A metro at Atarazanas station, during one of the tests. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ

Delay-stricken Metro will not be in operation in Malaga city centre before Christmas as tests continue

Safety tests are still ongoing and, once finished, there will be a delay of several weeks before the metro can start operations

IGNACIO LILLO

Despite the progress on the Malaga metro by technicians from Alstom and the construction companies Sando and Acciona to finish testing the signaling and railway safety systems, there is still no final date for the metro to reach the city centre.

Technical sources told this newspaper that metro operations will not take place before Christmas Eve.

A spokesperson for the regional government´s Ministry of Development said the "Alstom tests are in their final stretch, which will allow them to advance in the safety dossier that certifies these systems, and to be able to address the final commissioning phase with the concessionaire".

The regional ministry added that overnight tests are being carried out on both complete lines (lines 1 and 2 to Atarazanas), where no changes have been found to be necessary, while travel times, stopping points, etc. are being verified.

There are two reasons for the delays. The first is that Alstom has not yet completed the testing of the systems it has installed. Most of the tasks have already been approved, but there are still some that need to be fine-tuned.

The company still has two months, until the end of January 2023, to complete these tasks according to its contract. An extension of 67 days was recently granted for the contract for the installations and architecture of the stations between El Perchel and Atarazanas, being carried out by Sando and Acciona. This was initially due to expire on 23 November but will now remain in force until 30 January 2023. The aim of this measure is to make it coincide with the completion of the contract for the railway signaling and safety systems on this same section, which is being carried out by Alstom.

A second issue that will affect the start date of the metro is that the procedure establishes a series of procedures and operations to be carried out by Metro de Málaga, from the moment Alstom finishes its work until the metro can open its doors to the public at the Alameda (Atarazanas) and Avenida de Andalucía (Guadalmedina) stations. Sources indicate that these works have already begun.