Long queues at Malaga's main railway station this afternoon. / ÑITO SALAS

Renfe suspends sale of high-speed train tickets for today between Malaga and Madrid due to major problem on line

It is an almost unprecedented decision in the 15-year history of the line and the track and infrastructure company Adif has opened an investigation into the cause of the incident which has caused long delays all day

IGNACIO LILLO MALAGA.

Today’s problem on the high-speed railway line (LAV) that connects Malaga with Madrid has been of such magnitude that it has forced train operator Renfe to make an almost unprecedented decision in the 15-year history of the track.

At around 5pm this Tuesday, 17 January, the sale of tickets for today's AVE trains was suspended, as the operator could not guarantee the time of arrival at the destination and, in some cases, the scheduled departure.

For the same reason, travellers who had booked tickets for today in advance have been offered the option of changing them to another day or cancelling them, free of charge. In the cases in which they have decided to travel, on a very important date for the Costa del Sol, as it is the beginning of the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid, Renfe has arranged some double-composition trains, in order to alleviate the delays that have accumulated throughout the day.

Currently part of the line is down to a single track, which has created a bottleneck that causes average delays of 25 minutes. During the morning, traffic in both directions was temporarily, due to the need to transfer passengers who were trapped in two trains after suffering a overhead power catenary breakdown. By 1pm, 16 trains between Madrid and Andalucía were affected: eight AVE services from Seville, five from Malaga and one from Granada; an Alvia service from Cadiz and another from Huelva.

Investigation

The railway infrastructure operator (Adif) has opened an investigation into the problems, but the strong gusts of wind in the areabeing cited as the most probable cause of the incident that caused the catenary between La Sagra and Mora to fail at 8.45 am.

The complete repair of damage will start after the end of railway circulation today, during the night maintenance period, when it will be necessary to replace up to two kilometres of catenaries broken by the problem with the pantograph of an Avant train that was heading to Puertollano.

Until then, during this afternoon and evening, circulation on the line will pass through the damaged section on a single track.