Barely two weeks after the mention of the train line to Marbella in the state budget, the Platform for the Coastal Train has rejected the idea of extending the Cercanías line (which currently runs between Malaga and Fuengirola) to Marbella and Estepona.
The budget, which was announced earlier this month but which still needs MPs' approval, set aside six million euros for studies into the future project.
The Platform for the Coastal Train is made up of the Malaga Confederation of Businessowners, the hotel (Aehcos) and construction (ACP) associations and various professional bodies and has the political backing of the PSOE, Ciudadanos, IU and Podemos, as well as of the PP on a provincial level. They say that extending the existing line makes little sense as it doesn't provide a competitive alternative to private car or bus travel and instead propose a direct line which connects Malaga and its airport to Marbella in around an hour.
The platform has put forward two different proposals. The first is a 55-kilometre overground line running parallel to the toll motorway, with lines coming off to connect Marbella and San Pedro. They estimate that this would cost one billion euros to Marbella and 2.37 billion if extended to Estepona.
The second proposal runs closer to the coast and would run underneath the A-7 motorway (the old N-340) which would cost 3.85 billion (two billion just until Marbella). The pros and cons of both are currently being studied, with a decision likely to be reached by September.
The platform met on Monday in Torremolinos and spokesperson, Violeta Aragón said: “We are not going to get into technical or budgetary matters but we will demand that the train project is a competitive one in terms of the time it takes. This is a basic demand and that is why we are calling for a new and direct line.”
Aragón added that given it takes 45 minutes to get from Malaga to Fuengirola on the current line, “people coming to Marbella for business will not want to [get on a train that] stop[s] every five minutes and which takes an hour and half to get from Malaga Airport”.
Provincial vicepresident Margarita del Cid (PP) added: “Having a fast train at reasonable prices is a necessity for both tourism and the people's ability to get around.”