The president of the railway infrastructure manager justifies the decision by the need to shorten the execution deadlines so as not to lose ‘Next Generation’ funds
The traffic cut on the Cercanías trains between Murcia and Águilas will start on October 1, a month and a half earlier than planned, since, according to the technical specifications, the closure was due to take place as of November 20. The cut will be carried out in two phases: the first will affect the route between Alcantarilla and Águilas; and the second, which will begin in February 2022, will extend the suspension of the service to Murcia. On the other hand, rail freight communication between Chinchilla de Montearagón and Murcia will be maintained throughout the execution of the works. This was announced this Monday, in Murcia, by the president of Adif High Speed, María Luisa Domínguez, at a press conference held at the headquarters of the Government Delegation, to report on the progress of the direct connection works between the Region of Murcia and Almería.
Domínguez justified the decision to opt for the interruption of rail traffic, discarding the previous planning, in the need to speed up the execution deadlines to take advantage of the funds that Europe dedicates to Spain for the recovery of the coronavirus health crisis, the funds’ Next Generation ‘. Aid that, he recalled, “requires the completion of the entire investment” in “very specific terms”, “contrary to what happens with the Feder funds”, which allow partial actions. “This has made us see that the successive cuts that had been planned were going to extend the deadlines. It is an opportunity that not only as Adif, but as a country, we cannot miss, “he said.
“Another of the great advantages that we see is that night work is reduced, which would be the protagonists in the urban sections that precisely have the closest homes,” said the president of Adif. In addition, he recalled that having the rail traffic cut off will allow the pedestrian crossings and for road traffic to move at zero level as the works progress. This eliminates the need to install walkways and guarantees permeability between one side of the work and the other.
To replace the train service, a bus transport plan has been designed that will have a “semi-direct” between Murcia and Lorca that will stop only in towns with high demand (Lorca Sutullena, Lorca-San Diego, Totana and Alhama), and which will mean increasing the duration of the trip by 20 minutes, which is currently one hour by train. There will also be another that will stop at all stops, whose travel time will increase by 40 minutes, according to Enrique Cortina, director of Renfe’s Business Area. In the case of the connection with Águilas, there will be a bus with Lorca to connect with these semi-direct routes.
The works will last about three years, as confirmed by Adif. Commissioning will take place in three phases. The first line to return to normal will be the one that joins El Carmen and Murcia Merchandise, later it will do so between Murcia and Lorca San Diego, and in third place, Lorca and Águilas.
In the cuts of the second phase, which begins in February, two long distance commercial services will be affected, as explained by the Renfe Business Director: the weekend between Madrid and Águilas on Fridays, which does the Reverse section Águilas-Madrid on Sundays, “and a daily train between Barcelona and Lorca”, which will also be supplied with buses that will make it possible to complete the part of the journey that the trains do not reach.