Saturday, September 28, 2013

The AVE from Granada to Alicante

A piece in Sunday's Ideal on the high-speed train route, known as the Mediterranean Corridor, which is pretty much stopped: 'Currently, the corridor progresses in four speedsBetween Cartagena and the French border a conventional gauge line exists and the Government is committed - and has already tendered sections - to implement the third rail that will allow the circulation by the same route of European gauge trains, enabling a greater alternatives in the Levante from 2016. Between Alicante and Murcia, the works of the AVE are going well. There is a commitment from Mariano Rajoy that the first high speed train will arrive at the terminal of Murcia train station in 2015.  
For the Murcia-Almeria section, things aren't so good. There are hardly any works currently underway. The sections which were being built have now been completed. And there are no new tenders laid down despite the fact that here in Almería there is no railway alternative - as there is in the rest of the Mediterranean corridor - and, therefore, this is the only section that stops trains from Algeciras reaching Barcelona along a coastal route. And finally, the Almeria-Granada section, whose feasibility study has been publicly shown, has yet to be approved and continues with studies on the environmental impact of the route, being the most delayed of all the sections there are in the corridor'.
The Almería to Murcia route, half built at least along the Almería to Vera section (picture), has stopped work entirely and the section won't receive more investment until 2020, by which time we shall all, no doubt, own personal flyers... The interest paid on this section, by the way, stands at four million euros per annum. Nothing better to spend our money on - like the abandoned Albox to Huércal Overa motorway or the equally dead double-lane Vera to Garrucha road, where work hasn't continued since 2008?
Lastly, a critical piece in the Spanish press notes that every time a passenger takes a ride on the AVE, he is subsidised by the tax-payers. Wouldn't Almería do better with an ordinary train service, that served the province, rather than an expensive and potentially underused bullet train?

Later: The national budget for 2014 supposes 100 million euros for the railways for the Murcia-Almería Mediterranean corridor, according to La Voz de Almería. The section will be finished, claims the paper quoting the Government, in 2018!. The PSOE are giving a date - las cosas como son - of 2025.

Later: An item in Ideal (16 October) says that the work on the Almería section of the AVE are currently at 60 million euros over budget... A mere bagatelle!

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