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A local train on the existing line from Malaga to Fuengirola. SUR
Community, political and civic leaders call for more trains on the Costa del Sol
Transport

Community, political and civic leaders call for more trains on the Costa del Sol

All agree on how important extended rail services are and are willing politicians to cooperate and to work together to create them

A. M. Romero / P. Martínez/ C. Vallejo / M. Stuber

Malaga.

Friday, 26 April 2024, 14:01

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The voices are growing louder and each is saying the same thing. All elements of Costa del Sol society are increasingly coming together and urging radical improvements to Malaga province's train network to avoid a breakdown in public transport, which, they say, will hit the long-term development of the area.

Local business leaders, members of cultural and academic institutions, trade union bosses and heads of professional bodies, among others, have recently been telling SUR why it is so important to lobby central government to expand the train service beyond Fuengirola and do something about public transport the length of the Costa from Manilva to Nerja.

Long and middle distance line

ap46

a45

A7

Metro line and stations

A7

Málaga

Line 1

el palo

A357

Local Cercanías

line and stops

C2

Line 2

Estación

de Málaga–

María Zambrano

Main roads

Ma20

torremolinos

C1

AP7

arroyo de la miel

A7

benalmádena

Fuente: Adif y Renfe

fuengirola

E. HINOJOSA

Long and middle distance line

ap46

a45

A7

Metro line and stations

A7

Málaga

Line 1

el palo

A357

Local Cercanías

line and stations

C2

Line 2

Estación

de Málaga–

María Zambrano

Main roads

Ma20

torremolinos

C1

AP7

arroyo de la miel

A7

benalmádena

fuengirola

E. HINOJOSA

Fuente: Adif y Renfe

Long and middle distance line

ap46

a45

Metro line and stations

Local Cercanías line and stations

A7

Málaga

Main roads

A7

MA20

el palo

Line 1

Estación

de Málaga–

María Zambrano

A357

C2

Line 2

MA21

Ma20

torremolinos

C1

AP7

arroyo

de la miel

A7

benalmádena

fuengirola

E. HINOJOSA

Fuente: Adif y Renfe

a45

ap46

A7

Málaga

A7

MA20

Long and middle distance line

el palo

Line 1

Estación

de Málaga–

María Zambrano

Metro line and stations

A357

Local Cercanías line and stations

C2

Line 2

Main roads

MA21

Ma20

torremolinos

C1

AP7

arroyo

de la miel

A7

benalmádena

fuengirola

E. HINOJOSA

Fuente: Adif y Renfe

In a round of questions to gauge their opinion, SUR asked some 30 non-politicians representing different elements of civic life what the main things lacking were in the transport system in the province, which rail initiatives were priority and what the benefits would be for the people they represent of having more trains.

Among the leaders asked in the province, Javier González de Lara, head of the CEM Malaga business owners association, pointed out that the Malaga area has the most companies in Andalucía and more train lines would significantly improve the business environment.

José Luque, president of the Costa hoteliers association, stressed a double track railway was needed to Estepona at least and that improvements to the busy A-7 coastal road were urgent, with the unlikelihood of scrapping the tolls on the AP-7.

Marti Gómez, head of the Mijas traders association, called for more bus frequencies and longer timetables in his area as well as the coastal train.

As well as business leaders, Malaga University has shown its support along with Malaga province's influential associations of doctors and lawyers, among others, all agreeing how important extended rail services are and willing politicians to work together to build and create them.

Local politicians

The growing clamour from community representatives and local society at large for better transport, especially rail links, on the Costa del Sol is receiving cross party support from local politicians.

However there is still confrontation between parties on the left and right over who should be driving forwards what everyone has said clearly they want.

With central government responsible for railway infrastructure and controlled by the Socialist party, the conservative Partido Popular (PP) regional government has blamed Madrid for not prioritising Malaga province for infrastructure investment. The Junta de Andalucía's Patricia Navarro claimed this week that central government was "marginalising" Andalucía overall, and that of about 50 strategic rail plans for Spain only three were in the Andalucía region.

The president of Malaga provincial authority, Francisco Salado, also of the PP, urged politicians to start talking and make real moves. "We need to look for financing from Europe, from central and regional governments and the private sector... Let's stop talking through the media and Twitter. What the people want is for the national transport minister to speak to the regional minister or the prime minister to the regional president."

Central government's representative in Malaga, the PSOE's Javier Salas, while welcoming the opinion of civic leaders added that "it would have been more effective if it had come together in 2015 when a study for the coastal train was carried out. The PP put this a drawer for three years and it is now asking for what it did not do when it was in power nationally."

On the tensions between the two main political parties, the head of the left-wing Izquierda Unida party locally, Toni Morillas, explained what she felt should be done.

"We need to stop the confrontation over this plan and channel it towards greater cooperation - the different governments have to support sustainable, integrated public transport that is effective. The only train that isn't profitable is the one that goes to constant confrontation, exasperation, irresponsibility and lack of real commitment," Morillas said.

Local mayors

Local mayors along the Costa del Sol have also been having their say and coming out in support of more trains along the Costa. Mayor of Marbella Ángeles Muñoz said, "It is impossible to understand why Marbella is the only place in Spain with a population over 150,000 that doesn't have a rail connection."

"We are at the point of no return with the coastal train: we have to do it. It has gone beyond political debate"

Margarita del Cid

Mayor of Torremolinos

"Together... we will have more strength to demand what we want, which is fair and seeks more effective transport"

Ana Mula

Mayor of Fuengirola

"For the Costa this would be a leap forward in excellence, as the airport extension or high-speed train were in their day"

Ana Mata

Mayor of Mijas

"It is impossible to understand why Marbella is the only place in Spain with over 150,000 people that doesn't have a train"

Ángeles Muñoz

Mayor of Marbella

"The transport minister knows very well the Costa del Sol and its needs so this plan should be among government priorities"

José María García Urbano

Mayor of Estepona

"It is urgent... to build this infrastructure, so important for the economic and tourism development of the Costa from Nerja to Manilva"

José Alberto Armijo

Mayor of Nerja

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