disused artifacts such as bridges, tunnels and stations are still well visible, and in some cases have been refurbished and converted to parks, public footpaths or traffic routes.

Most of the tunnels are well preserved today and three of them have been checked for safety, provided with lighting and opened for pedestrian use. Most of the others have either been closed for safety reasons or purchased privately for storage. Inside the last tunnel, about 500 m long, closest to the former San Marino station, some of the train coaches once used are still being preserved. Some of the bridges and other constructions used by the former railway have become well loved landmarks, especially the "Fontevecchia" bridge, set in a pleasant countryside location. Dogana's station is now the centre of a large public park. Other stations have either been converted to private homes or demolished.

Aerial Tramway

There is a 1.5 km aerial tramway connecting the city of San Marino on top of Monte Titano with Borgo Maggiore, a major town in the republic, with the second largest population of any Sammarinese settlement. Indeed, for the tourist visitor the aerial tramway gives the best available views of Borgo Maggiore, as the cars sweep low over the rooftops of the main town square. From here a further connection is available to the nation's largest settlement, Dogana, by means of local bus service.

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