Trolleybuses of Roma–Condesa

Last updated
One of the buses painted by artist Fumiko Nakashima entitled Doble Vida. TrolleybusFumiko51.JPG
One of the buses painted by artist Fumiko Nakashima entitled Doble Vida.

The trolleybuses of Roma Condesa are permanently parked trolleybuses in the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods of Mexico City that were used for art and other projects. Most were Japanese buses that were donated to Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos by the Kansai Electric Power Company in Japan in 1994, for possible operation, which never came to fruition, and in 2000 they were repurposed by Cuauhtémoc borough in a programme to create educational centers. However, the Trolebuses Educativos programme lasted only a few months. Some of the trolleybuses remained in use as simple reading rooms, but others sat abandoned until 2005, when the “Galería Trolebús” (Trolleybus Gallery) was begun to promote non-traditional art projects. The gallery ceased operations in 2009 due to financial problems, but the buses continued to be used for art projects until about 2014. Two other trolleybuses involved were not Japanese vehicles.



The three Japanese trolleybuses were part of a group of nine that were donated to Mexico's Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos in the mid-1990s, for possible use in service on the city's trolleybus system, and were transported to Mexico City between 1994 [1] and 1997, but ultimately were never placed in service. [2] The trolleybuses were built between 1964 and 1968 by Mitsubishi as Models 100 and 200 for the Kansai Denryoku company and operated on the Kanden Tunnel Trolleybus line. The two models are distinguished by the number of doors: one and two, respectively. [3] All of the trolleybuses have doors only on their left sides (except for a small emergency exit door near the rear), because Japan is a country where traffic drives on the left, which made their configuration impractical for operation in Mexico City. In late 1994, STE rebuilt the first unit, No. 117, for right-hand traffic [4] – with doors on the right and steering wheel on the left – but judged the conversion to be too expensive. [5] No other vehicles were converted, and none of the nine ever entered service. [2]

One of the trolleybuses when it was still painted for the "Trolebuses Educativos" programme, in 2011. This is the bus's right side, and the trolley poles have been swung around to point towards the front end. Ex-Japanese trolleybus marked for the Trolebuses Educativos program in Mexico City (2011).jpg
One of the trolleybuses when it was still painted for the "Trolebuses Educativos" programme, in 2011. This is the bus's right side, and the trolley poles have been swung around to point towards the front end.

In spring 2000, all were donated to Cuauhtémoc borough for use as children's educational centers and reading rooms placed near libraries, in a programme known as the “Trolebuses Educativos” programme. [5] [6] That programme ended after only three months, at the end of August 2000, and some of the trolleybuses were moved to storage, while others remained on the street, disused. [6] (One, No. 118, returned to STE, but no longer operational.) [2] Some were returned to use later as children's reading rooms, [7] but others sat abandoned in various parts of Mexico City, mainly still in the Cuauhtémoc borough. [8] In 2012, there were three that remained in use for art projects, one permanently parked in Colonia Hipódromo by Parque España, one in Colonia Roma next to Plaza Luis Cabrera and one next to Parque México in Colonia Condesa. [3] When serving the Kanden Tunnel Trolleybus line, the buses travelled through a tunnel between Ogizawa and Kurobe Dam in the Toyama Prefecture, and the one now at Parque España has references to this history on the sign on its windshield. [3] The Kanden Tunnel bus line still operates, but battery-powered buses replaced the trolleybuses in 2018–19.

The vehicles were donated to Cuauhtémoc in 2000. Initially they sat abandoned until the Galería Trolebús project. [8]

Galería Trolebús

From 2000 and 2005, the three buses sat abandoned until Ariadna Ramonetti discovered them and worked to create the Galería Trolebús (Trolleybus Gallery) in cooperation with the Cuauhtémoc borough to promote non-traditional art projects. [8] [9] Artists who worked with the vehicles from 2005–09 included Karen Cordero, Ana Elena Mallet, Santiago Espinoza de los Monteros and Antonio Calera. [9] Some of the art projects included light and sound. [8]

In 2006, Montiel Klint inhabited the trolleybus at the north end of Plaza Luis Cabrera in Colonia Roma, blocked from view for two months with only eight photographs on the outside of the bus for visitors to see. The interior of the bus was covered with about 5,000 paper cups to isolate it from the outside. The work was called the Galeria Experimental de Arte (Experimental Gallery of Art). [10] “Suspended Black” by Víctor Noxpango had one of the trolleybuses elevated on six hydraulic jacks and painted completely black. [11] After artist Israel Meza Moreno created a work called Nido de Malvivientes in 2007 with one of the trolleybuses, the Fundación Jumex commissioned a similar work, which was bought by a private collector and later acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.[ citation needed ] The work consisted of covering the interior of the trolleybus with cardboard pieces on which phrases from young thieves whom the artists had interviewed were written. The windows were covered with newspaper front pages with violent headlines. [9] Alvaro Verduzco's work was called “Túnel” (Tunnel) in 2009, which used a cone made of cardboard with the bus to create the illusion of infinity. [12]

The gallery ceased operations due to financial difficulties. The various projects that took place during that time drew both praise and criticism from the residents of the various neighborhoods. The art projects were best received in Colonia Roma and least in Colonia Condesa. [9]


Japanese trolleybus at the north end of Plaza Luis Cabrera, in Colonia Roma, in 2012 JapaneseTrolleybusRoma05.JPG
Japanese trolleybus at the north end of Plaza Luis Cabrera, in Colonia Roma, in 2012

After 2009, the three trolleybuses remained in their respective locations for some time. The borough government still allowed artists, community members and even advertisers to paint the buses periodically, painting over whatever was there previously. In February 2012, the trolleybus in Colonia Hipódromo was painted by Japanese artist Fumiko Nakashima with her work given the title of “Doble Vida” or “Double Life.” [3] The work was to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, along with a ceremony on March 11, 2012. [13] The work was part of a public art program called Haru ga kita (Spring comes) en México under this artist along with musician Emiliano Isamu. It was sponsored by the Garros Galería in Mexico City, the Fundación Japón México and the Cuauhtémoc borough. [3] [14]

The TATSA-rebodied Marmon-Herrington trolleybus (former STE No. 5122), one of only two non-Japanese trolleybuses painted as public art, in 2012. It was at the south end of Plaza Luis Cabrera, but was removed in 2014. JapaneseTrolleybusRoma07.JPG
The TATSA-rebodied Marmon-Herrington trolleybus (former STE No. 5122), one of only two non-Japanese trolleybuses painted as public art, in 2012. It was at the south end of Plaza Luis Cabrera, but was removed in 2014.

Two trolleybuses that were used as canvasses for public art in Colonia Hipódromo (in Condesa) or Colonia Roma were not former Japanese vehicles. One is a MASA trolleybus built for STE in the 1980s. It was parked as an art installation in the southern part of Parque México until early 2009, then moved east to Calle Toluca behind the Jardín Ramón López Velarde, where it remained until 2014. The other vehicle, formerly STE No. 5122, is an American-built Marmon-Herrington trolleybus whose chassis was built in 1948 but which was retrofitted with a new, modern body – with a slanted front end shape – in 1993 by a company named TATSA (Tanques de Acero Trinity S.A.). [4] In 1997, it was converted to compressed natural gas [15] and its trolley poles removed, but by 2001 it was no longer in STE's fleet. [7] By late 2004, it was in use as a children's reading room in Cuauhtémoc. [7] Later, between 2010/2011 and 2014, it was parked at the south end of Plaza Luis Cabera and used as an artistic canvas, wearing a few different artistic designs during that period.

See also

Related Research Articles

Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City one of 16 boroughs of Mexico City

Cuauhtémoc, named after the former Aztec leader, is one of the 16 boroughs of Mexico City. It consists of the oldest parts of the city, extending over what was the entire city in the 1920s. This area is the historic and cultural center of the city, although it is not the geographical center. While it ranks only sixth in population, it generates about a third of the entire city's GDP, mostly through commerce and services. It is home to the Mexican Stock Exchange, the important tourist attractions of the historic center and Zona Rosa, and various skyscrapers such as the Torre Mayor and the Mexican headquarters of HSBC. It also contains numerous museums, libraries, government offices, markets and other commercial centers which can bring in as many as 5 million people each day to work, shop or visit cultural sites. This area has had problems with urban decay, especially in the historic center. Efforts to revitalize the historic center and some other areas have been ongoing since the 1990s, by both government and private entities. Such efforts have resulted in better public parks, such as the Alameda Central, which was renovated; the modification of streets such as 16 de Septiembre and Madero that have become exclusive for pedestrians.

Chapultepec metro station Mexico City metro station

Chapultepec is a station on the Mexico City Metro. It is located in the Cuauhtémoc borough in the centre of Mexico City. In 2019, the station had an average ridership of 57,873 passengers per day, making it the 14th busiest station in the network.

Parque México

The Parque México, officially Parque San Martín, is a large urban park located in Colonia Hipódromo in the Condesa area of Mexico City. It is recognized by its Art Deco architecture and decor as well as being one of the larger green areas in the city. In 1927, when the surrounding neighborhood of Colonia Hipódromo was being built, the park was developed on the former site of the horse race track of the Jockey Club de México. Today, Parque México is not only the center of Colonia Hipódromo, it is also the cultural center of the entire La Condesa section of the city.

Colonia Roma Neighborhood of Mexico City in Cuauhtémoc

Colonia Roma, also called La Roma or simply, Roma, is a district located in the Cuauhtémoc borough of Mexico City just west of the city's historic center, and in fact is no longer a single colonia (neighbourhood) but now two officially defined ones, Roma Norte and Roma Sur, divided by Coahuila street.

Velódromo metro station Mexico City metro station

Velódromo is a metro station located on Line 9 of the Mexico City Metro. It is named after the nearby Agustín Melgar Olympic Velodrome, or bicycle-racing venue, built for the 1968 Summer Olympics that were held in Mexico City.

Kanden Tunnel Electric Bus

The Kanden Tunnel Electric Bus is a Japanese electric bus line between Ōgizawa Station, Ōmachi and Kurobe Dam Station, Tateyama. The line does not have any official name. The 6.1-km line runs in a tunnel for 5.4 km, the approximately 700-metre above-ground section consisting of around 300 metres of open roadway at and near Ōgizawa station and 400 metres covered by a snow shelter on the approach to the tunnel. Opened in 1964 as a trolleybus line, it was one of the last two trolleybus lines that existed in Japan. The line is a part of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, together with another trolleybus line, the Tateyama Tunnel Trolleybus. The line closed in November 2018 for renewal, and all of the trolleybuses have been replaced by the new battery-electric buses. All of the overhead wiring was removed and new charging pads were installed at the Ōgizawa terminal.

Tateyama Tunnel Trolleybus

The Tateyama Tunnel Trolleybus, officially the Trolleybus Line, is a Japanese trolleybus line in Tateyama, Toyama, operated by the Tateyama Kurobe Kankō Company. The line is entirely underground, including both termini. It is the last remaining trolleybus line in Japan with the conversion of the Kanden Tunnel Trolleybus line to battery operation in November 2018. It is also the last remaining right-hand drive trolleybus line in the world. The line is a part of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The line originally opened as a normal (diesel) bus line in April 1971, but was later re-equipped for trolleybuses. The trolleybus line opened on 23 April 1996.

Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos

Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos del Distrito Federal (STE) is a public transport agency responsible for the operation of all trolleybus and light rail services in Mexico City. As its name implies, its routes use only electrically powered vehicles. It was created on 31 December 1946 and is owned by the Mexican Federal District government. STE is overseen by a broader Federal District authority, Secretaría de Transportes y Vialidad, which also regulates the city's other public transport authorities, including Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, Red de Transporte de Pasajeros del Distrito Federal and Metrobús, as well as other forms of transportation in the district. STE's passenger vehicle fleet consists exclusively of trolleybuses and light rail vehicles, and in 2007 its network carried 88 million passengers, of which 67 million were on trolleybus services and 21 million on light rail.

Mexicana de Autobuses, S.A., or MASA, was a major bus and coach manufacturer located in Mexico. Formed in 1959, it was owned by the Mexican government until being privatized in 1988. It was the country's second-largest bus manufacturer when it was acquired by Volvo, in 1998, and renamed Volvo Buses de México, S.A.

Trolleybuses in Mexico City Transit system in Mexico City

The Mexico City trolleybus system serves Mexico City, the capital city of Mexico, and is operated by Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos.

Condesa Neighborhood of Mexico City in Cuauhtémoc

Condesa or La Condesa is an area in the Cuauhtémoc Borough of Mexico City, south of the Zona Rosa and 4 to 5 km west of the Zócalo, the city's main square. It is immediately west of Colonia Roma, together with which it is designated as a "Barrio Mágico Turístico". Together they are often referred to as Condesa–Roma, one of the most architecturally significant and bastion of the creative communities of the city.

Parque España

Parque España is a park in the Colonia Hipódromo (neighborhood) of the Condesa district, in the Cuauhtémoc borough, in west-central Mexico City.

Trolleybuses in Naples

Trolleybuses in Naples provide a portion of the public transport service in the city and comune of Naples, in the region of Campania, southern Italy. Two independent trolleybus systems are in operation, both publicly owned. That of Azienda Napoletana Mobilità (ANM) opened in 1940, whereas the smaller trolleybus network of Compagnia Trasporti Pubblici di Napoli (CTP) opened in 1964. As of 2017, the ANM system has five routes – two of which are temporarily suspended – and the CTP has one. Worldwide, Naples is one of only two metropolitan areas possessing two independent trolleybus systems as of 2011, the other being São Paulo, Brazil.

Trolleybuses in Guadalajara

The Guadalajara trolleybus system serves Guadalajara, the capital city of the state of Jalisco in Mexico.

Fumiko Nakashimais a Japanese artist who lives in Mexico、 She began exhibiting works in various galleries in Japan but has since settled in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. Her interest in Mexico came when she was seventeen, visiting the country two times to study culture and language before moving permanently in 2010. She has exhibited works in Mexico City, which include the painting of an old trolleybus in the Colonia Hipódromo neighborhood and organizing an event called Pray for Japan in response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami

José Luis Cuevas (architect)

José Luis Cuevas Pietrasanta (1881–1952) was a Mexican architect who planned the Mexico City subdivisions:

Amsterdam Avenue (Mexico City)

Avenida Ámsterdam is located in Colonia Hipódromo in the area known as "la Condesa" in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico City. The avenue is elliptical and edges Parque Mexico, including a central pedestrian area and roundabouts named for the main peaks of Mexico: Popocatepetl, Iztaccihuatl and Citlaltépetl.

Ernesto Buenrostro

Ernesto Angel Ignacio Buenrostro y Buenrostro was an architect of various Art Deco style residential buildings in the Hipódromo neighborhood of the Condesa area of Mexico City.

History of Colonia Roma

This article covers the history of the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City.

Churrería El Moro

Churrería El Moro is a restaurant serving churros and hot chocolate in Mexico City. The original 1935 location is on Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas near the Metro San Juan de Letrán in the Historic center of Mexico City. Since 2014 the grandchildren of the original owner have opened branches in Palacio de Hierro department store food halls, in the Mercado Roma food hall, on Parque México in Condesa, on Avenida Álvaro Obregón in Colonia Roma, and in Colonia Cuauhtémoc along Río Lerma street, a restaurant row.


  1. Trolleybus Magazine (TM) No. 199 (January–February 1995), pp. 21 and 23. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN   0266-7452.
  2. 1 2 3 Trolleybus Magazine No. 317 (September–October 2014), p. 134. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN   0266-7452.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Nava Polina, Joel (March 2012). "Haru ga kita en México. La primavera está llegando al trolebús "Doble Vida"". Tabi Tabi (in Spanish). Mexico City: Toyo Marketing, SA de CV. 3 (80): 56–57.
  4. 1 2 Trolleybus Magazine No. 202 (July–August 1995), pp. 106–107. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN   0266-7452.
  5. 1 2 Trolleybus Magazine No. 233 (September–October 2000), p. 118. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN   0266-7452.
  6. 1 2 Trolleybus Magazine No. 235 (January–February 2001), p. 14. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN   0266-7452.
  7. 1 2 3 Trolleybus Magazine No. 264 (November–December 2005), pp. 137–138. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN   0266-7452.
  8. 1 2 3 4 "Artista sonoro "dialoga" con la Galería del Trolebús". Notimex (in Spanish). Mexico City. February 11, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Sonia Ávila (April 28, 2012). "Revisan la creación desde las banquetas". Excélsior (in Spanish). Mexico City. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  10. Riveroll, Julieta (February 15, 2006). "Aislan la soledad en trolebus". Reforma (in Spanish). Mexico City. p. 12.
  11. "Albergará Trolebús/Galería la intervención-video "Suspended Black"". Notimex (in Spanish). Mexico City. January 28, 2008.
  12. "Presenta Alvaro Verduzco su proyecto "Túnel" en el Trolebús Galería". Notimex (in Spanish). Mexico City. August 5, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  13. Nava Polina, Joel (April 2012). "Arte public que conmemora un 'nuevo tipo' de paz. Tributo en memoria de quienes perdieron su vida". Tabi Tabi (in Spanish). Mexico City: Toyo Marketing, SA de CV. 4 (81): 58–59.
  14. Ota Minao (March 8, 2012). "私の故郷、ブラシに含浸気持ち。" [My hometown, paintbrush impregnated with feelings]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). p. 12.
  15. Trolleybus Magazine No. 220 (July–August 1998), p. 93. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN   0266-7452.