Stations and trains were crowded on the first day as curious locals took advantage of free travel. :: ÁLVARO CABRERA
“Is everything ready to go?”
“Everything is ready, President”.
“Thank you Juan. When you’re ready”.
With this brief conversation, held at 12.33pm on Wednesday, the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz, gave the order to launch Malaga’s new metro service.
This inaugural journey, on Line 2, covered the first stretch of the metro project to be started (in 2006) which runs from El Perchel - beside Malaga’s María Zambrano train station to the Palacio de Deportes.
The man responsible for receiving orders from Díaz was Juan Ocaña, the control centre co-ordinator. Once he had been given the go-ahead he contacted driver Verónica Ganado, the doors slid closed and Malaga’s very first metro train set off, to the applause of 400 invited guests who were standing on the platform at El Perchel.
Travelling on board were 40 workers from the train company, Metro Málaga, who were representing thousands of professionals who have participated in the design and construction of the tunnels, the stations and the platforms.
The opening of the metro is part of the challenge of modernising Malaga and of turning it from a big city to a great one. After ten years of planning and eight years of works, of hiring and training staff, tests and practice runs, Lines 1 and 2, which connect at El Perchel, are now up and running - in part. The metro does not yet go right into the city centre.
It is clear, at least, that there is both economic and political will to make Malaga’s metro reach the centre by 2017. It should also then be running north to the Hospital Civil. At the moment it is possible to connect with the train station, the university, the city athletics ground, the Carlos Haya and Clínico hospitals and the Barbarela medical centre, among other places.
The inauguration day began two hours before the initial metro journey set off from El Perchel.
From ten in the morning the hall of the Metro Málaga’s headquarters, situated near Los Asperones, on the city outskirts, was a heaving mass of officials, staff and members of the media.
The opening of the inauguration ceremony was hosted by two television presenters from Canal Sur in on a stage brightly decorated with the colours of the new metro service. Then they handed over the microphone to the president of Metro Málaga, Javier Pérez Fortea, whose words of welcome were followed by speeches from a number of notable interested parties, including the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, the Junta’s president Susana Díaz, and Ana Pastor, who is head of the Ministry of Works.
Once the speeches were over, all those present were conveyed to El Perchel to watch the first metro train set off on the beginning of what will be a long journey for Malaga city.