Ever since 1912 the Sóller railway has been running a daily train service along the 27.3 km route between Palma de Mallorca and Sóller, without interruption. From 1913 it has also run the tram service along the 4.9 kilometres from Sóller and the Port of Sóller.
The railway is characterized, amongst other things, by the fact that it is narrow gauge, the track width being 914 mm (an English yard), which is infrequent nowadays; moreover its rolling stock is extremely varied and meticulously finished, and maintained using traditional methods.
The Sóller railway also stands out for the special, attractive route it runs along, overcoming the natural barrier of the Sierra de Alfàbia mountain range which is 2.8 km wide and 496 metres high. To do so, in just seven kilometres, the railway rises up 199 metres with an inclination of 23 millimetres, runs through thirteen longitudinal tunnels ranging in length from 33 to 2,876 metres, crosses over several bridges, the “cinc-ponts” viaduct which has five arches with spans 8 metres high and a great many bends, some with radii below 190 metres.
On 4th October of 1913 Mallorca’s first electric tram line was inaugurated, running between Sóller and the Port of Sóller.
Construction of the Sóller tram began after the inauguration of the Palma to Sóller railway line. The project for this line was designed and directed by Pedro Garau, and 4868 metres of track were laid. One outstanding feature of it is the iron bridge over the Torrent Major which was constructed by Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima.
Initially the tram had an electric power station located in the Sóller station. The station was fed by a 65 horsepower explosion engine which worked a Siemens-Schuckert dynamo, providing a continuous 600 volt current.
Although the Sóller tram was designed for the transport of passengers, it was also used to transport merchandise down to the port. Fresh fish was carried from the Port to Sóller in a small isothermal car and coal was taken to the former military submarine base in the Port of Sóller and the “El Gas” factory on trailers; mines and torpedoes were also transported from the Caubet magazine.
The three motor trams, numbered 1 to 3, and their trailers 5 and 6 are the originals, dating from 1912, ordered from Carde & Escoriaza in Zaragoza. The open ‘jardinera’ trailers were acquired from Palma trams in 1954.
The Sóller tramway also has five motor trams from Lisbon, numbered 20 to 24 and re-gauged to fit the 914 mm track gauge.