The year was 1899 and Como got itself ready to celebrate the centenary of Voltaic pile’s invention with the participation of Italian and foreign firms. It was the International Electricity Exhibition and Helios, a firm from Cologne, decided to set in Como a short experimental tramway to promote the advantages in taking the tram.
Como’s tramway was launched on 1st January 1906 with the first stretch: S.Giovanni station-piazza Cavour-funicular and ended on 14th September 1952.
It was composed by five routes:
- S. Giovanni station-piazza Cavour-funicular, launched in January 1906.
- Piazza Cavour-San Rocco-Camerlata cemetery, launched in March 1906.
- Piazza Cavour-Villa Salazar-Ponte Chiasso, launched in June 1906.
- Piazza Cavour-San Martino, launched in July 1908.
- Piazza Cavour-viale Varese-San Rocco, launched before 1914.
The urban tramway was 13.9 km wide. There were also non-urban routes to connect the city with its suburbs or with other cities:
- Como-Cernobbio-Maslianico, launched between 1910 and 1911
- Como-Appiano Gentile-Mozzate, launched in 1910.
- Como-Cantù-Asnago, launched in 1909.
- Como-Erba-Lecco, launched in 1912 and finished in 1928 with the connection with Lecco.
The whole tramway worked by a power grid of 550 V and obviously this was possible thanks to Alessandro Volta’s studies and invention, the pile.
Starting from 1935 trams were replaced by trolleybuses, until 1952 when the whole service was abolished to make room, in the following year, to a busway.