A new rail service will soon make it easier for visitors to access the Caminito de Rey, the gorgeside path that attracts hundreds of walkers to Malaga province every day.
Tests have been carried out over the past week, with empty trains travelling between the city and El Chorro-Caminito del Rey station for driver training. The trains look familiar to many as they are the same model as that used on the local Cercanías lines, the Civia. It is expected that the service will officially open in March.
The new train will make travel between Malaga city and this inland tourist destination much easier, opening up access to the Gaitanes gorge beauty spot where the popular Caminito del Rey footpath runs some 100 metres above the Guadalhorce river.
Despite the use of the same model of trains, this will not be an extension of the C2 Cercanías line to Álora, but rather a completely new service, midway between the mid-distance 'Media Distancia' and local 'Cercanías' rail services.
The new line is expected to attract a large proportion of the more than 300,000 visitors to the Caminito every year, more than half of whom are foreign tourists. The new route meets the demand for faster and more direct connections between the inland area of the province of Malaga and the city, an essential service for tourists who don't have access to a car during their stay and rely on public transport.
The representative of the national government in Malaga, Francisco Javier Salas, has been one of the main proponents of the project, stating, "The government has recognised the needs of the area, creating a solution that offers a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable alternative to travelling by car." A sum of ten million euros has been earmarked in the Ministry of Transport's budget for 2023 for the upkeep of the new service.
Service to Seville
Currently the only trains that stop at El Chorro station are those on the mid-distance service between Malaga and Seville. These run at a frequency of up to five trains in each direction every day, although the timetable is not very convenient for visitors to the Caminito.