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Staffing problems behind Costa del Sol train cancellations

A crowded carriage on the Malaga-Fuengirola line this week.
A crowded carriage on the Malaga-Fuengirola line this week. / Celia Romero
  • A total of 38 trains didn’t run between last weekend and Wednesday, and a further 12 trains are due to be cancelled today, Friday

Passengers on the C-1 Cercanías train line between Fuengirola and Malaga found their plans disrupted on Tuesday morning when they learned that eight trains had been cancelled. Similar chaos reigned on Wednesday when the rail company Renfe reported 12 cancellations that afternoon.

The company maintained that the cancellation of some of the services was due to technical problems caused by staff adjustments. However this is not the first time this has happened recently and it nearly always affects rush-hour trains.

Passengers using the coastal service last Friday also experienced problems, with 18 trains, out of the daily total of 104 departures, cancelled.

Renfe explained that the cancellations could not be foreseen as they are not caused by one specific issue but by an accumulation of unexpected circumstances.

They admitted that the workforce was tight, with some staff already on holiday, and so any absence due to illness or other reasons can cause cancellations. “This situation would not occur if there were extra staff,” said sources on Tuesday.

A train on the C -1 line.

A train on the C -1 line. / Fernando González

Users have complained that the cancellations were not announced with enough time for passengers to plan alternative transport, which meant that people arrived late for work or later than planned at the airport.

While there were no disruptions to the service on Thursday, the company said that 12 trains would be cancelled today, Friday, and couldn’t say when the staffing problems would be solved.

María Castro, one of the passengers affected on Tuesday, said, “This happens every week; the Cercanías [service] is getting worse.”

The disruptions meant that the trains that did run were crowded as passengers hoping to catch the cancelled services had to wait for the next ones.

These are the trains that will be affected today, Friday:

Málaga (14.50) – Fuengirola (15.36)

Málaga (17.50) – Fuengirola (18.36)

Málaga (18.50) – Fuengirola (19.36)

Málaga (19.50) – Fuengirola (20.36)

Málaga (20.30) – Fuengirola (21.16)

Málaga (21.30) – Fuengirola (22.16)

Fuengirola (15.40) – Málaga (16.26)

Fuengirola (18.40) – Málaga (19.26)

Fuengirola (19.40) – Málaga (20.26)

Fuengirola (20.40) – Málaga (21.26)

Fuengirola (21.20) – Málaga (22.06)

Fuengirola (22.20) – Málaga (23.06)